VANUA BALAVU, LAU ISLANDS
East of Vanua Levu and Viti Levu, Vanua Balavu, the third largest of the Lau Islands, is part of Fiji’s Eastern Division. The island is protected by a barrier reef of some 130 kilometres in length. The enclosed lagoon area promises excellent snorkelling while the reef keeps larger ships at bay.
Vanua Balavu has a special geological set-up: it has a volcanic part in the south and uplifted coral in the north, even hot springs and limestone caves exist. 17 villages with a total of roughly 1200 inhabitants are found along the shore of the island. Lomaloma is the island’s main village with schools, a post office, police station and a small hospital.
As the Lau Group was once under Tongan rule, with the Tongan chief Ma’afu residing in the village of Lomaloma, folkloric presentations feature Fijian and Tongan music and dance and have formed a special union. There still are some 400 Tongans living in the village of Sawana, the southern part of Lomaloma.