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July 28th 2008
Published: August 3rd 2008
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July has been a busy month! As soon as I got back from Nauru, I met up with some friends visiting from Australia.

First stop was Natadola Beach for the day. According to the sign on the Queens Rd, its the 7th most beautiful beach in the world. Stocked up with roti parcels and a pineapple, we had a great day just lying by the beach, swimming in the blue water and catching up on all our gossip.

The next day we headed to Nananu-i-ra - an island just off the coast of Viti Levu near Rakiraki. The landscape from Nadi to Rakiraki is so different to that around Suva. The land is a lot drier, there are more sugarcane fields and the mountains seem to rise up from nowhere.

We spent the next few days in a beach cabin and made good use of the hammocks, kayaks and ate just a bit too much pizza.

It was then back to Suva and a few days at work before my friends & I headed off again to Ovalau - an island to the east of Viti Levu. A bus from Suva, followed by a ferry, followed by another bus saw us arrive in Levuka (the old capital of Fiji) 5 hours later. Dinner that night was at the Whale's Tale Restaurant - a great restaurant all the geography field trippers will remember from our field trip over 8 years ago.

The next day we went on a tour to Lovoni, a village in the middle of Ovalau, with Epi - a local villager who has been running this tour for over 14 years. Epi took us on a walk around the village and pointed out all the medicinal uses for the various plants including leaves for swollen ankles as well as treatments for mossie bites, asthma and stomach upsets. We had a quick swim in a waterhole before walking back through the village to Epi's house for lunch. All my favourites were there again including dalo leaves cooked in coconut milk and a new one of dalo leaves formed into balls and deep fried - they looked a lot like falafel and tasted great. After lunch, we all sat around the verandah and Epi told us the story of Fiji, how the village of Lovoni was settled and why the Lovoni warriors were undefeated in all of Fiji (they never lost a battle and were only captured after being tricked into attending a peace and reconciliation feast).

The following day, after a walk around Levuka and a quick walk up the Mission Hill Steps (all 199 of them), we caught the boat to Caqalai for 2 days of relaxing by the beach and some snorkelling before heading back to Suva.

Additional photos below
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Looking back to Viti Levu.
A church in LevukaA church in Levuka
A church in Levuka

The top of the church is also used as a navigational marker.
Deed of Cession Site, LevukaDeed of Cession Site, Levuka
Deed of Cession Site, Levuka

In 1874, Fiji was proclaimed a British colony. Levuka was the original capital before it was moved to Suva in 1882.

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