Vanua Levu Diving

Vanua Levu has an unhurried, uncrowded atmosphere on land and world-class coral reefs underwater; this perfect combination is the draw of scuba diving in Vanua Levu. The island’s slow pace of life is perfect for enjoying its lush rainforest, hot springs, flower gardens, waterfalls and, of course, its dazzling marine life.

Diving in Vanua Levu

It’s easy to see why Fiji is known as the soft coral capital of the world when diving in Vanua Levu. The surrounding waters provide perfect conditions for the lush growth of colorful soft corals, which need strong currents and nutrient-rich water to thrive. The effect is a rainbow of flower corals, tree corals, leathery corals, sea fans and sea whips in kaleidoscopic shades of red, pink, brown, white, orange and purple.

The reef topography decorated by this colorful carpet is known to offer fun swim-throughs, caverns and caves which are great spots to search for cryptic critters like nudibranchs and shrimp. Vanua Levu dive sites may also feature walls, bommies, sloping reefs and pinnacles. Some of the best Vanua Levu dives are drifts, during which the current entices the soft corals to balloon into full glory, but there are plenty of sheltered sites as well. Dive courses from beginner to divemaster are available.

Some highlights of Vanua Levu megafauna include schooling hammerhead sharks, manta rays, turtles, dolphins, whales, grey reef sharks, whitetip reef sharks, leopard sharks, schools of barracuda, Napoleon wrasse and plenty of medium-sized reef fish. Vanua Levu macro-critters include plenty of nudibranchs, other gastropods and crustaceans.

Vanua Levu diving is best enjoyed at dedicated dive resorts. Liveaboards in Vanua Levu only visit the Namena Marine Reserve, which dive centers and resorts can reach on a daytrip.

Best places to dive

In the Koro Sea, off the southern coast of Vanua Levu, lies the beloved Namena Marine Reserve. It has been protected for a few decades and offers some of Vanua Levu’s top-tier diving. Namena’s pinnacles and walls are washed by currents which attract hammerhead sharks, turtles, Napoleon wrasse and grey reef sharks.

Along Vanua Levu’s southern shore lie many impressive dive sites, all easily accessible from Savusavu town and nearby dive resorts. Some highlights include a resident school of hammerheads, exciting swim-throughs and healthy hard and soft corals.

Southeast of Vanua Levu is Fiji’s third-largest island, Taveuni, and between them lies a narrow channel called the Somosomo Strait. Every day, the tide pushes huge volumes of seawater through the strait, nourishing endless gardens of soft coral. Iconic dive sites like Rainbow Reef and the Great White Wall offer classic Fijian scenes of swaying soft corals, decorated by schools of shimmering anthias and patrolled by reef sharks.

North of Vanua Levu stretches the 200 kilometer-long Great Sea Reef, the third-largest barrier reef in the world. This remote reef is still being discovered and is only dived from one innovative, eco-friendly resort which is truly off the beaten path. For divers who want to be alone in the water with corals, mantas, turtles, dolphins, bumphead parrotfish and plenty of other reef life, the Great Sea Reef may be a good option.