Levuka on Ovalau Island, was the first capital of Fiji from 1874 until 1883, before it was moved to Suva. Levuka has been designated an historic town and is short-listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, considering its importance in the 19th Century as the first permanent settlement of Europeans in the South Pacific.
The town is located on Ovalau Island, a lush tropical volcanic island of about 100 square kilometers surrounded by large coral reefs. Levuka is the administrative centre of the Lomaiviti Group of Islands which inclue Moturiki, Makogai, Koro, Wakaya, Batiki, Nairai, Gau and Ovalau. The islands are the peaks of deep-sea volcanoes that became extinct millions of years ago.
Levuka and Ovalau are off the main tourist track and offer a chance to experience the "real" Fiji, a trip into the past, "the way Fiji used to be".
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Levuka enjoys a mild tropical climate with year-round temperatures around 25 °C with a generally high humidity. Average highs range from around 26 °C in July and August to around 30 °C from Decembert to April. Lows are between 20 °C and 23 °C. May to October is Fiji's dry season, also known as the "Fiji Winter". The weather is slightly cooler and less rainfall and humidity make it a good time of the year to visit. From December to April, Fiji gets a lot of rain and many places get up to 3,000 mm or more a year!
On the Suva-Natovi-Buresala-Levuka route, Patterson Brothers Shipping operates a daily service ($24 one way), which again includes first a bus ride (1.5 hours) from Suva to Natovi Landing, the a ferry to Buresala Landing (1 hour) and a bus to Levuka (1 hour). Buses depart Suva at 2:00pm and Labasa at 5:00am.
Levuka is small enough to walk around, but you can rent mountain bikes if you want to go a little further away.
Internet cafes are available in cities and towns and popular tourist areas and more and more places have (free) wifi nowadays. Sometimes you need to pay a fee or usage is for a limited amount of time or customers only.
See also International Telephone Calls
The international phone code for Fiji is 679. Emergency numbers include 917 for the police and 911 for ambulance and fire department.
You will find payphones in all post office branches as well as in the booths situated on streets throughout the country. They only accept Fiji Telecom phone cards which can be purchased in post offices and many shops and come in denominations up to F$50. A digital display will tell you how much money you have left on your card at all times. You can also use a TeleCard which is a pre-paid calling card that can be used from any telephone in Fiji, not just pay phones.
Calling is done by calling the card's issue center, entering the code (found on the card) and entering the destination number. To call outside Fiji, dial 05 first, then the country code and phone number. Foreign calls start at about F$0.50 a minute, but are usually around F$1 or more for European destinations for example.
Avoid high roamaing charges with your phone and turn your data services for outside your home country off at all times. Instead buy a local SIM card (you have to have an unlocked phone of course). There are a few mobile phone companies operating on the island (Vodafone, Digicel). A sim-card is inexpensive, but you need to register your sim to keep it active and to get access to data. Buying a sim-card gives access to cheap data-packages for easy internet access using your phone as a hot-spot.
Post Fiji offers services in the country and to other countries. It's fairly reliable, not expensive, but it can take a while for letters or postcards to arrive at your destination. All major towns have post offices which are operated by Fiji Post. There is also a branch at Nadj International Airport. Connections are pretty quick, particularly with North America, but if you use surface mail, your letter could take over two months to reach its destination. Post offices are open between 8.00and 4.00pm from Monday to Friday. For sending packages overseas, you might better use international courier companies like DHL, TNT, UPS or FedEx, as they offer fast, competitively priced and reliable services.
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