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Introduction

Rotuma is an island in Fiji. Although it lies approximately 465 kilometres to the north of the Fiji Islands, its culture is much more in common with Polynesian Tonga and Samoa than Melanesian Fiji. It is a volcanic island of approximately 43 km², with a few, much smaller, surrounding islands. The island has been politically part of Fiji since 1881. Because of their Polynesian appearance and distinctive language, Rotumans now constitute a recognizable minority group within Fiji. Rotuma’s population is 2,000 but twice as many Rotumans now live abroad (on the other islands of Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Europe) than live on the island, especially young people.

In 1985, over 85% of Rotumans voted against allowing organized tourism on their island, so to this day, although it is easy to visit, there are very few travellers on the island. Most travellers have either been invited or are expatriate Rotumans revisiting home. Visitors have to arrange accommodation with families.

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Geography

These volcanic islands are located 646 kilometres (Suva to Ahau) north of Fiji. Rotuma Island itself is 13 kilometres long and 4 kilometres wide, with a land area of approximately 47 square kilometres, making it the 12th largest island of Fiji. The island is bisected into a larger eastern part, and a western peninsula, by a low narrow isthmus only 230 metres wide, the location of Motusa village (Itu'ti'u district). North of the isthmus is Maka Bay, and in the south Hapmafau Bay. There are a large population of coral reefs in these bays, through which there are boat passages.

Rotuma is a shield volcano made of alkali-olivine basalt and hawaiite, with many small cones, and reaches 256 metres above sea level at Mount Suelhof near the center of the island. Satarua Peak, 166 metres high, lies near the eastern end of the island. While very secluded from much of Fiji proper, the large reef and untouched beaches are renowned as some of the most beautiful in all of Fiji.

There are some islands located at a distance between 50 metres and 2 kilometres from the main island, but still within the fringing reef. Additionally, there is a separate chain of islands between 3 kilometres and 6 kilometres northwest and west of the westernmost point of Rotuma Island.

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Sights and Activities

On Sisilo hill lies around 20 stone tombs at an archaeological site called the Graveyard of Kings.

Hiking in Rotuma is excellent due to the presence of spectacular views from Solroroa Bluff and Mt. Suelhof, the highest peak on the island. Between Losa beach and Solroroa Bluff is the 25-meter deep volcanic vent of Manfiri.

Rotuma has some of the most enchanting beaches in Fiji. The best are Oinafa, Losa and Vai’oa, west of Solroroa Bluff. Other popular beaches and picnic areas on the main island are Joro, Lulu, and 'Ana-te-Fapufa ('Fapufa cave'). The islets of 'Agaha, around 1.2 kilometres off the southeast coast, and Solkope, only around 75 meters offshore, are also ideal picnic spots. There are also fine surfing areas around the island and pristine snorkelling.

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Events and Festivals

  • Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna Day is celebrated every year on the last Monday of May. It commemorates Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna, a hero in the First World War, who was honored with France’s highest military award. He is considered the father of modern Fiji.
  • Christmas in the tropics is an experience in itself. Visit one of the Christmas Eve carol services to enjoy some fine Fijian singing.
  • Honoring the Founder of Modern Fiji Festival - The last Monday in May is a commemoration to the Father of Modern Fiji, Ratu Sir Lala Sakuna. The festivities last for an entire week, with many different towns and cities celebrating in their own way. The event concludes with a presidential speech relating to Fijian unity, and the statue of Ratu Sir Lala Sakuna is polished by locals.
  • Diwali Festival - Due to Fiji’s large Indian population, the Diwali Festival is one of the main events held on the islands. Celebrated in the month of October, Diwali (which is also known as the Festival of Lights) is characterized by fantastic light shows, traditional firecracker displays, and plenty of night-time fun. It isn’t just the Indian population that gets into the swing of things, as all cultures love any excuse to party.

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Weather

Rotuma 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 the 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, the islands get a lot of rain and many places get up to 3,000 mm or more a year!

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Getting There

Fiji Airways (Pacific Sun) is Fiji majority owned and flies to Rotuma from Nadi. Flights can be cancelled when the grass airstrip at Rotuma is waterlogged. There is a monthly cargo ship from Suva but it does not follow a fixed schedule. It takes up to 100 passengers.

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Getting Around

There is a sandy coastal road. Villages are spread out along this road. The island also has walking tracks in the interior.

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Eat

Meals are provided by the families with whom you stay. The basic diet is taro, reef fish, and tinned meat.

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Drink

There are some small local shops but these can run out of supplies. Consider taking some of your favourite drink with you.

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Sleep

  • Rotuma Homestay. The easiest way to stay on Rotuma is to organise a homestay. If you’re lucky enough to be invited to the island, discuss with your Rotuman contact what the best way is to repay the family during your stay. You can also contact the Fiji Visitor Bureau in either Nadi or Suva to get the contact details for the Rotuman Island Council, which is the group you should contact if you want to visit. You can also simply ask the visitor’s bureau for their advice. Another option would be to post a message on the Rotumans' Facebook group or at their forums. These online forums are used by Rotuman expatriates and a user of the forum may have a family member or friend who is willing to offer a homestay.

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Rotuma Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Rotuma

This is version 2. Last edited at 10:17 on Aug 30, 18 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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