An intriguing way to visit the islands of the Lau Group is to travel around the region by cargo boat. The round-trip journey from Suva on all routes takes between six and seven days, offering a wonderful opportunity to mingle with the locals and to get a feel for the vastness of the region. Although there is no fixed schedule, there’s usually at least one departure a week to the islands from Suva, with each boat visiting between three and eight islands before heading back to the capital. Three to six hours are spent at each port, giving you enough time to disembark and have a quick look around. It may be tempting to linger on an island a little longer but bear in mind it may be several weeks before the next boat turns up.
Conditions on board are basic. A few boats have cabins, each with five bunk beds, but these are often stuffy, stink of diesel fumes and come crammed with luggage. Instead you’ll probably be sleeping under the stars on the open deck. It’s wise to take at least a pillow for resting your head on and preferably a mat to spread out on. Note that meals provided on board are basic and it’s worth bringing plenty of drinks and snacks. Toilet paper is another necessity – and be prepared for the sometimes vile conditions of a cargo boat bathroom.