The hot and dusty market centre of LABASA on Vanua Levu’s north coast is Fiji’s largest town outside of Viti Levu but receives virtually no tourists. The administrative centre of Vanua Levu, it has a purposeful bustle during the day, but by sundown, with the departure of the last local bus, the streets become deserted. On the outskirts is the town’s lifeline, the Labasa Sugar Mill, which perpetually hisses, creaks and bellows out smoke during the sugar-crushing season between May and December. Labasa’s surrounding hilly countryside is the main attraction for visitors and exploring this area by open-sided bus offers great mountain vistas. Also nearby are two resorts with diving access to the fabulous, uncharted Great Sea Reef.

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