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Oceania > Melanesia > Fiji > Rotuma

Rotuma

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NASA photo of Rotuma

Rotuma is an island in Fiji. Although it lies approximately 465 km 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.

Get in[edit]

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.

Get around[edit]

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

See[edit]

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

Do[edit]

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 kilometers 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.

Eat[edit]

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

Drink[edit]

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

Sleep[edit]

  • 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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