VILLAGE, COASTAL WALK AND WAINIBAU WATERFALLS
A wonderfully scenic and cultural experience.
You will need a total of about 5-6 hours to
complete the whole trip including driving time.
First the magnificent 45-minute drive to Lavena
village. There you pay the village a $5 per
person fee. From the village it is a leisurely
walk along the beach to the river. There is a path
along the river you follow for a short while longer.
At the end of the path, leave your clothes and
swim up stream a few hundred feet.
The water is usually shallow and
you could even wade up river most of the way.
river makes a sharp bend and lo and behold,
you are now in a spectacular box canyon where
two marvelous waterfalls provide the water.
Enjoy your swim and shower under the falls.
Either on your way to the river or en route
back to the river, you should explore the superb
tide pools far out on the beach. Best at low
tide. Bring a lunch and your swimsuits.
Good sandals [with heel straps] or simple reef-walking
shoes are adequate. Flip-flops are not adequate.
Like all Fiji rivers, the water is considered
pure to drink. A good way to do this excursion
is to depart at 8AM via taxi and return via
the afternoon 2PM bus back home. The walk takes
about 1˝ hours each way with
an hour for lunch and a swim at the falls.
Bouma Falls is one of the most beautiful spots
on Taveuni. Located in Tavaro National Park,
it is a perfect half or full day trip. It takes
about 30 minutes for the drive [north]. The
taxi will take you to a point just past the
village of Bouma from which the Falls are about
a ten-minute walk from the main road. Recently
Bouma has gone through a transformation. The
area around the first waterfall has been "landscaped"
and additional picnic tables, benches, and a
changing room has been incorporated. The waterfall
is approximately 80 feet in height and falls
into a pool where one can go swimming and dive
off the rocks. There is a small "beach" area
for picnicking and relaxing. Also, a wonderful
trail has been built up to a second and third
waterfall which is a very worthwhile trip for
the bit more energetic.
WARRIOR BURIAL CAVE: A lava tube cave
which runs from about 1200 feet down to the
ocean was used by ancient Fijians as a secret
burial ground for warriors. It was believed
that, upon death, Taveuni's greatest warriors
were buried in the cave in order to keep their
death a secret from enemies. Most of the large
bones were removed when the cave was 'discovered'
in the 1950's. Guides will proudly show you
the biers where their ancestors were laid to
rest. The cave is dark and usually a bit muddy.
Shoes are recommended. The entire trip, which
includes a look at Soqulu Plantation, takes
about 3 hours. Bring a flashlight.
VIDAWA FOREST EXCURSION: An adventurous
and bit more strenuous hike into Bouma National
Heritage Park. 3-4 hours of wilderness walking
through pristine protected rainforest, including
the historic fortified site of Navuga Village.
The coastal views are magnificent and the bird
life abundant. The trip is fully escorted with
local Fijian guides who will tell you much about
the traditional uses of the forest, the flora
and the fauna. Lunch is prepared and served
enroute by native villagers. Trip ends with
a swim at Bouma Waterfall where locals provide
afternoon tea. Suitable for active people who
don't mind getting a little muddy. Good sandals
with heel straps, reef walkers or tennis shoes
are fine. Can be slippery after a rain. Trips
limited to 8 persons. Minimum age of 12 years.
Trip runs once or twice
BIRD WATCHING AT DES VOEUX PEAK: It has
been claimed that the island of Taveuni is host
to nearly all the birds to be found in Fiji.
In particular, Des Voeux Peak at dawn is the
place to be if you are a keen bird watcher.
Professor Allen Keast and Mr. David Bishop,
both respected in the field of bird watching,
describe the experience here as one of their
most memorable. In particular, you may catch
sight of the Orange Breasted Dove and the Silktail,
to be found nowhere else in the world. Keep
your eyes open and binoculars poised! The entire
trip takes about 4 to 5 hours and can be a bit
BIRD WATCHING AT QELENI: Another excellent
site is the hills above Qeleni Village at the
northern end of the island. It takes about 20
minutes to drive to Qeleni and then along a
three-mile road up a mountainside. Here birds
are quite easy to spot and a good time is Aug.-Sept
- when the birds are actually nesting. Parrots,
Orange Breasted Doves, Silktail and Ferntails
inhabit this area. You will descend by walking.
Bird viewing is best VERY
early in the morning as daybreak begins. You
should leave the house about 5AM.
LAKE TAGIMAUCIA: Perhaps the most famous
geographical landmark on the island is Lake
Tagimaucia which is located in an old crater
2500 feet high in the mountains. The lake is
filled with floating masses of vegetation. It
is also home to Fiji's most famous and beautiful
flower, the "tagimaucia", which produces red
blooms with white centers. Contrary to popular
belief, which suggests that the tagimaucia flower
grows nowhere else but on the shores of the
lake, the epiphytic plant does flourish elsewhere.
Still, any attempt to transplant the flower
at a lower altitude has failed. The flower usually
blooms from the end of September to end of December.
The lake is located just below Des Voeux Peak
which is the second highest of Taveuni at 3600
feet, with Uluigalau being 3750 high. These
are among the highest mountains in Fiji. The
hike to the lake is a bit difficult. The track
is often muddy and therefore slippery. The round-trip
trek takes about 8 hours, which includes rest
stops and time for a picnic lunch. The track
starts at Nagara. It is also possible to take
a four-wheel drive vehicle [weather and road
conditions permitting], which takes a slightly
different route and arrives at a point from
which you look down on the lake [but can't actually
get to the lake]. Driving takes about one hour
NASELESELE and QELENI VILLAGES: Neselesele
is about a 20-minute walk down the road from
the house. A taxi is needed to get to Qeleni,
which is certainly our favorite local village
to visit. You can visit these villages anytime,
especially if you have a bag of pounded grog
(kava) with you Ladies should wear a skirt covering
to the knee or a sulu. Men can wear long shorts.
No hats, please! Upon arriving, you need to
contact one of the villagers to request a meeting
with one of the chiefs for permission. Request
a tour of the village and don't hesitate to
It is indeed a treat to visit one of
Fiji's most traditional and most spectacularly
situated villages is located on the island
of Qamea, just a few miles off the coast of
Taveuni. Their Sunday morning church service
is a beautifully memorable experience. You
will need a boat to get there.
VUNA VILLAGE, BLOW HOLE AND NAVAKAWAU (END
OF THE ROAD): At the southern end of the
island is located the village of Vuna, which
played an important role in the settlement
of the first Europeans on Taveuni. The original
plantations and homes of these white people
were within the jurisdiction of Vuna and thus
the land was either purchased or bartered
from the Tui Vuna (the chief of that area).
Some of this land is still owned by the descendants
of the original settlers. Beyond Vuna is a
village (Navakawau) which has the distinction
of literally being at the "end of the road"
- this is where the road ends at the southern
end of the island. It is a beautiful drive
along rugged coastline down to Navakawau.
One of the highlights is the "Blow Hole" which
is quite impressive to see and makes for wonderful
photos. There are several spots along the
way where you can stop for a picnic lunch
- sandy beaches and secluded lagoons. The
entire trip takes a minimum of four hours.
WAIRIKI MISSION: About a 30-minute
drive (which crosses the International Dateline)
takes you to the lovely old Catholic mission
at Wairiki. The drive crosses the official
dateline marker. Be certain to stop and take
a picture. The mission sits on the hill and
overlooks the site where Taveuni warriors
turned back thousands of Tongans in a battle,
which was fought in canoes just off the beach.
This battle was of historical significance
in the history of Fiji, in that Tonga had
gained control of all of the rest of Fiji
through a series of battles. The Taveuni warriors
saved Fiji from the Tongans. The warriors
then celebrated by cooking the Tongans in
a lovo and eating them with breadfruit! The
French Missionary priest who advised the Taveuni
warriors on fighting strategy was "rewarded"
when the grateful people of Taveuni built
the large mission. Guests are welcome to attend
Mass on Sunday mornings at 7:00 or 9:00 A.M.
The singing is absolutely wonderful. Please
remove your shoes before entering. Money is
scarce on Taveuni, so you are encouraged to
contribute to the offering. The school's rugby
practice begins around 4:30 P.M. Mon.-Fri.
Ask the children to show you their dormitory
living quarters, and their outdoor cooking
facilities catering to over 250 children.
Saturdays the children often gather at Big
Cimba Cimba waterfall and swimming hole, just
a minute walk from the mission. The children
will also show you the path for a beautiful
walk through Tavuke village. Sunday morning
mass here should not be missed. When you hear
the Fijian voices, you will see why. Since
the service is in Fijian, do not think of
this as religion but more like a concert.
A very special event. Stop at the dateline
WAITAVALA WATERSLIDE: About a 20-minute
taxi ride south from the house, or you can
go by bus. This natural waterslide is a picturesque
spot - secluded, verdant and fun to explore.
The waterslide is a little tricky but worth
the ride. Wear some old shorts. Maybe stop
at the Cannibal Café for lunch. Trip is easily
combined with a tour to Wairiki Mission (above).
BUS TOUR: Get on our local bus and see the
island for a real Fijian 'slice of life'.
IT IS ALWAYS PROPER TO FIRST ASK ONE OF THE
VILLAGE CHIEFS PERMISSION TO TOUR HIS VILLAGE.
HE WILL NORMALLY THEN REQUEST ONE OF THE VILLAGE
MEMBERS TO ESCORT YOU AROUND THE VILLAGE AND
EXPLAIN THINGS TO YOU. PLEASE REMEMBER THE
DRESS CODE WHEN PARTAKING IN VILLAGE ACTIVITIES.
PLEASE NO HATS NOR SUNGLASSES SHOULD BE WORN
IN VILLAGES. WOMEN MUST BE COVERED TO THE
KNEE AND NO BARE SHOULDERS IN THE VILLAGE.
WHILE VISITING A VILLAGE NEVER POINT AT ANOTHER
PERSON AND NEVER TOUCH THEM ON THE HEAD. CAMERAS
ARE MOST WELCOME AS FIJIANS FEEL IT AN HONOR
TO HAVE THEIR PICTURES TAKEN. MAYBE BRING
SOME HARD CANDIES FOR THE CHILDREN AND ABOUT
ONE-KILO OF YAQONA AS A GIFT TO THE CHIEF.
IF VISITING QELENI OR VATUSOGOSOGO IT WOULD
BE A NICE GESTURE TO CONTRIBUTE ABOUT $5 PERSON
TO THEIR SCHOOL OR CHURCH FUND.