ISLANDS OF FIJI
Located in the South Pacific, Fiji is an archipelago of 333 tropical islands. It’s famous for its luxurious resorts, its pristine white sand, palm fringed beaches, its coral reefs and its crystal clear ocean waters. It’s also an incredible outdoor adventure and culinary destination. It’s widely celebrated for its culture and happy, welcoming people.
With over 300 islands, it’s almost impossible to explore the archipelago in its entirety. From rugged volcanic peaks to spectacular coral reefs, dense rainforest and enchanging waterfalls, each island has something unique to offer.
Below are some of our favourite islands.
This is Fiji’s third largest island and has much to explore. Regarded as one of the most pristine and beautiful of the Fijian islands, it is also known as the Garden Island. It features a vast and diverse ecology and is covered in lush virgin rainforest, volcanic peaks, waterfalls, secluded coves, hidden lagoons, magnificent beaches and an abundance of plants and wildlife, much of which is extremely rare and endemic to the island, such as the spectacular Tagimoucia flower. It’s an eco-tourists dream destination and the perfect place to go if you want to be immersed in nature.
Bouma National Heritage Park makes up about 80% of Taveuni’s land and with it’s waterfalls, rivers and canyons, and peaks offers travelers countless outdoor activities, from swimming, climbing, and hiking in awe-inspiring surroundings. It is home to over 100 species of birds, including Kula Lorikeets, Silktails and Orange Doves. It also encompases and extensive marine park at Waitabu, in the Somosomo Strait, which is world-renowned for its dive sites, such as Rainbow Reef, Eel Reef and the Great White Wall. It offers close-up encounters with over 1500 species of fish and a colorful coral reef. Diving and snorkeling are two of the most popular activities around the island, for amateurs and professionals alike.
The island is also home to 87% of the country’s population.
Things to do
Lavena Coastal Walk
this beautiful walk offers insight into all that Taveuni has to offer. It starts on a secluded stretch of white sand beach, offers breathtaking jungle views, visits a local Naba village, a crosses an unusual black-sand volcanic beach, traverses the Wainisairi River via suspension bridge, and ends at Fiji’s most magnificent waterfall – Wainibau falls. Bring your swim suit as you’ll need to swim to reach the main waterfall pool. The walk takes about 4-5 hours and the best way to experience the walk is to hire a local guide.
Tavoro falls, also as the Bouma falls, is the most prominent attraction on the island. The falls are actually a series of three waterfalls within Bouma National Heritage Park. They can be accessed on a 3 hour roundtrip hike. The first falls is easily accessed, while the 2nd and 3rd are a little more challenging. Hikers are rewarded with magnificent views of Taveuni and out across the archipelago from the various look-out points along the way. Each of these falls also offers a wonderfully cool natural pool, perfect for cooling off after a long hike.
The Somosomo Strait, known as the “soft coral capital of the world”, is a channel of water stretching between Taveuni and Vanua Levu, and is one of the best known dive locations in Fiji. In this extremely rich marine eco-system, you’ll discover a wonderful array of sea creatures darting between the magnificent fuchsia and vibrant orange corals that bloom in the fast-flowing currents. The strait is also home to some highly unusual formations such as Rainbow Reef and the Great White Wall – an enormous rock formation named after the delicate almost luminescent soft white corals that cover it. It is an absolute haven for diving aficionados.
However, it’s not considered a good place for amateur divers or snorkelers as the currents are very strong.
For those who are less adventurous or less experienced, Taveuni Island offers great snorkeling right off its beaches. One of the best snorkeling spots on Taveuni Island is at the spectacular Waitabu Marine Park.
These blowholes line Taveuni’s southern tip and are the result of water from the Vuna Reef crashing onto the island’s jagged coastline and rushing into small crevices in the shore’s volcanic rocks. These shallow pits intermittently spurt water, sometimes up to a height of 150 feet. When the wind gusts, it sweeps the spouting water into a misty white veil.
International Date Line
The International Date Line slices straight through Teveuni near the town of Waivevo. Here you can literally enjoy hopping from one day to the next. A big, dissected, wooden map of the island, marks the spot. Taveuni sits at a longitude of 180 degrees, meaning that west side of the island theoretically exists in one day whilst the east exists in the next.
Whether your 10 or 40, the waterslide is a lot of fun. It is situated in a beautiful secluded spot about a 20 minute walk from Waiyevo. Slide down this natural slipper rock and land (perhaps a little bruised) in a refreshing pool at the bottom. The best way to learn is to watch how the local children do it. Ease your way down on your bottom to start off with, and if you start to feel a little more confident you can attempt to get up on your feet.
Cannibal Cave Tour
Fiji has some wonderful cave systems, and while some are known as the best secret swimming spots in Fiji and others are known for darker reasons, this one is known for cannibalism - the island of Taveuni was home to Fiji’s last cannibal tribe (cannibalism ended in 1867, so don’t worry).
As a place of great geological, biological, and cultural significance, the stunning Lake Tagimaucia has long been one of Taveuni’s most popular tourist attractions. Located in the mountains above Somosomo, Tagimaucia sits in a volcanic crater and is the only place in the world where the beautiful epiphytic flower from which the lake takes its name is found. Legend has it that the Tagimaucia flower was formed by the tears of a princess, who was forbidden to marry the boy she loved.
Des Voeux Peak
Des Voeux peak, the 2nd highest peak on the island (at around 3600 feet) offers the best views of Taveuni. It’s a steep climb, but the hike through the tropical rainforest gives you a chance to see some of Fiji’s wonderful indigenous fauna and the views from the mountain’s summit are absolutely breathtaking. On a clear day, it’s possible to see neighboring Vanua Levu, and even the hazy peaks of the Lau Islands - Fiji’s remote eastern islets.
The small islet of Qamea lies just off the coast of Taveuni and is well worth the short detour. The island has several wide bays with gorgeous white sand, palm-fringed beaches, backed by green, jungle clad peaks. Each year, between November and December, the island experiences the natural phenomenon of lairo, when thousands of red land crabs migrate to the sea to mate.
The Mamanucas have long been considered the most beautiful of the Fijian islands and Monuriki is their crowning jewel. This raw and uninhabitated island boasts impressive volcanic peaks, clad in lush tropical rainforest, which descend down craggy rock faces onto beautiful beaches, surrounded by colorful reefs. Before setting foot on this spectacular island or anchoring off its astoundingly white sandy beaches you are required to visit the village of Yanuya and present your sevusevu to the traditional landowners. If approved (and you may not be), you will be briefed on the island’s biosecurity and its importance.
The tiny, often overlooked island of Caqalai is Fiji’s hidden treasure. This 14 acre coral islet is surrounded by palm fringed, white sandy beaches. At low tide you can wander out on the tidal flats and explore the sand banks, small lagoons left by the receding tide. Snorkel right off the beach, beach comb, go fishing, or enjoy a game of volley ball against the locals. There are a few rustic bures that can accommodate the adventurous traveler.
For beach lovers, Nacula can’t be beat. Nacula is home to Long Beach, arguably the most beautiful beach in Fiji and possibly the world. This crescent-shaped stretch of pristine white sand holds the serene, turquoise-blue ocean in its arch. Besides being picture perfect, is also boasts some of the best snorkeling and swimming in Fiji.
Behind the beaches, Nacula interior is blanketed with rugged volcanic hills and soft peaks, laced with well-trodden paths leading to villages and small coves. Follow a trail inland through mangroves from the resorts on the southern point to those at Long Beach. Keep an eye out for mudskippers living in the tidal streams among the mangroves; despite their primordial appearance, they apparently are great in a curry. For a great view, take a two- to three-hour return hike above Nabua Lodge, which provides 360-degree views across the islands.
Few visitors venture as far as the Lau Islands, on Fiji’s vast eastern border, and for this reason, these islets remain virtually untouched. Being the hereditary seat of the Tui Nayau (Chief of Lau), it is the most important island in southern Lau and has a population of around 2000 people. In days gone by the islanders lived in an interior hilltop fort, far from marauding neighbours, but today they live in the eight coastal villages scattered around it’s perimeter. To the east is a wide lagoon enclosed by a barrier reef. The island has caves worth visiting, especially Oso Nabukete, which translates as ‘too narrow for pregnant women’. Adorned with huge pillars of limestone stalactites and inhabited by bats.
There is only one guesthouses on the island. Lakeba is wilder than other islands, more rugged in its beauty, and completely authentic in its character.
Kadavu is a world renowned dive spot and is home to the magnificent Great Astrolabe Reef . This is one of the largest and most abundant coral reefs in the world and teems with unusual marine life.
Besides being a spectacular diving destination, there is plenty to explore above the water as well, offering rainforest hikes, birdwatching and guided sea-kayaking tours. The distinctive coastline, features several coves, some of which are so deep that they almost dissect the island. This creates some gorgeous bays.
With just one town and very few roads, Kadavu is a perfect escape from modern life and an immersive Fijian cultural experience. Kadavu is the perfect place to relax experiencing a unique slice of untouched paradise.
Waya is a rugged, hilly island blanketed by thick, virgin forest. For the adventurous hiker, the summit of Waya’s dramatic peak, offers spectacular views out across the ocean and down the island’s steep cliff. At sea level, the beaches are stunning and the surrounding coral reefs abundant with incredible marine life.
This small island is encircled by one of the worlds largest barrier reefs, stretching almost 100 miles. It is one of the Pacific’s premier diving and snorkeling destinations and is renowned for its abundant and varied shark population. It is also home to brilliant soft corals, gorgonian sea fans, octopus, electric clams, angelfish, grouper, butterfly and lion fish, parrot and anemone fish, spotted rays and blue ribbon eels, and nudis to mention a few. Off shore you’ll find blue marlin, wahoo, swordfish and tuna.
Beqa is also the birthplace of the magical fire-walking ritual, which involves walking barefoot across hot stones or embers. Firewalking is an ancient ritual which, according to legend, was given by a god only to the Sawau tribe of Beqa a tradition still practiced by residents of the nine Fijian villages that call Beqa home.
Although isolated, the advantage of staying on Beqa Island is that you’ll experience a much greater sense of Fijian hospitality. This sparsely populated island gives visitors a glimpse into true Melanesian life. The locals are true villagers and because of the rural nature of the island they are naturally friendlier. They simply see fewer visitors and retain their genuine Fijian warmth and innocence.
Fiji's white sand beaches and pristine, crystal-clear ocean waters offer an ideal vacation destination for divers, honeymooners and families-- or simply, those looking to relax and get away from it all