It’s easy to see why Taveuni is called the Garden Island. Hot, steamy and often wet, this luscious strip of land is a carpet of green palms and tropical wildflowers, and its dense, prehistoric rainforest is a magnet for colourful bird life. Much of Taveuni’s coastline is rugged, set against some of Fiji’s highest peaks. Des Voeux Peak reaches up 1195m and the cloud-shrouded Mt Uluigalau, at 1241m, is the country’s second-highest summit. A massive swath of the island’s eastern side is a protected national park and here you can get sweaty on hillside hikes, cool off under waterfalls, enjoy a coastal walk along an impossibly beautiful beach trail or glide through clear waters on a traditional bilibili (bamboo raft). Dotted around the island’s perimeter are black-sand beaches, evidence of the island’s volcanic past. If it’s sheer indulgence you’re after, the nearby islands of Laucala, Matagi and Qamea have stunning white beaches and luxury resorts.
It’s not just on dry land that Taveuni makes an impression, though. The island’s beauty descends below the water’s surface, attracting divers from across the globe – all of them eager to explore the dazzling corals and diverse marine life of the world-famous Somosomo Strait.