Diving & Snorkelling
Taveuni has achieved mythical status among divers, who come to the Somosomo Strait to see vibrant coral, a profusion of fish and the occasional shark, turtle or pilot whale. The most famous soft-coral site is Rainbow Reef, which fringes the southwest corner of Vanua Levu but is most easily accessed from Taveuni. Highlights include the luminescent Great White Wall (vertical drop-off covered in white corals resembling wavering, glimmery snow), the Purple Wall (covered in purple corals, gorgonia fans and sea whips) and Annie’s Brommies, a fantastic outcrop teeming with fish. The island is especially hot and humid in January and February and the water clarity is reduced due to plankton blooms and northerly winds from the equator.
There is plenty for snorkellers, too. Vuna Reef, off southern Taveuni, boasts psychadelic coral and improbable creatures. The three small islands immediately offshore from Naselesele Point in Matei also have good snorkelling (the third is known locally as ‘Honeymoon Island’). You can also snorkel at Prince Charles or Beverly Beaches.
There are a number of good dive operators on Taveuni. The average price for a two-tank dive/PADI Open Water Course runs from $250/950.
Taveuni’s wild interior is perfect for exploring on foot. Bouma National Heritage Park is the place to head for hiking; you can amble beachside on the Lavena Coastal Walk, tramp up hills to the Tavoro Waterfalls or trek the guided Vidawa Rainforest Trail. If that’s not hardcore enough, slog it up to Des Voeux Peak or around Lake Tagimaucia.
Taveuni is one of Fiji’s best areas for birdwatching. Over 100 species of bird can be found here. Try Des Voeux Peak at dawn for a chance to see the rare orange dove (the male is bright orange with a green head, while the female is mostly green) and the silktail. Avid birdwatchers also recommend the Vidawa Rainforest Trail. On the Matei side of the village, follow a 4WD track for 3.5km up the mountain. Here you might see parrots and fantails, particularly in August and September when they’re nesting. The deep-red feathers of the kula parrot were once an important trade item with the Tongans. The forested Lavena coast is also a good spot to see orange or flame doves, Fiji goshawks, wattled honeyeaters, and grey and white herons.