Must see attractions in Vanua Levu & Taveuni

  • Sights in Taveuni

    Tavoro Waterfalls

    Framed by thick, ridiculously green jungle, these three waterfalls (also known as the Bouma Falls) epitomise the 'Garden Island' epithet Taveuni is famous for. The first waterfall (24m) has a change area, picnic tables and barbecues; it's an easy stroll from the visitors centre. It’s a 30-minute climb (and river-rock hop) to the second one; the third involves a hike along an oft-muddy forest path for another 20 minutes. Rocks and paths leading to the last two falls can get very slippery; they can be cut off during wet season. All waterfalls have natural swimming pools; at the third – if you bring a snorkel – you'll see hundreds of prawns. You must sign in (and pay) at the visitors' centre before heading off. Do not go alone: this is a very isolated spot.

  • Sights in Taveuni

    Bouma National Heritage Park

    This national park protects over 80% of Taveuni's total area, covering about 150 sq km (57 sq mi) of rainforest and coastal forest. The park includes the three Tavoro Waterfalls near the falls' visitor centre, each with natural swimming pools. The first waterfall is about 24m (78ft) high and only 10 minutes' walk along a flat cultivated path. The second waterfall, 30 or 40 minutes along, is a bit smaller but also has a good swimming pool. The track is quite steep in places but has steps, handrails and lookout spots to rest. If you are a keen walker, try the Vidawa Rainforest Trail.

  • Sights in Vanua Levu

    Wasavula Ceremonial Site

    This site has a cryptic – and cannibalistic – history. At the entrance, there's a sacred monolith that villagers believe grew from the ground; behind is a cemetery and the area that was used during cannibalistic ceremonies, with a vatu ni bokola (head-chopping stone), another rock for the severed head and a bowl-like stone where the brain was placed for the chief. The site is found in Wasavula village (Vunimoli Rd) south of town; a taxi should be about $7. Once there, ask the first villager you see for permission to visit. Everyone should dress modestly, especially women, who are required to wear a sula (no pants or shorts allowed) and cover their shoulders. Don't forget a sevusevu of kava for the chief.

  • Sights in Taveuni

    Waitavala Water Slide

    Wahooo! This awesome natural slide is a ton of fun. Slide down on your bum or attempt it standing up, like the local kids. Either way, you’ll end up in a small pool at the bottom. Don't start your slide from the very top of the falls – it’s too dangerous – or slide if there's too much water. Watch and learn from the locals. The slide is a 20-minute walk from Waiyevo. With the Garden Island Resort on your left, head north and take the first right at the bus stop. Take another right at the branch in the road, pass a shed and then go left down a hill. You’ll see a ‘waterfall’ sign. The river is on the Waitavala estate, which is private land: if you pass anyone, ask if you can visit.

  • Sights in Vanua Levu

    Naag Mandir Temple

    The sacred 3m-high Cobra Rock is housed inside the vibrant Naag Mandir Temple. It's draped with flower-and-tinsel garlands, and offerings are placed at its base; locals believe the rock can cure the sick and the infertile. The rock also – apparently – grows; locals say the roof has had to be raised four times since the 1950s. Remove your shoes outside the beautifully tiled temple and try to make it there on a Sunday, when the temple is heaving. A few buses pass the temple, including those to Natewa Bay ($1.60). A taxi costs about $20. If you’re driving, the temple is 10km from the turn off for Wainikoro Rd.

  • Sights in Vanua Levu

    Nukubolu

    Deep in the mountains north of Savusavu, reachable by 4WD, lie the ruins of Nukubolu, an ancient Fijian village whose stone foundations, terraces and thermal pools are in surprisingly good condition. The setting is lovely: a volcanic crater with steaming hot springs in the background. The ruins are on the property of the village of Biaugunu, so take a sevusevu (gift) for the chief and ask permission before wandering around. The turn-off is about 20km northwest of Savusavu; continue about 8km inland and over a couple of river crossings. You can also rent a carrier from town to take you there.

  • Sights in Taveuni

    Lake Tagimaucia

    Lake Tagimaucia is in an old volcanic crater in the mountains above Somosomo. Masses of vegetation float on the lake (823m above sea level), and the national flower, the rare tagimaucia (an epiphytic plant), grows on the lake’s shores. This red-and-white flower blooms only at high altitude from October to December. It's a difficult trek around the lake as it is overgrown and often very muddy. You’ll need a guide; ask in Naqara or arrange for one through your accommodation. The track starts from Naqara. Take lunch and allow eight hours for the round trip.

  • Sights in Vanua Levu

    Waisali Rainforest Reserve

    Nestled in the mountains north of Savusavu, this 120-ha reserve is home to thousands of birds, flowers, trees and plants, some of which are used in local traditional medicines. There's a pleasant 30-minute walk dense greenery down to a waterfall (but watch out for its death-trap-slippery rocks). You can enter the park 20km north of Savusavu, directly off the road to Labasa. Bus drivers should know where to drop you off (ask before you board), as should most carrier and taxi drivers. If you are driving, it’s at km/culvert 14.4, which is also a good viewpoint.

  • Sights in Vanua Levu

    Floating Island

    This house-sized island floats on a pond during high winds or, if you believe local lore, when a priest chants at it. The real reason to come here is to say you have; if you're the type who loves a challenge, you'll like it too as it's very remote and you'll have to find a local willing to slog through the mud with you. The island is found near Nakelikoso Village, about 50km northeast of Labasa. You'll need a 4WD, strong walking legs and a local guide, plus permission from local villagers. Ask around in Labasa to find someone to take you out.

  • Sights in Taveuni

    Civa Pearl Farm

    Founded by two Canadian expats, Civa produces black – as well as unusual blue, green and pink – pearls from their 55-hectare farm. Ninety-minute boat tours explore the farm hut and nursery; afterwards, guests are welcome to have a snorkel and, of course, buy pearls. Book tours through your Taveuni accommodation. The Peckham Pearl Farm in Matei may or may not be working; if you're in the area, drop in and see if it's offering tours.

  • Sights in Savusavu & Around

    Hot Springs

    Those vents of steam you see along the water’s edge are evidence of the volcanic activity that simmers below Savusavu's surface. The main springs are just down from the aptly named Hot Springs Hotel. They are literally boiling: locals come to cook food in them. You’ll scald yourself if you touch them. The Savusavu Medical Centre next door has three therapeutic spa baths (40°C), and welcomes visitors. No appointment necessary.

  • Sights in Taveuni

    Des Voeux Peak

    At 1195m, this is the island’s second-highest mountain. On a clear day the views from the peak are fantastic: it’s possible to see Lake Tagimaucia and the Lau Group. Birdwatching is great every day. Allow three to four hours to walk the 6km up, and at least two to return. It’s a steep, arduous climb in the heat; start early. Take the inland track just before you reach Wairiki Catholic Mission (coming from Waiyevo), or arrange for a lift up and walk back.

  • Sights in Taveuni

    International Dateline

    Though Fiji adheres to the single time convention, the International Dateline cuts straight through Taveuni, offering visitors a great photo-op and the chance to jump from one day to the next. Take the road uphill from Waiyevo (towards the hospital) and cross the field on the right: you’ll find a big Taveuni map split in two to mark both sides of the dateline.

  • Sights in Savusavu & Around

    Flora Tropica Gardens

    Take a guided tour through these gorgeous gardens, home to 300 types of palms and countless tropical flowers and fruit trees. Birds and butterflies love it here just as much as visitors, who are rewarded with stunning views over Savusavu Bay at the end of the timber boardwalk. It's about 5km out of town.

  • Sights in Vanua Levu

    Tunuloa Silktail Reserve

    Home to the rare silktail bird, found only on this peninsula and on Taveuni. The silktail has sadly made it onto the world’s endangered-species list, with logging being its major threat. The average bird is about 8cm high and is black with a white patch on its tail.

  • Sights in Vanua Levu

    Korovatu Beach

    From Naag Mandir Temple, head down through dense coconut trees and past the lounging cows to Korovatu Beach. It's the closest stretch of sand to Labasa and makes a decent side trip if you’re in the area for a few days.

  • Sights in Savusavu & Around

    Namena Marine Reserve

    Protected 70sqkm park housing corals so vibrant and marine life so plentiful that it’s become the poster child for Fiji’s underwater world. It's about a two-hour boat ride from Savusavu.

  • Sights in Taveuni

    Great Council of Chiefs' Meeting Hall

    The Great Council of Chiefs’ meeting hall ( bure bose) was built in Somosomo in 1986 for the gathering of chiefs from all over Fiji.

  • Sights in Taveuni

    Blowhole

    On Taveuni's dramatic, windswept South Cape. As the water jumps up through the volcanic rock it creates rainbows in the air.

  • Sights in Taveuni

    Peckham Pearl Farm Tours

    Snorkel this saltwater black-pearl farm in Matei's Naselesele lagoon and buy pearls after the tour.