Colo-i-Suva (pronounced tholo-ee-soo-va) is a 2.5-sq-km oasis of lush rainforest teeming with tropical plants and vivid and melodic bird life. The 6.5km of walking trails navigate clear natural pools and gorgeous vistas. Sitting at an altitude of 120m to 180m, it’s a cool and peaceful respite from Suva’s urban hubbub.
Slipping and sliding through the forest over water-worn rocks is the Waisila Creek, which makes its way down to Waimanu River and forms the water swimming holes along the way.
The mahogany and pines were planted after a period of aggressive logging in the 1940s and ‘50s to stabilise the topsoil without impinging on the indigenous vegetation. Among the wildlife are 14 different bird species, including scarlet robins, spotted fantails, Fiji goshawks, sulphur-breasted musk parrots, Fiji warblers, golden doves and barking pigeons.
The visitor information centre is on the leftside of the road as you approach from Suva. Buy your ticket here, check the state of the trails and any current security warnings, then head to the entrance booth on the other side of the road. The recommended route is to follow Kalabu Rd as it skirts the park, turning up Pool Rd to the car park. From here, you take the Nature Trail to the Lower Pools for swimming, the aforementioned rope swinging and, if you remembered to bring it, lunch. It’s a sweaty, uphill walk back to the main road via the Falls Trail. Without stopping this loop takes about 1½ hours to complete.
There have been very occasional incidents of muggings in the park and thefts from parked vehicles. Use your judgement. Rangers will lead guided two-hour walks ($30). The park receives an annual rainfall of 420cm and the trails can be extremely slippery, so sturdy footwear is essential.
The Sawani bus leaves Suva bus station every half hour ($2, 30 minutes) and will drop you at the gate. A taxi costs $15. If driving, follow Princes Rd out of Suva through Tamavua and Tacirua village.