Taveuni, also known as the "Garden Island of Fiji," is renowned for its lush tropical rainforests, scenic coastline and variety of wildlife. Its lush rainforests are home to numerous species of birds, a fact that makes Taveuni a prime spot for bird-watching. Much of the island's coastline is rugged, and inland are some of Fiji's highest mountains, such as De Voeux Peak, rising 1,195 m (3,920 ft) and Fiji's second highest mountain – Mt. Uluigalau – rising 1,241 m (4,072 ft). Much of the eastern portion of the island is a protected nature reserve, which makes Taveuni a great ecotourism destination. The island also has quite a few black-sand beaches, a testament to the island's volcanic past. Also, most of Fiji's coffee is grown on Taveuni. The main tourist hub on Taveuni is Matei, a residential area in the northern part of the island. Encompassing 435 km² (168 sq mi) Taveuni is Fiji's third largest island.
Taveuni is also one of the best scuba diving locations in the world. The Somosomo Strait is world-renowned for its magnificent underwater coral gardens and diverse marine life. One of the most famous dive sites featuring soft coral is Rainbow Reef. Two other ones are the Great White Wall, a steep drop-off covered with white soft corals that give off a slight luminescent glow, and the Purple Wall, covered with purple soft corals. Both sites were named in the “Top 10 Dive Locations in the World” by U.S. Diver magazine. A great spot for snorkeling is Vuna Reef, off southern Taveuni.
Bouma National Heritage Park
Located between Bouma and Lavena is Bouma National Heritage Park. There are three main attractions in this nature reserve: Lavena Coastal Walk, Vidawa Rainforest Hike and Waitabu Marine Park. Within this national park, you can explore tropical rainforests and gardens and even swim under amazing waterfalls (such as Bouma Falls). While on the Lavena Coastal Walk, you will be able to explore Lake Tagimaucia, where you can see the rare tagimaucia flower. You can also go on a snorkeling tour in the protected Waitabu Marine Park, where you can see a large variety of marine life.
Other islands that are worth visiting in the Taveuni Group are Qamea, Matagi and Laucala.
The beautiful Qamea Island is home to lush tropical rainforests, pristine white-sand beaches, spectacular mountain ranges and traditional Fijian villages. In late November or early December you can see an abundance of land crabs (lairo) here who, at the start of their breeding season, begin their migration from the mudflats to the sea. The island is also a good bird-watching destination, and when the waves are right, the island has a good spots for surfers.
Tiny Matagi is privately-owned, but visitor accommodations are available. The 1 km² (0.4 sq mi) volcanic isle is actually a sunken crater that forms a pretty bay. Matagi advertises itself as a great honeymoon destination. Newlywed couples can stay at private treehouse bures.
Laucala is also a private island. It was once owned by the late U.S. billionaire Malcolm Forbes, who purchased the island in 1972 and built a resort here. When the island was invaded in mid-2000 during the Speight coup attempt, the Fiji Forbes resort closed. In 2003, the island was sold to Dietrich Mateschitz, the Austrian founder of the energy drink Red Bull, who opened his own luxury resort on the island, complete with an 18-hole golf course.
Why visit Taveuni?
Taveuni is the ideal island for nature lovers and scuba divers. Here you can hike through lush rainforests in protected nature reserves. Bouma National Heritage Park is one of the best hiking destinations in Fiji. There are numerous trails for all skill levels. Take a leisurely stroll or hike all the way up to Des Vouex Peak for sweeping views. Scuba divers find their paradise at several top scuba spots just off Taveuni's shore, the most popular one being the Somosomo Strait.