Free/Cheap Activities on Kadavu
Let’s be honest, we don’t all have the budget to scuba dive in Kadavu’s Great Astrolabe Reef or go on a sports fishing charter every day. How else can you fill your time on the island of Kadavu without breaking the bank? We’ll go through our top recommendations for free and cheap things to do on Kadavu!
While you’re here, you might also be interested in The Guide to Kadavu on a Budget.
1. Snorkel Off the Beach or at the Great Astrolabe Reef
Stay at any one of the resorts on Kadavu and you’ll have complimentary access to non-motorised watersports equipment, including snorkelling gear. The best time for snorkelling off the coast of Kadavu is in the morning when the sea conditions are usually at their calmest. The best resorts for snorkelling off the beach include Matava Resort, Oneta Resort, Kokomo Island and Matana Beach Resort. Boat trips to the outer reefs, especially the famous Great Astrolabe Reef, are always worth paying a little extra, for instance, it’s around FJ$50 per person to join a dive trip. Manta ray snorkelling is also available from the Ono Island resorts between June and October.
2. Kayak From Your Resort
Another non-motorised watersport that’s free for resort guests is kayaking. Matana Beach Resort is an excellent resort for paddling to secluded beaches and clear lagoons. Explore the mangrove forest at Oneta Resort at high tide. Finally, Waisalima Beach Resort has some excellent nearby bays to discover. Kayaking day trips are also inexpensive, for instance, kayaking to the Yabu Island Bird Rookery off Ono Island with Oneta Resort or for a private island beach day is only around FJ$50.
3. Witness a Turtle Calling Ceremony or Walk to a Waterfall from Namuana Village
Kadavu’s villages have their own distinct cultures, especially in the village of Namuana near Vunisea. The village on the edge of the pretty Namalata Bay performs an occasional turtle calling ceremony. It’s said that two maidens are lost at sea and are only summoned to the surface if the local women chant. If you don’t manage to see a turtle calling ceremony, then at least you can walk a 20-minute trail to the top of a hill behind the village offering amazing vistas before continuing to Waikana Falls. See more village excursions in The Best Day Trips on Kadavu.
4. Hike From Matana Resort to Papageno Resort
Kadavu is full of hiking trails, as they often are the only ways to get from village to village on land. One of the longest and most popular trails is the 10km (6 miles) mission from Matana Beach Resort to Papageno Resort. After taking a 10-minute walk from Matana Resort to the stunning cove of One Mile Beach, you can follow the trail along the northern coastline past Naivakarauniniu Village and to Papageno Resort. Who said you couldn’t do a bit of island backpacking in Fiji?
5. Spend Some Time Birdwatching
Watching the colourful array of island birds is just another free activity here on Kadavu where some bird species are only found in this part of Fiji. Keep an eye out for the Kadavu fantail, Kadavu honeyeater, velvet dove and our favourite, the Kadavu shining parrot! On top of that, it’s possible to see an array of bird species found in Fiji, from the Fiji goshawk to the collared lory. While most resorts will be able to point you in the right direction for the best birdwatching in the area, the Matava Resort and Matana Beach Resort are blessed with birds living grounds of the resorts.
6. Indulge in Authentic Fijian Food
When staying in Kadavu, the food provided by your resort will almost always be your only choice of meals. Nevertheless, mealtimes are often a highlight of each day where meals at budget resorts are shared “family style” usually at a long table with other guests. Food is typically Fijian with tropical root crops like taro, hearty fruit like breadfruit, and fresh catches of the day! Homestays are more authentic, often sharing meals with the family while sitting on the floor! Check out 10 Unique Foods in Fiji You Have to Try.
7. Hike to a Kadavu’s Waterfalls
Kadavu has a whole lot of waterfalls, one of the most impressive being the 20m-high waterfall at the back of Kadavu village tumbling down a volcanic cliff. Waterfall walks are on the agenda of more Kadavu resorts, with the resorts with waterfalls a short walk away being Papageno Resort and Waisalima Beach Resort. Don’t worry, if you’re staying elsewhere you won’t miss out as Mai Dive Resort, Kokomo Island and Oneta Resort, all on Ono Island, offer boat trips through mangroves and a trek through the rainforest to a breathtaking waterfall on Kadavu. Expect a boat trip to a waterfall to cost around FJ$60 each.
8. Play Beach Volleyball
Relax with your travel buddies at the end of the day with some island sports. Beach volleyball is popular at the Kadavu resorts, especially at Waisalima Beach Resort, Papageno Resort and Kokomo Island. The latter also has a basketball and tennis court for guests to use at their leisure. Table tennis can also be found in Waisalima and Papageno resorts.
9. Drink Kava and Watch a Meke
The culture of Kadavu is extremely accessible, where being invited to drink kava is a common occurrence. If you’re not doing a homestay where drinking kava is a given, you’ll certainly get the opportunity to sample kava with a kava ceremony at Matava Resort, Waisalima Beach Resort, Matana Beach Resort and more. Matava Resort also organises with the local village to have traditional meke dance performances for guests on request, which helps support community development projects in the village.
10. Do Some Fijian Crafting
Finally, another way to immerse in the local culture, free of charge, is with a Fijian crafting lesson. Cultural lessons are part of the activity itinerary at Waisalima Beach Resort, while villagers on Ono Island teach Oneta Resort guests how to weave Fijian mats and baskets. Papageno Resorts also organises an affordable village visit to Daku Village where you’ll try your hand in traditional tapa making and Fijian mat weaving. See 10 Best Ways to Experience the Fijian Culture for more inspiration.