Free Activities on Taveuni (Or at Least They’re Pretty Darn Cheap)
It’s true, you don’t have to fork out for expensive scuba diving trips, fishing charters and cruises every day! In fact, on Taveuni, the biggest highlights of the island are free or at least super affordable. Waterfalls, natural waterslides, hikes, birdwatching, snorkelling and planting coral are all inexpensive ways to experience the wonderful natural environment of Fiji’s “Garden Island”. Check out some of our top recommendations with this list of free and cheap things to do on Taveuni.
1. Snorkel at the Waitabu Marine Park
The first attraction you come to when travelling into the famous Bouma National Heritage Park, Waitabu Marine Park is a stunning snorkelling spot. The reserve is completely protected from fishing, even from the villagers, resulting in thriving fish and coral life. Discover it for yourself on an affordable snorkelling tour (around FJ$45-$50). Alternatively, there is a Cultural Experience Tour including refreshments, entertainment and a ride on a traditional raft called a bilibili (around FJ$70-$80).
Location: Waitabu, 17.5km south of Matei along the east coast road. Be sure to get in contact with the Waitabu visitor centre before you arrive (6798201999) so you don’t have to wait around for someone to find you.
2. Visit Peckham Pearl Farm
Due to the stunning array of natural colours, Fiji pearls are some of the most sought after in the world. Learn about how pearls are farmed and harvested at the affordable Peckham Pearl Farm tour with the opportunity to snorkel in the lagoon. Tours cost around FJ$25-$40 per person, usually departing at high tide from Matei.
3. Check out Bouma Falls
Chasing waterfalls is a must-do on Taveuni! From the Tavoro visitor centre in Korovou Village (also known as Bouma Village) in the Bouma National Park, pay your (approximately) FJ$20 fee to enjoy a self-guided walk to three stunning waterfalls. The first one is only a 10-minute walk away, then the next will be an extra 30 minutes to the second. The last waterfall is a more demanding hike, taking an additional 30 minutes, but well worth it due to the 10m waterfall cascading into the best swimming hole of the three… And the fact that most visitors don’t make it this far.
Location: Bouma Village, Bouma National Park on the east coast road (on the bus route – just ask).
4. Walk the Lavena Coastal Walk
The last attraction you’ll find when venturing down the east coast road through the Bouma National Park is the Lavena Coastal Walk. The walk starts on a pristine beach by the Lavena Lodge where you will need to pay a small fee (around FJ$20) to access the trail. The 3-hour return walk features a varied coastline of black sand beaches and rocky cliffs, as well as the village of Naba (don’t wander through, stick to the trail) and a suspension bridge. At the end of the walk is Wainibau Falls, which can only be seen if you swim through a passage keeping left where there is a ridge just underwater to hold onto. Alternatively, this section of the walk can be accessed through a kayak tour organised through Lavena Lodge (FJ$50-$80).
Location: Lavena Village, Bouma National Park at the end of the east coast road.
5. Get a Photo with the International Dateline
Near Waiyevo on the west coast, take a short walk to Fiji’s quirkiest attraction. The International Dateline sign shows the place where the 180 Degree Meridian passes through Taveuni. The line indicated where the beginning and end of each day is determined by the time zones. Of course, Taveuni observes the same time zone as the rest of Fiji for convenience. Nevertheless, the sign showing “today” and “tomorrow” makes a fun and free photo opportunity.
Location: Waiyevo, up the road leading to the police station.
6. Learn How to Plant Coral
Protecting the fragile ecosystem of Fiji’s coral reefs is of vital importance to both the locals and the health of the planet. A rewarding way to “give back” is to help the locals in their coral restoration. At Beverly’s Campground in Matei, the staff are happy to teach guests how to plant coral – just ask!
Location: Beverly’s Campground, Matei
7. Take on the Waitavala Waterslide
If you’re feeling adventurous, check out the Waitavala Waterslide. This 200m (656ft) long natural waterslide chutes you over an undulating set of rapids into a narrow stream at the bottom. Be prepared for a few bruises, but also make sure that the slide is safe before you go shooting down it anyway, as the currents at the bottom can be strong after heavy rain. Watch the locals slide down before giving it a go yourself. Plus, remember to take insect repellent!
Location: Just south of Vuniotu. From the Garden Island Resort, walk five minutes north to a dirt road beside a bus shelter. Walk up this dirt road for about 20 minutes and turn left just past the sign for the prison. Look out for a worn trail on your right, which leads up to the waterfall.
8. Hike to De Voeux Peak
For a free hike on Taveuni, hit De Voeux Peak, Taveuni’s highest peak at 1195m. From Wairiki, the walk up the access road is not too difficult but takes approximately two hours to reach the summit. Those who arrive at the top will be rewarded with views of Vanua Levu and even as far as Koro and Gau in the south on a clear day. The walk is also fantastic for birdwatching, especially during the nesting season in August and September.
Location: Take the access road turn-off in Wairiki, between the Catholic Mission and Wairiki Wharf.
9. Check out the Vuna Blowhole
For adventures in the south of Taveuni, check out the volcanic remnants from Taveuni’s last eruption some 500 years ago. The black volcanic rocks spill into the ocean, and on the turn of low tide, shoots up sea water 15m into the air! This is the Vuna Blowhole, otherwise known as the Matamaiqi Blowhole.
Location: Just south of the Vuna Lagoon and village. It is possible to walk from the Vuna Lagoon Lodge – see 7 Best Budget Accommodation on Taveuni.
10. Listen to the Singing at the Holy Cross Church
The Wairiki Catholic Mission, also known as the Holy Cross Church, stands out like a sore thumb among the lush greenery of Taveuni. The Roman-style church makes for a good photo opportunity, but try to time your visit with the Sunday Mass at 7am, 9am or 11am. You’ll experience the harmonious singing of the local villagers.