The Must-Dos in Kadavu
Most of us only get one opportunity to visit an island as remote and pristine as Kadavu in the south of the Fiji archipelago. Kadavu provides an escape from modern-day worries with the island awash with Fijian villages, native tropical forest, and surrounded by vibrant coral reefs. Most famously, Kadavu is known for the Great Astrolabe Reef, the world’s fourth longest barrier reef. The reef offers sensational diving, surfing outrigger kayaking and many more amazing water activities. Most of the activities are on Kadavu are organised and done through the island’s resorts, so always inquire with your resort to see if the activity is available. Until then, start dreaming and planning your adventure with this list of the best things to do in Kadavu!
1. Scuba Dive in the Great Astrolabe Reef
Any keen scuba diver will know Kadavu as one of the best diving locations in Fiji thanks to the incredible Great Astrolabe Reef. Spanning some 65km/40miles from Central Kadavu up past Ono Island, the Great Astrolabe Reef is the world’s fourth-largest barrier reef. Needless to say, it contains a wealth of exciting wildlife, from reef sharks to turtles, hard coral to soft coral. While dives are available at all resorts, PADI dive courses are available with Kokomo Private Island, Papageno Resort and Matava Resort should you want to take your diving further.
2. Walk to One of Kadavu’s Exciting Waterfalls
With volcanic islands topped with lush rainforest, Kadavu has no lack of picturesque waterfalls. Some resorts have at least one waterfall only a short walk away, whether it’s the Papageno Resort’s 3.5km/2mile walk to Malawai Falls or the short guided hike to a waterfall from the now closed Waisalima Beach Resort. Where there isn’t a waterfall to walk to, resorts offer boat trips to some of Kadavu’s best. For instance, Oneta Resort and Tiliva Resort offer boat trips through mangrove forests to a 30ft/9m waterfall tumbling off a volcanic ridge. See more like this in 10 Free & Cheap Things To Do in Kadavu.
3. Try a Traditional Fijian Lovo
An absolute must-do for foodies visiting Kadavu, a Fijian lovo is a traditional cooking method where food is wrapped in banana leaves and slow-cooked in an underground with hot rocks. The result is a smokey melt-in-your-mouth feast and a social experience usually combined with drinking kava (a narcotic drink) and singing Fijian songs. A lovo night takes place once a week at Oneta Resort, Papageno Resort and Matana Beach Resort. See more activities like this in 8 Things to Do on Kadavu for Foodies.
4. Enjoy a Secluded Beach Getaway
Kadavu is pretty isolated but if you want to take your feeling of serenity further then go on a secluded beach or island getaway. Papageno Resort offers couples, families and friends the chance to embark on a getaway to an untouched beach only accessible by boat. Make a day of as you’ll be provided with a hammock, snorkelling gear, a picnic lunch, fishing supplies and a cooler full of refreshing beverages! If you want to mix a little adventure with your private beach experience, Oneta Resort and Mai Dive Resort on Ono Island offers kayaking trips to a secluded beach where you’ll spend the afternoon and be picked up as the sun goes down. See more beach excursions in The Best Day Trips on Kadavu.
5. Get Out on the Water on a Romantic Sunset Cruise
If you’re on a romantic getaway in Kadava, don’t miss a cruise during the day’s most beautiful hour. Sunset cruises are a speciality at the private island resort, Kokomo Island, where their skippers will take you and your loved one out for a scenic cruise with canapes and beverages served throughout. Sunset cruises are also available with Matana Beach Resort. See more experiences like this in 10 Romantic Activities on Kadavu for Couples.
6. Hit Kadavu’s Epic Surf Breaks
A must-do for keen surfers, Kadavu has some of the most uncrowded breaks in Fiji. Hit the famous King Kong Left, which reaches up to heights of 8ft/3m or Kadavu’s most consistent break, Typhoon Ally. Needless to say, the surf breaks around Kadavu are not for the faint of heart and must only be tackled by intermediates to experts. Surf trips can be organised, including board rentals, from Kokomo Private Island, about a 45-90 minute boat ride from the breaks. Alternatively, Matava Island makes a good base if you have your own gear, offering 3-hour surf boat trips to breaks only 10-20 minutes away. Get more advice in The Complete Guide to Surfing in Fiji.
7. Look Out for Kadavu’s Unique Birds
Watching the colourful array of island birds is just another way to relax and immerse in nature here in 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 the Kadavu shining parrot! On top of that, it’s possible to see an array of native species, 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 just some of the resorts where birds are regularly seen on the grounds.
8. Tour an Organic Farm
Dining on Kadavu is a farm-to-plate/sea-to-plate affair, which is why the food tastes so fresh! Learning about sustainable living on the island is something that ends up interesting most visitors. An informal tour of the farms is often provided to guests who inquire, for instance, at Matava Resort with their fabulous organic garden and honey program. For a more formal guided tour, there’s the Farm Tour on Kokomo Private Island where you’ll learn about the mechanisms for growing fruit, vegetables and looking after their bees and chickens. See more activities like this in the 8 Things to Do in Kadavu for Foodies.
9. Snorkel with Manta Rays
There’s the opportunity to spot some amazing creatures while snorkelling around Kadavu, from sharks to spinner dolphins to humpback whales to turtles. One of the most impressive and more consistent sightings is the giant manta rays between June and October. During the season, many resorts offer trips to snorkel or scuba dive with these magnificent creatures which average 3m/10ft across. Join Kokomo Private Island for their manta trips between Kokomo and Yaukuve Lailai islands or Papageno Resort‘s trip to Bulia Island with lunch on the beach included. Learn more about swimming with these majestic creatures in The Guide to Swimming with Manta Rays in Fiji
10. Go Fishing for Big Game
The warm tropical waters of Fiji are home to big game fish such as dogtooth tuna, wahoo, Pacific blue marlin, giant trevally, Pacific sailfish, black marlin, barracuda and much more – just check What Types of Fish Can You Fish For in Fiji to see what sort of whoppers you could snatch! In Kadavu, you can fish at almost any time within the reef barrier. Outside of the reef is best fished on good weather days. Get more advice in The Complete Guide to Fishing in Fiji.
11. Paddle Out in a Kayak or Outrigger Canoe
Glide across the clear waters watching the marine life beneath you in a kayak or outrigger canoe in Kadavu. Kayaks are free for guests to use at most resorts, a great choice being Matana Beach Resort for paddling to secluded beaches and clear lagoons. Oneta Resort has fun mangrove forests to explore at high tide, while Waisamlima Beach Resort has some picturesque nearby bays to discover. It makes a great way to explore the coast with kids, where you can find more recommendations like this in 10 Things To Do on Kadavu with Kids. There’s also the option to be guided to remote villages, reefs and islands on an outrigger canoe tour with Astrolabe Reef Outrigger Adventures on full-day and multi-day trips around Kadavu.
12. Do Some Snorkelling
Literally, mere minutes from the beaches are amazing underwater worlds so all you need to do is grab some often complimentary snorkel gear from your resort and enjoy! There are also 10-minute boat trips out to vibrant coral reefs where you have a good chance of seeing grey-reef and white-tip sharks. If you’re not a splashy snorkeller, you may even see seahorses.
13. Relax With a Spa Day
Almost all the resorts on Kadavu have their own spa offering a wide range of treatments, from facial massages to full-body deep tissue massages. The traditional Fijian massage is always worth a try with some masseuses having skilled footwork to relax the body. It’s a great activity to do before your flight or boat trip back to the mainland. See resorts with spas in our 10 Romantic Activities in Kadavu for Couples.
14. Go on a Walk in the Forest
With so much lush native forest remaining on Kadavu, it makes for an amazing place to simply go for a walk. Ask your resort about the nearest bushwalks which often take you to hilltops revealing breathtaking vistas. Plus, the birdlife is just a bonus! See the 8 Best Walks in Kadavu for our top recommendations.
15. Visit a Fijian Village
Fiji’s culture is best seen in real Fijian villages. Many resorts can organise visits to the local villages where you can visit schools, witness the traditional Fijian dancing called a “meke” and even partake in a kava ceremony. Kava is a traditional drink made from kava roots, which you must bring to the village as an offering. The taste is earthy, leaving a slight tingle in the mouth. If the time is right, experiencing the songs and atmosphere of a Sunday church service is a must! Check out our Guide to Fijian Village Etiquette for more advice, as well as more village trips in The Best Day Trips on Kadavu.
16. Unwind on the Beach
White sandy beaches lined with palm trees: that’s the image we all have in our heads of Fiji before we arrive (and discover there is so much more!) A beach day is a must, so with all the resorts having a waterfront, grab a cocktail and enjoy the real “Fiji time“.