Kadavu for Foodies
It’s all about seasonal and flavoursome produce on the Fiji island of Kadavu. With rich volcanic soils and productive waters, Kadavu is an island that easily sustains itself. Match that with the traditional Fijian cooking methods or the expertise of internationally renowned chefs and you’re in for a South Pacific gastronomical experience like none other. We’ll guide you through the best resorts for foodies, the food-related activities, and dining available on Kadavu with this foodie guide to Kadavu.
Before we jump into the foodie guide to Kadavu, be sure to bookmark The Complete Guide to Food in Fiji, which has even more advice.
8 Things to Do on Kadavu for Foodies
- Catch your own dinner on a fishing trip
- Try a traditional Fijian lovo
- Tour an organic farm
- Indulge in a private gourmet beach picnic
- Try wellness cuisine on a private island retreat
- Join a herbal and medicine tour
- Sample “sea-to-table” and “farm-to-table” dining
- Treat your loved one to a private dining experience.
For more information on each activity, see 8 Things to Do on Kadavu for Foodies.
How to Get to Kadavu
Kadavu is a rather isolated island about 100km/62miles south of the mainland, Viti Levu. Flights and ferries are the main ways to get to Kadavu, departing from either Nadi or Suva. On arrival, transport is by boat where resorts will pick up guests from the airport or wharf. Find out more in 5 Ways to Get to Kadavu. Otherwise, here’s a quick rundown.
Kadavu by Plane
A quick and easy way to get to Kadavu from Viti Levu is by plane. Scheduled domestic flights depart from Nadi International Airport several times a week and from Nausori Airport in Suva typically once a week. The flight from Nadi takes approximately 40 minutes and 30 minutes from Suva, landing at Vunisea Airport on Kadavu. Alternatively, chartered flights and seaplanes are available from Nadi. Find out more about the specifics of flying to Kadavu in our Kadavu Transport Guide.
Kadavu by Ferry
Providing a cheaper but time-consuming journey to Kadavu, ferries from Viti Levu depart from Walu Bay in Suva. The ferry typically departs once a week for an overnight cruise. Find out more about ferry travel in How to Take the Ferry to Kadavu.
Kadavu by Cruise
One more way to get to Kadavu is during a multi-day cruise departing from Port Denarau on Viti Levu. Find out more about the Kadavu Transport Guide: 5 Ways to Get to Kadavu and The Guide to Cruises Around Fiji.
Foodie Activities on Kadavu
Food-related activities are not hard to find here in Kadavu. With nutritious volcanic soil and a sea of marine creatures, the land and water provide. See how the locals harness it with garden tours, fishing charters and herbal walks. Then sample the flavours of Kadavu for yourself in a Lovo feast or beach picnic!
Try a Fijian Lovo
An absolute must-do for foodies visiting Kadavu, a Fijian lovo is a traditional cooking method where food is slow-cooked in an underground oven. The result is a smokey melt-in-your-mouth dining experience. It’s also very social usually accompanied by drinking kava (a narcotic drink) and singing Fijian songs. A lovo experience is available at least once a week at Oneta Resort, Papageno Resort and Matana Beach Resort.
Tour an Organic Farm
What you’ll find with most of the resorts on Kadavu is that they actually work with the local community to grow their own fruit and vegetables for guests (that’s why the food tastes so fresh)! An informal tour of the farms may be available to guests who inquire, for instance, Matava Resort has a fabulous organic garden and honey program shared and maintained by the local village. For a formal guided tour, choose the farm tour on Kokomo Private Island where you’ll learn about the mechanisms in place for growing fruit, vegetables and looking after their bees and chickens.
Indulge in a Private Beach Picnic
For a romantic foodie experience mixed with a hint of adventure, try one of Kadavu’s private beach picnics. Resorts such as Matana Beach Resort organise a gourmet picnic hamper to enjoy with your loved one on a secluded beach. With Papageno Resort, take a boat to an isolated beach where you’ll also be geared with fishing supplies, a picnic and a cooler full of your chosen beverages for a real Fiji foodie experience.
Go on a Herbal Walk
Learn about traditional medicinal remedies found in the vegetation around Fiji and Kokomo Island with a cultural herbal tour with Kokomo Private Island. This insightful walking tour will show you how the South Pacific Islanders have been harnessing the land for centuries. The tour also includes a bit of history.
Catch Your Own Dinner
Not only is Fiji a popular fishing destination for sports fishermen from all over the world, but fishing is a way of life here. Combine a foodie experience with adventure and tradition in a spearfishing trip with Papageno Resort, where your catch will likely be prepared to serve on the night for dinner. Kokomo Private Island offers sports fishing, as well as reef fishing either by using the latest gear or trying traditional handline fishing.
Dining on Kadavu
Due to the remoteness of Kadavu and the lack of infrastructure, most accommodations make eating an effortless experience for guests. Meals are included with most types of accommodation, whether you’re staying in a homestay or a resort. For those staying in Vunisea, it’s possible to pick up fruit and vegetables from the local market to prepare in the kitchen facilities of the town’s self-catering accommodations (see the recommendations beside/below this guide).
Meals are included in the accommodation rates of all of the resorts on Kadavu, all sourcing food from local communities, local fishermen and their own gardens. At resorts such as Matava Resort and Matana Beach Resort, meals are served at certain times of the day in a “feast” style with long tables for guests to mingle with each other. The luxury resort of Kokomo Private Island is one of the few resorts with an actual “restaurant”. In fact, it has three restaurants to choose from, with pizzas and smoothies served throughout the day at the Kokocabana to Asian-style food served at Walker D’Plank.
Restaurants on Kadavu
Vunisea and Vunisea Airport is the only place in Kadavu where you’ll be able to buy takeaway food. Food stalls are open most lunchtimes and coincide with flight arrivals.
Homestays are a popular and affordable accommodation option available on Kadavu, either booked through Airbnb or through organised tours like Astrolabe Reef Outrigger Adventures. Meals during homestays are experienced the true Fijian way – sitting on the floor with the family and possibly eating with your hands! Don’t be surprised if you are expected to eat first while your host fans the food, this is also a common custom saved for guests in Fiji. Check out more advice in Fiji Village Etiquette: What to Do When Visiting a Fijian Village.