How to Travel Taveuni on a Budget
For backpackers looking to get off the tourist trail and discover some of the best eco experiences Fiji has to offer, Taveuni is an extremely affordable island to travel. Aside from the associated costs of getting there (Taveuni is located about 300km/180 miles northeast of Nadi International Airport across the Koro Sea), Taveuni’s main attractions will only gently chip away at your budget. With accommodation (including campgrounds) and independent restaurants outside of the pricey resorts, your overall stay on Fiji’s “Garden Island” can be incredibly affordable. We’ll go through it all with you in this guide to Taveuni on a budget.
10 Tips for Visiting Taveuni on a Budget
- The cheapest way to get to Taveuni is by ferry, although flights are affordable enough if booked enough in advance
- Check out the independent restaurants, especially around Matei for cheaper meal prices than most resorts
- Some of the accommodations listed beside this guide have kitchen facilities. Pick up supplies from supermarkets in Maqai, Naqara and Somosomo
- Taveuni is one of the rare places in Fiji where there are plenty of places to pitch a tent – bring your own, otherwise renting a tent usually only costs an extra FJ$5
- Homestays are an affordable way to immerse in the Fijian culture while having the convenience of cheap accommodation and food – check them out on Airbnb (and don’t forget your FREE $50 Airbnb credit on us)
- Buses with Pacific Transport are the cheapest way to get around the island, however, they only usually run about three times a day
- When considering accommodation, remember that while many of the resorts have a higher price than lodges and campgrounds, they usually have a selection of free activities – something to think about
- Have cash handy for visiting the waterfalls and walks in the Bouma National Park – all of the attractions have a fee from FJ$15 to FJ$80
- Hiring a driver for the day usually works out cheaper than renting a car – ask for drivers at your accommodation or Matei Airport
- While walking to many of the attractions on Taveuni, especially on the west coast, is doable and free, be sure to time your walk with the coolest hours of the day (i.e. early morning).
For more information, see our 10 Tips for Visiting Taveuni on a Budget.
How to Get to Taveuni on a Budget
Located across the ocean from Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu, and south of Fiji’s second largest island, Vanua Levu, Taveuni requires overwater transport in order to get there. Once on Taveuni, there are extremely affordable buses around the island’s limited roads, as well as carrier vans, taxis and accommodation airport transfers for a more convenient option. Find out more in 7 Ways to Get to Taveuni (& Get Around Taveuni).
Taveuni by Ferry
Let’s begin with the cheapest way to get to Taveuni: the ferry service. Goundar Shipping runs an overnight ferry from Suva (Viti Levu) to Wairiki Wharf (Taveuni), located between Wairiki and Waiyevo. Ferries run every Friday and Monday evening taking approximately 16 hours where you can either brush shoulders with the locals and the goods begin shipped or book a sleeper cabin. From Vanua Levu, the Taveuni Princess runs a daily ferry from Buca Bay (including a bus service from Savusavu) to Korean Wharf in Lovonivonu (Taveuni) taking around 1h30mins. See How Much Do Water Taxis & Ferries Cost in Fiji? for approximate pricing.
Taveuni by Plane
While not the cheapest way to get to Taveuni, booking enough in advance and in the low season (January-May) only makes flying to Taveuni marginally more expensive. Minus the long and uncomfortable journey that you would get of a ferry, you might just decide that taking a flight is worth it. Domestic flights run from Nadi International Airport, Nausori Airport in Suva or Savusavu Airport in Vanua Levu. Flights arrive at Matei Airport (Taveuni) taking approximately 1h15mins from Nadi and 50 minutes from Suva.
Free & Cheap Water Activities on Taveuni
Just picking a few water activities in Taveuni for this guide is a tough one, especially as anyone staying in the Taveuni resorts will have complimentary access to kayaks, snorkel gear and stand-up paddle boards. But what can you do outside of the resort for free or cheap? Here are a few suggestions or check out our full list of 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do on Taveuni.
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 completely protected from fishing – even from the villagers. See the thriving fish and coral life on an affordable snokelling tour for around FJ$45-$50 per person. Alternatively, there is a Cultural Experience Tour including refreshments, entertainment and a ride on a traditional raft called a bilibili, for around FJ$70-$80 each. 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 from the village to find you.
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 our planet. A rewarding way to “give back” is to help the locals plant coral. At Beverly’s Campground, the staff are happy to teach guests how to plant coral – just ask!
Visit Peckham Pearl Farm
Due to the stunning array of natural colours, Fiji pearls are some of the most sought after pearls in the world. Learn about how pearls are farmed and harvested at Peckham Pearl Farm with the opportunity to snorkel in the lagoon. Tours cost around FJ$25-$40 per person and usually depart at high tide from Matei.
Free & Cheap Land Activities on Taveuni
Amidst the lush rainforests of Taveuni is where you’ll find some of the best free and cheap land activities on Taveuni. The Bouma National Heritage Park holds an array of natural attractions where a small fee will need to be paid to the local villages in order to visit. While there are natural attractions and waterfalls scattered across Taveuni, here are some of the highlights for budget travellers.
Visit Bouma Falls
Chasing waterfalls is one of the most affordable activities on Taveuni, which just happens to be one of the island’s must-dos! From the Tavoro visitor centre in Korovou Village (also known as Bouma Village) pay your 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 is an extra 30 minutes. The last waterfall is a more demanding hike of a further 30 minutes, but well worth it due to its beautiful cascades and the fact that most visitors don’t make it this far. Find Bouma Falls in the Bouma National Park (on the bus route – just ask).
Walk the Lavena Coastal Walk
The last attraction you’ll find when venturing down the road through the Bouma National Park is the Lavena Coastal Walk. The walk starts on a pristine beach by Lavena village and Lavena Lodge where you will need to pay a small fee (around FJ$20) to access the trail. The 3-hour return walk features stunning coastline, black sand beaches, the village of Naba (don’t wander through, stick to the trail), rocky cliffs 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 follow. Alternatively, this section of the walk can be accessed through a kayak tour organised through Lavena Lodge (FJ$50-$80).
Get a Photo with the International Dateline
If staying near Waiyevo on the west coast, take a short walk to Taveuni’s quirkiest attraction. The International Dateline sign indicates the place where the 180 Degree Meridian passes through Taveuni. The line represents where the beginning and end of each day is determined by the time zones, but of course, Taveuni observes the same time zone as the rest of Fiji for convenience. Nevertheless, the information sign showing “today” and “tomorrow” makes a fun and free photo opportunity.