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Site ofInternational Dateline
The 180th Meridian is about one kilometer south of the Garden Island Resort. Take a right from the entrance of the hotel and go up the road toward the hospital watching for a monument on your right. This was where the international dateline once passed. The dateline was later changed so as not to bisect Taveuni.
Warrior Burial Cave
Created by a lava tube, this cave is about 350 meters long and terminates at the ocean edge. In former times it was used by Fijians as a secret burial cave for warriors. It is believed that Taveuni's greatest warriors were buried here in order to keep their remains hidden from enemies. Most of the large bones were removed in the 1950s after the cave was found. Guides will proudly show you the biers where their ancestors were laid to rest. As one would expect the cave is dark and damp. Be sure and bring your hiking shoes. The entire trip, which includes a short visit to Soqulu Plantation, can be arranged from the Garden Island Resort. Take your flashlight.
This waterslide is a 20 minute walk north of the Garden Island Resort. It's a picturesque spot and quite popular with the local kids. It's secluded, verdant and filled with the laughter of children.
The Wairiki Mission, only 20 minutes walk south of the hotel, is the most architecturally interesting edifice on the island. Situated on the edge of a splendid coconut plantation, it is also known at The Taveuni Catholic mission. It's a good example of British colonial Romanesque architecture. Located on a hill, it overlooks the historic site where Taveuni warriors turned back thousands of invading Tongans in a battle that was fought in canoes just off the beach. It was this particular battle that turned the tide in a war that had seen the Tongan stake over much of Fiji. The locals celebrated by cooking their enemies and eating them with breadfruit. Modern day visitors are invited to attend Mass on Sundays from 7 am to 9 am. Definitely check it out, the singing is wonderful. (Note that there are no pews or seats so be prepared to sit on the floor.)
Vuna Village, Blow Hole, Vatuwiri Estate and Navakawau
Vuna, a village near the southernmost end of the island, played an important role in the early European settlement of the Island. The original plantations and homes of the early planters were purchased from Tui Vuna (the local chief) and at least one of the homes, Vatuwiri Farm, is within spitting distance of the village. (The Vatuwiri Estate is still owned by the Tarte family, who are descendants of the original settlers. On the property are the ruins of an old Fijian village and one can hike to an extinct volcanic crater). At the road's terminus you reach Navakawau Village which translates as `end of the road'. En route you will pass a blow hole where the sea has eroded a passage at the edge of the shoreline. A stop at Vatuwiri Farm costs extra but higly recommended.
Lake Tagimaucia is the most famous geographical landmark in Taveuni. Situated in an extinct volcanic crater, at a height of 832 meters, the lake is filled with floating masses of vegetation. It is also home to the indigenous tangimaucia flower which produces red blooms with white centers. The lake is reachable on foot but the hike is an arduous all day affair. Better to take a 4-wheel drive vehicle and view the lake from afar.
Bouma Falls and Lavena area (Ravilevu) Nature Reserves
Both these areas are nature reserves protected from logging and development of any manner. Bouma is located in Tavoro National Park about one hour's drive north of the hotel. The taxi will take you to a point just past the village of Bouma from which the falls are only a ten minute walk. Along some of the steeper grades there are step-like wooden levels with hand rails. Occasionally you must ford a creek but there is a rope to help navigate the rocks. There is an admission fee to the park and you'll need to hire a taxi. Your taxi can take up to five people so the trip can be quite reasonable if you have group.)
Lavena Village & Ravilevu Nature Reserve
This trip can be done in combination with Bouma Falls or separately. Past the falls turnoff you travel another 20 minutes along the road which brings you to one of the most picturesque villages on the island. This is the best beach on the island and is excellent for snorkeling. There is a five kilometer path that leads through the village vegetable gardens and along the pristine coastline. There are Fijian crafts for sale at the reception bure. (There is also an admission fee to the park.)
This adventure walk was the location of the second Blue Lagoon movie. The walk takes guests along a white sandy beach looking out and down on beautiful rock pools. You will ford two rivers and pass remote villages before ascending a river valley where the river produces two sensational waterfalls which cascade down at different angles. You can then slide down the waterfall or plunge into the rock pools from the walls.
This is an all day walk and an amazing adventure!
As mentioned above, birding is world class on Taveuni. Access to Des Voeux Peak, a prime habitat is minutes from the Waiyevo area. You can either walk or take a 4-wheel drive vehicle nearly to the top of the 1195 meter peak, which is the second highest on the island. Likewise, Qeleni, on the northern end of the island also affords excellent bird watching. To get there one must take a 4-wheel drive vehicle about five kilometers up a mountain road. Both locales offer the chance to see Orange Breasted Doves, Silktails, Ferntails and Parrots.
Scrambler Ocean kayaks are available from Bill Madden in Matei and from the Garden Island Resort. They are easy to maneuver and one need not be a tri-athlete to use them. However, it helps to be in good physical condition. They can be rented on an hourly basis.
For sport fishing lovers the resort's 25 foot speed boat and dive launch will take you to the offshore fishing grounds.
Golf & Tennis at Soqulu
A 15 minute drive south of the hotel is subdivision known as Soqulu Plantation or simply `Soqulu' (pronounced Song-goo-loo). In addition to a number of homes, 30 condos and a club house, there is a 9-hole golf course, two tennis courts (one asphalt and one grass) and a lawn bowls green. All of the outdoor facilities are open to the public but the club house and condos, hasve been shut down. The links are situated on a gorgeous coastal strip of land. Unfortunately the condition of the course is less than magnificent but nonetheless it's fun to play.