Taveuni, a popular resort island in Fiji, certainly deserves the moniker of “The Garden Isle”. The shield volcano island has half the endemic bird life in Fiji, contains brilliant Bouma National Heritage Park and countless rainforest waterfalls.
Taveuni is home to just over 12,000 people, the vast majority of whom are native Fijians, and ranks third in island size behind Vanua Levu and Viti Levu in the archipelago nation. While the local economy is heavily reliant on crops such as coconut, taro and vanilla, recent strides in tourism, with a slew of new resorts on the attractive coast, have given Taveuni a shot in the arm.
Bouma National Heritage Park is the exotic milestone par excellence in Taveuni and indeed, Fiji. The park protects close to 80% of the island, flush with dense rainforest foliage and unusual wildlife.
The heritage site is a success story, with equal credit to both the diverse native community of Taveuni and conservation groups. Once under threat of deforestation, Bouma admission profits now benefit island residents with myriad development initiatives and sustain park fauna and flora.
World famous Rainbow Reef is another tale of triumph, at least for now. The coral habitats of Fiji are notorious among marine biologists for the amount of abuse the take every year from the rise in sea temperatures. Spectacular Rainbow Reef, despite the demise of other reef systems, endures for the time being.
Mount Uluigalau, second in height among Fiji mountains, is the most visible natural attraction on the island of Taveuni. The resorts that line the coast offer rainforest treks that scale the mountain, although road access is available from a Mission near the area of Wairiki. The summit offers phenomenal views of Lake Tagimoucia, Somosomo Straits, bird and plant life, as well as other islands in the distance. Early in the day is the best time to climb the peak, as clouds and mist tend to settle in the afternoon.
For nature lovers, Taveuni is a paradise. You can pass your time on the beach of course, but with such rich and exotic island geography, why would you?
Most tours of Taveuni fuse cultural and natural attractions. Guides are readily available and proficient in the layout of the island. Locals are more than happy to point out endemic wildlife, unusual flora and illustrate village customs and traditions.
Those who want to scuba among coral reefs, snorkel in the beautiful Somosomo Straits, hike through lush rainforests and relax in volcanic springs are in for a treat on Taveuni Island.
In August and September Taveuni celebrates a National Hibiscus Festival.
Taveuni is no different from the rest of Fiji when it comes to weather and climate. November to April is the period of rainfall and possible cyclones, while the rest of the year, with more balmy conditions, is more popular with tourists. Temperatures vary between 20°C and 32°C throughout most of the year.
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