Having only just returned from a South Pacific cruise where I spent an idyllic few days in Fiji, let me tell you, Fiji is so much more than beautiful beaches and island getaways.
Usually thought of as a beach destination, Fiji has so much more to offer. From the beautiful islanders and their traditional culture through to the little known and little visited Taveuni.
Step into the tropical rainforest of Taveuni
For those who love to hike, walking trails offer cool green canopies filled with the trilling sound of birdsong. Flights of colorful Kula Lorikeets dart amongst the vines and soar high into the sky, laughing as they go. Hidden waterfalls sparkle and dance over high precipices, plunging icy cold into ripple filled pools, perfect for swimming. Cross ravines and river valleys by rope and vine bridges that have serviced the local area for centuries (although most have been thankfully updated to modern standards). Across the valleys are glimpses of brilliant blue sea leading you to the sunshine of creamy white sand beaches fringed with swaying palms. It’s so quiet and peaceful, spiritual almost. It would be so easy to believe that you are the first to discover and explore this earthly paradise.
An eco-tourist’s dream
This Eden-like island is also surrounded by stunning coral reefs, a myriad of colorful fish and marine animals and arguably some of the world’s best unspoiled dive sites. The Somosomo Strait, Rainbow Reef, Eel Reef and the great White Wall are known for a proliferation of enchanting corals, and even a dive site called “the zoo”, known for multiple sightings of sea turtles, reef sharks, barracudas,, stingrays and more.
Also located at Taveuni is one of Fiji’s oldest protected Marine Parks that is managed by local villagers who are extremely passionate about their marine environment. Waitabu Marine Park was originally set up to protect native fishing grounds, and now offers tourists a glimpse through crystal clear waters into a natural wonderland.
Traditional Life and Local Culture
A visit to the nearby village is a must to experience total immersion into local life. The local villagers are so welcoming that you might be forgiven for thinking you are already part of the tribe! Be welcomed into the village by a sevusevu ceremony before sharing their knowledge of seasonal fruits and vegetables, fishing and farming through to schooling, new cooking methods and an insight into daily life for a Fijian. It’s an eye opener into days gone by, and an experience of the true essence of Fiji!
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