🖐 In this travel guide we’ll share all our experience travelling to the remote island of Taveuni, Fiji. If this is your first time on Dronemade, we're a community of drone pilots around the world and thus like to share our travel experiences and how we see things from up there. Give a 👍 at the end of this post & feel free to share your experience or any updates you might have in the Fiji Discussion Group. Keep in mind that the content below is updated to the best of our knowledge & does not replace official sources & your research.
Taveuni is the third largest island of the Fijian archipelago, locals nicknamed it the "Garden of Fiji". We all imagine Fiji being a tropical paradise, but Taveuni is a step above with palm trees and wildlife beyond imagination. Taveuni is only accessible by boat (from Suva & Savusavu) or plane (from Nadi or Suva). This paradise island is home to several hikes, and natural wonders as well as a vibrant and friendly community which will gladly share their stories with you should you take time to listen to them.
But before digging into the Taveuni's wonders and places to be, we've put together a little video of Fiji for you to enjoy and picture yourself there.. "🎬🍿 It's movie time! "
Where is it exactly & how to get to Taveuni Island?
Depending on your transportation choices, you will either need a couple of hours or two entire days to reach the promised island. Your international flight is most likely to land in Nadi, which is also the starting point for your adventure.
🛫 By plane: Nadi and Suva are the only two airports connecting Taveuni's small one runway. Flight operate once daily from Nadi and 4 times a week from Suva by the national air carrier; Fiji Airways. The flight is operated by a small 20 seats propelled air-plane and last for about an hour. Make sure to seat on the right side of the plane to have the best views of the island. Make sure to book early as prices vary greatly but will start at:
from Nadi: US$200 (return)
from Suva: US$175 (return)
Today's exchange rate
💡 If choosing the plane, we recommend you do a two one way (Nadi > Taveuni and then Taveuni > Suva) so you get a chance to visit more of the country. You can complete your return from Suva to Nadi by bus going along Fiji's Coral Coast.
🚌 By bus and boat: you will need to catch a public bus running from Nadi's central bus station to Suva seaport. Buses drive fast but the journey will still take 5 hours to complete for a cheap US$10. Buses depart every hour of the day (from 7 am) except between 12 - 2 pm when lunch time hits drivers' stomachs. Once arrived at Suva's seaport, you will need to catch the only ferry to complete your journey; the glorious Lomaiviti Princess operated by Goundar Shipping. The ferry leaves Suva every Monday and Friday at 6 pm (boarding time at 4 pm) and arrives the following day at 1 pm in Taveuni. Depending on what fare your purchase it will cost you:
US$60 for economy class (return), this class does not offer allocated indoor seats neither A/C however it is the best place to meet locals and share travel stories. If you want to charge your electronics, it will cost you US$1 and you will need to trust staff.
US$90 for first class (return), this class will include an A/C room with a chair for you to rest. It also has a couple of movies playing on and some tables to play cards or charge your electronics.
🚨 Do not wait last minute to purchase your tickets here and try to go at least a couple of hours ahead, the earliest your have it the best as it will sell out over public holidays and festivities. You can contact Groundar Shipping by phone (+679 330 1035)
💡 If choosing the ferry option, you can make a stopover in Savusavu for 3/4 days (until next ferry passes) to explore Rainbow Reef and Vanua Levu Island.
What to do in Taveuni Island?
The Garden of Fiji is a place for relaxation and outdoor adventures. The island is packed with natural wonders and a couple of small villages with welcoming communities. The biggest town is Somosomo where you will find basics to cook, fix and dress yourself if needed. There is only one bus line going from Lavena to Navakawau twice a day, so make sure you know its timetable or get ready to hitchhike your way...
The best hike is also the hardest, climbing to the summit of Mount Uluigalau is one of the most rewarding things you can do on the island. Allow a good 7 h return to complete and plenty of water as you will not find any shops along the way. The hike starts from Wairiki town where you will have to follow the only dirt road going towards the mountain. Starting from sea level, you will be climbing the 1,241 m in tropical conditions so make sure to check the weather ahead as it can get quite rough in no time.
The mountain also welcomes Pacific's rarest plant, the Tagimoucia. Mount Uluigalau is the only known place where it grows as temperatures can drop to 10C overnight which is quite unusual in this part of the world. Here's a little video about the adventure (but please don't pick the flowers as they did, they are so precious..).
🚙 A couple of tour operators can drive you up if you do not wish to climb. This is a on demand service and price will vary based on how many passengers come along but expect about US$125 for a private ride. You should be able to get more information from your accommodation (we climbed..).
We mean, you're on an island.. what else would you do! The waters are safe and generally calm with plenty of beach space for you and your loved ones to enjoy. Coral reefs are only a few meters away so don't forget your snorkel gear. Another great option for you to go and swim is to head to Tavoro Falls on the East side if the island, next to Lavena town. The falls are a short walk from the main road. You can reach them with a car, or by catching one of the two daily buses running on the unique road. If you're staying in Lavena, you can make it a day walk but take plenty of water and food with you.
Meet Locals !
Fijians are among the friendliest people you will ever encounter. Naturally chill and positive thinkers, you will find in them joy and a genuine commitment to share their knowledge and resources. Here are a few places you will find them doing their thing:
the beach at sunset; many kids head there after school to have a little fun and compete against each other with harmless games.
the church on Sunday mornings; quite religious, you will find most Fijians at the church on Sunday mornings dressed with bright colours and singing as one. Just after the ceremony, have a stop at the village market.
the markets; happening early mornings in Somosomo but the biggest one happens on Sundays, just after the church's ceremony.
Travel in time!
Taveuni is one of the three only places on Earth you can actually travel in time. The island, along with the Russian Eastern Peninsula and Antarctica is located on the 180th Meridian line (also called antimeridian).
The line is the World's International Date Line where West is today and East is yesterday, stand above it and you're "now". Don't get it? We neither at the beginning but to put into context; if you step on West side of the line at lets say 8 am on the 21/02/20, it will be 8 am of the 20/02/20 on the East side of this line. Now Taveuni, like all of Fiji runs on a unique timezone and this is only symbolic but cool enough to get a photo like this one..
💡 You will find it near the Meridian line location, an old theatre that can easily be added to your "travel in time" journey. Taveuni used to accommodate a cinema (180 Meridian Cinema) back in 1951 projecting 16mm movies for locals. Today, it remains one of the longest standing buildings of its type in the Pacific. You will find it near the Meridian line location so it can easily be added to your "travel in time" journey.
The establishment was closed a while ago but there is a small gift shop open next to it. The theatre remains an important landmark and has been featured in several movies or documentaries such as:
“Bringing Down The House”
“Apocalypse Now Redux”
Where to stay & eat in Taveuni?
🚪 There are several options, being so remote, it is mostly a high end destination with a few high end accommodation options. Interestingly, a 5 star resort that went bankrupt, reconverted to now welcome family friendly and solo traveller budgets who don't mind sharing a room being the most affordable accommodation on the island.
If budget isn't a concern during your stay, then Taveuni Island Resort And Spa is the place to be. With an almost perfect guest score, you will be treated like a king in this luxurious and scenic palace. On the other end, Maravu Taveuni Lodge offers a more affordable alternative by being the only dorm available to book online for the island. Beware that the internet there isn't the best and you will feel truly disconnected.
If none of these suit you or are available, don't be too sad, there are a myriad of other accommodation offers just next to these and most seem quite decent too. We found them using our hotel price comparative tool to make sure we booked at the best price.
🍴 There aren't plenty of options for you on the island unless you have a car to move around and get to Somosomo where you will find a few take aways and a couple of restaurants. Most options outside of town will be on the North West Coast (near the airport), a little gem called Tramonto is located just above the ocean and offers a wide selection of dishes for you to enjoy. If you're after something lighter, then The Dive Cafe is the place to be.
Can I fly my drone in Taveuni?
🚨 Be aware of the airline you purchase to travel as some main ones will only accept your drone on-board if its batteries are detached & placed in a firecase during travel time. Most airlines will have a battery voltage limit based on the recommendation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). You can find more info about a specific airline here.
✅ Taveuni is mostly safe for you to fly your drone but make sure to stay 3 km away from Matei Airport located on the Northern tip of the island. If you wish to shoot for commercial purposes, Fiji drone rules require you to register your drone ahead of arriving in the country. Finally, not an official rule but consider locals and other visitors; Taveuni is a luxurious destination which some couples might choose for their honeymoon or private time aside. Please respect others' and their privacy and avoid flying near hotels and villages.
✅ If you wish to learn all about Fijian drone laws, check out our Fiji drone rules and laws guide anytime. Note that these can evolve within months and its always a good thing to double check upon departure.
What to think of Taveuni Island?
Well we don't like to write this part of the story so we've put together some of our coolest pics. If you don't feel like seeing them before heading there, we get it and won't be sad.
✅ Please leave a comment or update the Fiji Discussion Group when you receive news and/or gain experience in Taveuni! Have fun over there and make a lot of good memories! #taveuni #island #fiji #travel #experience #outdoor #adventure
Disclaimer: Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information researched, we take no responsibility for any loss, harm or damage caused as a direct or indirect consequence of relying on this information. It is your responsibility to seek advice from qualified local & relevant authorities for needed information about local drone rules and regulations.
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