Fiji's Northern Islands
Vanua Levu and Taveuni, respectively Fiji’s second and third largest islands, along with dozens of smaller outer islands are commonly referred to as Fiji’s “North”. It is here you will find some of the Fiji’s best known luxury resorts – Qamea, Taveuni, Matangi, Namale and many more.
The island group sits northeast of Viti Levu across the strait known as Bligh Water. The body of water was so named after the historic captain Bligh who was being chased by Fijian war canoes as he travelled between the islands, a short time after the Bounty mutiny.
The topography of these islands is remarkably different from the Mamanucas or Yasawas. Here are verdant rainforests with hidden lakes, waterfalls and tall mountain ranges that are an adventurers’ playground. Aside from the staple root crops that flourish in the rich volcanic soil, coffee beans, vanilla, cocoa (for chocolate), coconuts, sweet pineapples and a potent form of kava (called “waka”) are grown.
Savusavu, a funky town of 2,000 on the southeast side of the island is the site of the nearby airport and starting point for your vacation experience. Even if you’re staying at one of the island’s resorts, a trip into town for shopping or dinner is fun. Savusavu’s large protected harbor is a stop for yachts cruising the Pacific. And J. Hunter & Co. has started a pearl business in Fiji based here. We can arrange tours of the facility, as well as trips to the pearl beds in the harbor. The North is also renowned for it’s prolific amount of diving sites that are within easy reach of the resorts.
Resorts in the North do appeal more to the North American traveller because of their boutique nature and level of service. The upmarket Koro Sun Resort and Rainforest Spa along with the chic Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort and posh Namale Fiji Resort and Spa are centered around Savusavu. All of these resorts can arrange adventure and cultural experiences around the island for their guests.
Natewa Bay, distinguished as the largest bay in the South Pacific, is on the south side of the island and has unique “dolphin calling” trips. The Great Sea Reef rings the entire northern side of the island and is the largest such continuous reef in the world. The private Nukubati Island Resort is located on it’s own small island just off the coast.
Located only 5 miles across the Somosomo Strait is Taveuni, the “Garden Island of Fiji “ - so called because of it’s abundance of flora and fauna. The national flower of Fiji, the vivid red and white tagimaucia (pronounced tang-e-moth-ea) only grows on the mountain slopes here. This cigar shaped island is a mere 25 miles long and 9 miles wide, yet is the third largest in Fiji. Des Voeux peak, at almost 3,600 ft., is the highest in Fiji (accessible by 4-wheel drive) and the panoramic views at either sunrise or sunset are spectacular.
Matei Airport sits at the northern apex of the island near to the fashionable, Taveuni Palms Resort and the posh bures and villas of the luxury Taveuni Island Resort. Midway, down the western side of the island is the Garden Island Resort. The resort, noted for its scuba operation, sits right on the shores of the Somosomo Strait and the 20-mile long Rainbow Reef. Just nearby is the GPS marker for the true dateline (180th meridian) that bisects Fiji at this point. Near the southwest corner of the island is the lush, 10-bure Paradise Taveuni Resort.
Almost every visitor to Taveuni ventures over to the eastern side for a visit to Bouma National Heritage Park. It’s an easy 15-minute walk to swim in the tidal pool at the base of the 60 ft. Tavoro Falls. Those feeling more energetic can hike to the two upper falls.
Off-shore from Taveuni sit three islands, each with it’s own luxury resort. Qamea, a couple of miles from Taveuni is the 12th largest island in Fiji. Just on the western shores sits Qamea Resort & Spa. The 17 bures and villas are complimented by a spa set in the rainforest. Sharing the barrier reef with Qamea, is Laucala Island. The island is now the most exclusive in Fiji with 25 luxury residences. Matangi Private Island Resort occupies the entire 140-acres of this family owned, horse-shaped island and has Fiji’s only 3 luxury tree-house bures.