Kadavu

Travel Guide Oceania Melanesia Fiji Kadavu

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Introduction

Kadavu, with an area of 411 square kilometres, is the fourth largest island in Fiji, and the largest island in the Kadavu Group, a volcanic archipelago consisting of Kadavu, Ono, Galoa and a number of smaller islands in the Great Astrolabe Reef. Its main administrative centre is Vunisea, which has an airport, a high school, a hospital, and a government station, on the Namalata Isthmus where the island is almost cut in two. Suva, Fiji's capital, lies 88 kilometres to the north of Kadavu. The population of the island province was 10,167 at the most recent census in 2007.
Kadavu Island belongs to Kadavu Province.

Kadavu has undergone very little development; it offers limited transportation and there are few if any surface roads that go through the island. The current system of transportation includes a system of boat taxis and ferries. Neither are there any dining out destinations, only some resorts. Most resorts have a relationship with neighboring villages that will allow one to sample traditional Fijian food during village tours, hikes or Meke nights. Kadavu totally integrates the wildlife, the locals and the tourism industry and is one of the leading places in the world for the promotion of environmental conservation and sustainable tourism.

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Geography

The island is 60 kilometres long, with a width varying from 365 metres to 8 kilometres. The island is almost sliced in two at the narrow Namalata Isthmus, which separates Namalata Bay on the northern coast from Galoa Harbour on the southern coast. Within Galoa Harbour lie Galoa Island and the tiny islet of Tawadromu. Kadavu is characterized by its rugged and mountainous terrain. The tallest mountain is Nabukelevu, also known as Mount Washington, which stands at 805 metres high, on the western end of the island.

Kadavu still has 75% of its original rainforest cover and a rich bird diversity, including four species endemic to the island, the velvet dove, the crimson shining-parrot, the Kadavu honeyeater and the Kadavu fantail, in addition to several endemic subspecies (such as a subspecies of the island thrush). Offshore, stringing around the south, east and then away to the north, is the Great Astrolabe Reef, a large barrier reef that is one of Fiji's premier scuba diving resorts.

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Cities

The main city in Kadavu is Vunisea, which hosts an air strip, hospital, post office and police station.

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Sights and Activities

Some of the natural resources of Kadavu include mountainous jungles and waterfalls, bays fringed by coral reefs and a mangrove forest that provides a habitat to a host of wildlife and birds, including the Kadavu musk parrot. Kadavu’s seemingly untouched and natural state makes it a good remote vacation destination.

Kadavu’s rich wild life and natural resources allow for a wide range of activities to partake in on the island. Kadavu is known for being the ultimate diving site. Popular diving sites are the Naigoro Passage which is a massive marine reserve. Also the Manta Reef which inhabits the Manta rays, the Soso Passage where it offers the largest underwater coral garden and lastly the Nacomoto Passage which is home to the eagle rays and cabbage coral. Other activities include visiting the waterfalls, bird watching, eco-experiences, sea kayaking, whale and dolphin watching, trekking, snorkeling and surfing.

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Events and Festivals

  • Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna Day is celebrated every year on the last Monday of May. It commemorates Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna, a hero in the First World War, who was honored with France’s highest military award. He is considered the father of modern Fiji.
  • Christmas in the tropics is an experience in itself. Visit one of the Christmas Eve carol services to enjoy some fine Fijian singing.
  • Honoring the Founder of Modern Fiji Festival - The last Monday in May is a commemoration to the Father of Modern Fiji, Ratu Sir Lala Sakuna. The festivities last for an entire week, with many different towns and cities celebrating in their own way. The event concludes with a presidential speech relating to Fijian unity, and the statue of Ratu Sir Lala Sakuna is polished by locals.
  • Diwali Festival - Due to Fiji’s large Indian population, the Diwali Festival is one of the main events held on the islands. Celebrated in the month of October, Diwali (which is also known as the Festival of Lights) is characterized by fantastic light shows, traditional firecracker displays, and plenty of night-time fun. It isn’t just the Indian population that gets into the swing of things, as all cultures love any excuse to party.

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Weather

Fiji enjoys a mild tropical climate with year-round temperatures around 25 °C with a generally high humidity. Average highs range from around 26 °C in July and August to around 30 °C from Decembert to April. Lows are between 20 °C and 23 °C. May to October is Fiji's dry season, also known as the "Fiji Winter". The weather is slightly cooler and less rainfall and humidity make it a good time of the year to visit. From December to April, Fiji gets a lot of rain and many places get up to 3,000 mm or more a year!

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Getting There and Around

The ferry service for Kadavu takes guests from Suva to Vunisea or from Vunisea to any other place on the island of Kadavu. These ferries do not only hold guest, live stock freight and goods are being carried aboard the ferries as well. The ferries are not constant and do not run all the time and other forms of transportation may need to be provided beyond the ferries. Sea planes allow a more personal expereince of Fiji and Kadavu because of the flexibility it offers.

Within the island most resorts offer guest with Tour Guides or Locals that can takes patrons to the major attractions of the island. Since the road systems are underdeveloped most will experience Kadavu by foot. Trekking excursions offer a one on one experience with nature and a way to experience Fiji like the Fijians. To move from area to are one will other take kayaking trips or use a ferry service. Most travel is done with long boats made from fibreglass, using Yamaha motors.

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Language

In Fiji the islanders speak Fijian, an Austronesian language that was established by the 1997 constitution as the official language of Fiji. Some other languages spoken in Fiji and Kadavu are English and Hindustani. Standard Fijian is based on the language Bau which is associated with eastern Fiji. In Kadavu and other parts of Fiji different dialects have formed differentiating the areas of the island.

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Sleep

The Island only has a handful of resorts to choose from: Matava Resort, Tiliva Resort, Papageno Resort, Waisalima Beach Resort and Dive Center, Mai Dive Astrolabe Reef Resort and Nagigia Island Resort. The Matava Resort is located in the southern island group which is totally devoted to sustainable tourism. The Tiliva Resort is located near the Astrolabe and Solo Reefs which allow tourist to be closer to the beaches and water activities. Papageno Resort has 350 acres of land for their Resort and remote feel for guest, on Papageno guest are able to see the volcanic mountains and beaches. Waisalima Beach Resort and Dive Center offer a more aquatic experience and caters to the needs and wants of the guest. The Waisalima Beach Resort is remote, isolated and tranquil. Mai Dive Astrolabe Reef Resort is located beach front and is a colonial style living rather than traditional Fijian bures. The Mai offers a more modern feel to Kadavu than other Resorts. Lastly the Nagigia Island Resort (pronounced “Na-Neen-Ya”), Nagigia Island is named after the Senagigia flower that is unique to Nagigia Island. Nagigia offers 10 separate ’bures’ (Fijian style cottages) poised over the waters edge with great sea views. Each of the resorts promoto the same attraction and have similar activities. The accommodations for Kadavu are solely based on how the guest would like to experience the island and what of feel they would like to have in the Resort they are staying at.

Matava

On the remote and magnificent island of Kadavu, Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort boasts secluded splendor which also satisfying ones craving for adventure and exploration. Bordered by the Great Astrolabe Reef Matava is a small and intimate getaway. Matava is designed to blend with the natural environment of Fiji and all it has to offer. Traditional Fijian bures are located in the Kadavu rainforest and are set around lush tropical surroundings. Matava accommodates up to 22 guests at one time and offer privacy, comfort and superb ocean views. Each guest will experience and amazing Kadavu experience which will be true to Fijian culture and customs. PADI Certified, Matava offers a unique diving experience and is located only a few minutes away from the Great Astrolabe Reef, Matava offers the perfect environment to scuba dive in Fiji, snorkel, surf, fish, kayak with opportunities to trek, visit villages, bird watch or simply relax and unwind.

Matava is an eco-hideaway designed to cause minimal impact on the environment and to promote conservation awareness within the local community. Matava is the genuine eco-adventure lodge, beautifully set off the beaten track which allows for privacy and isolation. The intimate resort has beautiful, comfortable rooms, outstanding cuisine and offers a full range of adventure and cultural activities that makes it the premiere resort on Kadavu.

Matava will cost you about the same as a five-star hotel. Your level of comfort will be similar to the middle ages. You will experience the absence of many basic services and necessities as part of the eco experience. Many basic comforts such as fan in your room, insect proofing bures, night lights, electricity after 5PM are missing at this resort. You are expected to be happy with cold showers, mud beaches and spiders in your room. After staying at Matava, I have developed a fear of the term "eco". It means poor service and having to put up with third world standards while paying exorbitant prices. If you ask for basic needs and comforts to be accommodated, you will probably be told that "NO, we are an eco resort! We do not provide that." (e.g., powerpoints in your room, cold water to drink, proper coffee).

The diving here is good. However, the locals live off the reefs and hunt them regularly. The large fish have been speared and the remaining fish are wary of divers.

On a positive note, the food is very good, the Fijian staff are excellent, the views are great, the diving operation is well run.

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This is version 5. Last edited at 10:16 on Aug 30, 18 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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