Bula! (Welcome in Fijian) Taveuni is a lush tropical island in the northern region of Fiji. Known in the colonial days for its prodigious coconut plantations, today Taveuni is a landmark for divers. Beneath the surface of the sea lies an incredible ecosystem that rivals the rich biodiversity found on land. Fed by nutrients that emerge from the depths of the Tongan trench, Taveuni is world famous for its multitude of reef fish and soft corals. The trademark or signature species in the area, it is the soft coral, which billows and undulates in the currents. The soft corals comes in dramatic, often electric hues of orange, red, pink, and white-fringed by purple.
Best Diving Destinations in Taveuni
Aqua-Trek, Taveuni dives the Somosomo Strait, a narrow waterway located between Taveuni and Vanua Levu. Along the southeast shore of Vanua Levu you will find a barrier reef continually fed by microorganisms washed in by the currents which are driven by the narrowing of the funnel-like strait. Protruding into the strait from the Vanua Levu side is the magnificent Rainbow Reef. Here you can find one of the most famous dive sites in the South Pacific, the Great White Wall. A tunnel in the reef leads to a breathtaking drop-off and a wall covered in stunning white soft coral. There are a number of other world-class dive sites located throughout the area like Annie’s Bommie, a large coral head covered in soft coral of every color. With the current flowing, this site is aglow like an underwater Christmas tree and the density of the fish life has to be seen to be believed. The Zoo is the place to see the South Pacific’s bigger marine creatures like barracuda, white tip reef sharks and bronze whalers and, on those special days, spotted eagle and manta rays. Other famous sites are the Blue Ribbon Eel Reef and the Ledge. The diving is on patch reefs in the Somosomo Strait that are fairly shallow (10-22m/30-70ft) but have challenging tidal currents. At the fringing reef section on the southeast corner of Vanua Levu it is wall diving with deeper profiles. Drift dives are done when site and tides are favorable.
Stay at the comfortable Garden Island Resort and dive with Gold Palm PADI 5 star Aqua-trek.
The Garden Island Resort has 30 rooms, each with air-con, fans, refrigerator, mosquito screens, coffee/tea making facilities and their own patio or upstairs verandah overlooking the sea. The resort is surrounded by a beautiful garden with a volleyball court and some beautiful old flame trees. The setting is quite tropical and peaceful and the sunsets over the Somosomo Strait are stunning. There is no beach but a pleasant pool and a restaurant bar area overlooking the Strait and beyond. Don’t forget to order your dinner in the afternoon!
The dive shop Aqua-Trek is located on the property and owns and operates the Garden Island Resort. Aqua-trek operates two practical 28-foot (8.6m) diveboats. The boats depart at 8am for daily 2-tank dives and arrives back at the resort at around 1pm, in time for lunch. A surface interval is usually enjoyed at one of the pretty lagoons surrounding the reef and snacks of cookies and fruit are provided. Afternoon or night dives can not be booked in advance and are only held if four or more people are interested.
The Garden Island Resort is situated on the northwest coast of Taveuni, which happens to be directly offshore from the Somosomo Strait. The distance of the sites ranges from 10 to 20 minutes by boat. A typical dive involves mooring, briefing, descent down a line, and a guided tour. Drift dives are done when site and tides are favorable.
Guest’s equipment is loaded, assembled, checked by the dive staff prior to their arrival in the morning. At the end of the dive trip all gear is rinsed, disinfected, aired and stored at the dive center. Nitrox facilities are available and photographers will enjoy having E6 processing on site as well as dedicated rinse tanks. Film can be bought and there are Sea & Sea cameras for rent. A small retail sales section offers diving accessories and souvenirs….
When to Visit Taveuni
There are two distinct seasons: the wetter summer (Nov-April) and a dryer winter (May-Oct). Summer water temperatures lie in the 27-30°C (79-84°F) and 2-3 mm short suits will suffice. Winter water temperatures are in the 24-27°C (75-78°F) range, 3-5 mm wetsuits will be needed.
Getting to Taveuni
By Air: Fiji can be easily reached by Air Pacific from the US, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Fiji’s International airport is located in Nadi on the main island of Viti Levu. From Nadi, a variety of Fijian domestic carriers provide daily service to smaller islands. Diveglobal highly recommends Sunflower Air, running daily flights to most of the outer islands. The flights are beautiful, especially for divers as you get an excellent panorama of the coral reefs. Flights are usually twice a day, early morning and mid-morning. If you arrive after that and need to spend the night to wait for the next flight, we recommend the Toka Toka Hotel, just across the street from the airport.
By Road: The Garden Island Resort will pick you up at the airport by request. The resort is only a half an hour from the airport by a very scenic coastal road. We often spotted large pods of dolphins in the Strait!