A visit to Fiji is incomplete without a trip to a beautiful rainforest and waterfalls. Fiji is a wonderland for lush, tropical, natural beauty. There are numerous waterfalls scattered throughout the 300+ islands. Ask your resort reception staff for recommendations on the closest waterfall tour as most of the resorts have a local that takes tourists to their village and the community waterfall.
‘Fiji Time’ is a common excuse for locals when someone is running late. Everything moves at a very slow pace around the islands so be prepared and expect delays. In some instances, transport is delayed in other cases, locals sit down for a chat with their buddies before commencing with work. If you are a stickler for time, you will easily become annoyed and not enjoy your trip, just go with the flow!
Most often than not, the local tour operators will tell you that the hike to the waterfalls is ‘very short’ but in reality, it could fall anywhere between 30 minutes to 4 hours! The locals are used to the treks and often find them quite short whereas for a beginner, it can be quite a tiresome return trip. The terrain through the forests can be quite unsafe especially when there has been rainfall. Correct footwear is essential and should be waterproof as you may be crossing quite a few creeks. Heat exhaustion is also a major concern as the weather is almost always humid, being a tropical country. Wear breathable clothing and take a spare change with you to avoid discomfort after swimming or slipping into a creek. Carrying clean water with you is also extremely vital as is sunscreen and a hat. Mosquitoes can also cause a nuisance so applying repellants periodically will prevent any discomfort caused by these pesky insects.
A traditional Fijian kava ceremony or ‘sevusevu’ is held at every Fijian village you visit. If you travel with a tour guide, they will explain the process to you. You may have to purchase kava (which can be quite expensive) and present it to the chief of the village and partake in the kava ceremony. In some cases, where the hike does not involve a village but is privately owned or organised by a tour operator (check with your resorts first), you will be taken straight to the hiking area. If you are unsure, always ask staff at your accommodation and they will be more than happy to help you.
Navola Falls – Coral Coast
If you are situated on the Coral Coast, near Sigatoka (Warkwick, Novotel, Fijian Resort) on Viti Levu, you can take a taxi down to the Beach House Resort and book a day trip to Navola Falls. The journey to the falls takes about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on your pace and fitness but the entire round trip could take about 4 hours – including trekking, swimming and picnic. The terrain can be a bit rough especially if it has rained, so proper footwear is essential (although, the tour guide may be wearing a pair of flip flops (thongs) in true Fijian fashion). Take with you some water, snacks and wear comfortable clothing as well as sunscreen and a change of clothes. The tour guides are a lot of fun, they will show you the amazing flora and fauna and their uses in traditional Fijian medicine and fishing practises. At the end of your hike, you will be greeted by a beautiful, rocky waterfall with cool, pristine waters. You can climb the rocky facade and have your tour guide take pictures for you. After your swim, you can opt to eat food prepared by the local villagers using organic chickens or vegetables if you’re vegan. The return trip will take another 45 minutes to an hour – depending on how exhausted you are after your swim.
Biausevu Falls – Coral Coast
Another hidden gem is the beautiful Biausevu falls, also situated on the Coral Coast on the main island of Viti Levu. You can enquire and book a day trip with your hotel and they will be able to organise the tour for you. The drive to the waterfall is breathtaking, among the natural lush trees and mountainous terrain, but it is on unsealed road so can become quite bumpy. Once you get to the village, you will be greeted by the locals and taken in for the traditional kava ceremony. Be sure to bring with you a sarong to wrap around your hips if you are a female. Shorts, bikini or pants should not be worn for the traditional ceremony as it is seen as disrespectful. If you are offered kava, do not decline the offer, it is also considered rude. Once the ceremony is over, you can wear whatever you are comfortable with. The hike to the waterfalls takes roughly 20 minutes as you cross numerous creeks. You can choose to go on horseback too for an extra cost. The waterfall will greet you at the end of the walk and a beautiful picnic area is set out for you to enjoy.
Sleeping Giant Falls – Sabeto, Nadi
Situated conveniently in Nadi, the Sleeping Giant Falls is one of the most action packed day trips you can have on the island of Viti Levu. A tour can easily be organised with your hotel, and it is a short drive through greenery to the beautifully built up swimming and picnic area. The waterfall can be heard as you get closer to it, but a loud roaring stream can be mistaken for the waterfall at many intervals through the trek. The waterfall sits at the bottom of a steep set of stairs that can be quite exhausting to climb on the return, especially after swimming under the gushing water.
At reception, you can choose to partake in the Zipline activities or take a small hike through the rainforest to the waterfalls. The trek is quite short but can be strenuous as the are some steep areas, especially climbing to the zipline posts. If you choose to use the zipline (which is a lot of fun!) you can return to the main reception area, after your swim, via the zipline! The main area has been built to accommodate swimming and a calm picnic. You can eat, relax, take photos and return to your hotel via a transfer bus or book in a taxi with reception to the nearby Garden of the Sleeping Giant. It is a lush botanical garden which houses numerous local flora and fauna in a relaxing tropical environment.