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Fiji

Main attractions

Navala, Fiji
Navala / Merbabu, / CC BY-SA 3.0

The tropical Fiji islands are interesting and very diverse. These islands are known as excellent dive and surf sites and as an exotic retreat – but there is much more than this. Among the most interesting landmarks of these islands are:

  • Ecosystems. Until recent times in Fiji islands lived 3 m long terrestrial crocodiles, enormous lizards and unusual, large flightless birds. Now they are extinct – but here still live giant beetles, centipedes and stick insects. More than 60% of plants of Fiji islands are found only here – including such beautiful plants as tagimaucia liana.
  • Archaeological heritage and legends. Archaeology of Fiji is diverse. There are monuments left by extinct cultures, but there are monuments which are part of living, exciting legends. Everyone here should obey to the taboo rules – even white people have learned this!

Natural landmarks

Cliff formations and ravines

Vatuni’epa - Pedestal Rocks
Vatuni’epa - Pedestal Rocks, Taveuni / Steve L. Martin, / CC BY 2.0
  • Haf’liua – Rotuma. A remote island, split by a narrow, 57 m deep cleft in two parts. Cleft can be passed by a boat. There is a boulder ledged in this cleft, high above the water. This remote, very hard to access island contains ancient graves.
  • Upper Navua Gorge – Central, Viti Levu. Amazing gorge, deeply cut in volcanic rocks. Gorge has up to 75 m tall walls with some 25 – 5 m wide stream in between. 50 – 100 waterfalls on both banks. River has endemic fish species.
  • Vatuni’epa (Pedestal Rocks) – Northern, Taveuni. Interesting cliff formations made by sea waves. Numerous cliffs here resemble mushrooms.
  • Vatu Vara – Eastern. A „hat island” – a small, forest covered island with a large limestone plateau in the middle, rising up to 305 m above the sea level. This plateau is surrounded by up to 60 m tall cliffs. Summit of plateau is rather flat, but with depressions, small lakes. This island is guyot – former atoll with a volcanic plug in the middle.

Waterfalls

  • Bouma Falls (Tavoro Falls) – Northern, Taveuni. Spectacular sequence of three waterfalls. Lower Bouma Falls are 24 m tall, Middle Bouma Falls – 15 m tall and Upper Bouma Falls – 10 m. Falls are located in a beautiful rainforest setting.
  • Savu Na Mate Laya Falls (Biausevu Waterfall) – Western, Viti Levu. Approximately 20 m tall waterfall, sliding down along a very steep cliff face.
  • Wainuta Falls – Central, Viti Levu. Beautiful, 30 m tall waterfall.

Ecosystems

Fiji Crested Iguana
Fiji Crested Iguana / Leszek Leszczynski, / CC BY 2.0
  • Dry tropical forest of Vunivia and Nasavu catchments – Northern, Vanua Levu. The last pristine stand of Fijian dry tropical forest, with multiple endemic species of plants.
  • Great White Wall – Northern, Taveuni, in Rainbow Reef. Amazing dive site – a wall covered with white soft coralls, reminds a snow covered mountain wall.
  • Lake Tagimaucia – Northern, Taveuni. Remote crater lake, located 832 m above the sea level. The best site to see the endemic tagimaucia liana (Medinilla waterhousei) with beautiful flowers.
  • Mount Koroturanga cloud forest – Northern, Taveuni. Unusual cloud forest with very stunted trees and shrubs, growing not higher than 3 m. Numerous endemic species of trees and other plants.
  • Tropical lowland forest of Sovi Basin – Central, Viti Levu. The largest undisturbed tropical forest (19,600 ha), located in enormous valley surrounded by volcanic peaks. Forest grows on granite rock base.
  • Yadua Taba – Northern. Small island, with pristine beach forest. Here lives the largest population of Fiji Crested Iguana (Brachylophus vitiensis) – beautiful, up to 76 cm long lizard. Some 6,000 of these lizards might be living here.

Fossil finds

Volia vitiensis - extinct terrestrial crocodile
Volia vitiensis - extinct terrestrial crocodile / Apokryltaros, / CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Volivoli Caves (Voli-Voli)– Central, Viti Levu. In these caves have been discovered remnants of extinct large reptiles – 1.5 m long iguana Lapitiguana impensa and up to 3 m long terrestrial crocodile Volia athollandersoni. Found also remnants of the large (nearly 1 m tall) megapod Megavitiornis altirostris and smaller Megapodius amissus. In The enormous iguana went extinct only after the coming of people some 3,000 years ago. Here were found remnants of an extinct giant dove Natunaornis gigoura similar to the dodo from Mascarene Islands.
  • Wainibuku Cave – Central, Viti Levu. A site where the remnants of a terrestrial crocodile Volia athollandersoni were found. This predator lived here some 10,000 years ago, but possibly – also later. Here were found remnants of other extinct large birds and reptiles of Fiji as well.

Other natural landmarks

  • Savusavu Hot springs (Nasavusavu springs) – Northern, Vanua Levu. Hot springs located at the seaside, some springs are seen only at low tide. Temperature of springs – up to 90° C. In earlier times these springs were used by locals to boil their food. In 1870ies for two months these springs turned into geysers, up to 12 – 18 m high.
  • Wailotua Cave – Central, Viti Levu. The longest known cave in Viti Levu, circa 1,500 m long. Guano of bats has been mined here.

Man made landmarks

Archaeological monuments

Vatulele petroglyphs
Vatulele petroglyphs / From "Some Rock Paintings in Fiji", R. W. Paine, 1929
  • Hatana Sacred Island – Rotuma. Island has a sacred grove with a stone setting – a burial site of the mythical founder of Rotuma – Raho. According to the legends his spirit still lives there. Stone setting consists of two boulders in the circle of 27 smaller stones as well as a flat stone – eating table. Visitors to the island should comply with diverse taboo rules, otherwise they can not leave the island until the angry spirits are pacified.
  • Kedekede hillfort (Kendi-Kendi) – Eastern, Lakeba Island. Large hillfort, built by islanders in 17th century AD. This fortification with its multiple terraces potentially could have more than 2,000 inhabitants. Fiji is rich with diverse fortifications.
  • Kī ne He’e – Rotuma, Malhaha district. Large, ancient ritual complex – a large stone and earth platform with causeways and mounds.
  • Nahehe Cave – Western, Viti Levu. Fortified cave which was used as a retreat of Fiji people during the times of invasion of Tongans. Hundreds of people lived in this cave for months. Cave contains interesting cultural artefacts – ritual platform, priest chambers.
  • Naitabale settlement (Naturuku) – Eastern, Moturiki. One of the earliest human settlements known in Fiji. This settlement of Lapita culture was inhabited already circa 1220 BC.
  • Nakauvadra Standing Stones and Narara Caves – Western, Viti Levu. A group of 13 standing stones set in a rough circle and caves with ancient petroglyphs.
  • Vatulele Island petroglyphs – Western, north-west of Vatulele. Beautiful ancient paintings on seaside cliffs, possibly left by the people of Lapita culture some 1000 BC.

Other man made landmarks

  • Fiji Government Palace – Central, Suva. Ornate government building, former presidential palace. Built in 1882, rebuilt in 1928 after a lightning strike.
  • Fiji Museum – Central, Suva. Largest collection of artefacts related to the history and culture of Fiji.
  • Navala – Western, Viti Leva. Beautiful traditional village with intact, authentic etnographic architecture.
  • Thurston Gardens – Central, Suva. Botanical gardens of Fidji, with beautiful palm avenues and garden architecture.

List of described attractions by provinces

Fiji is divided into four major divisions and dependancy - Rotuma:

Central
Eastern
Northern
ArrowSavusavu Hot springsThermal springs, Geysers
Western
Rotuma

Map of Fiji