Waterfalls & Waterslides on The Garden Island

Taveuni Rainforest Fiji

The Garden Island

Taveuni Island, Fiji

I was unprepared for just how beautiful Taveuni island would be. A mountainous landscape covered by tropical rainforest and plenty of hidden waterfalls to explore.

Nicknamed “The Garden Island” due to the incredible amount of vegetation you’ll find there, Taveuni is the 3rd largest of Fiji’s 300+ islands. Compared to others it has very little development.

A majority of Taveuni’s flora & fauna are protected by two nature preserves and a national park.

Visiting is usually accomplished in a small propeller plane, and doing so allows you to see Fiji’s numerous colorful islands from the air. This is a worthwhile experience in itself. Taveuni’s Matei Airport is just a shack with a few benches under a roof acting as a terminal.

Local Kids Fiji

Fijian Kids on Taveuni

Local Villages

The indigenous population of Taveuni survives by growing coconut, kava, breadfruit, cassava, vanilla, and coffee on small plots of family land to feed themselves and earn an income.

Villages are made up of small wooden homes with metal roofs. Sometimes corrugated metal is used to build the whole structure.

Clothelines hang outside each dwelling — although with all the rain and humidity the island gets, it must take days to dry anything this way.

Roads on Taveuni are rough and muddy. In some places streams & small rivers were flowing right over them. We passed local kids who enthusiastically waved as our 4×4 van crawled it’s way to the Eastern end of the island to visit the national park.

House Tavueni Fiji

Simple House in Korovou Village

Bouma National Park

In addition to farming small plots of land, tourism is also an increasing source of income for local residents of Taveuni. Nearby villages share revenues from the entry fee that tourists pay for a visit Bouma National Park in order to trek to it’s hidden jungle waterfalls.

Joined by my friends JD, Lesley, Ryan, Stephanie, and our guide Atu, we entered the park and began marching up a wide path of thick grass absolutely teeming with frogs. They hopped out from under our feet in the drizzling rain. :)

Small patches of taro grew on steep inclines next to the trail. If you’ve never heard of taro, it’s an important root crop with large heart-shaped leaves and reddish stems commonly grown on Pacific islands.

After cooking it to remove toxins, you can eat it’s roots and leaves. Island nations have been surviving on it for hundreds of years.

Taro grows well on Taveuni, and 80% of Fiji’s supply comes from the island.

Bouma Waterfall Fiji

Famous Bouma Waterfall

Waterfall Hike

The rainforest landscape in Bouma National Park is a feast for the eyes & ears. Vibrant red ginger flowers stand out in stark contrast to the copious amounts of green.

Exotic island birds like the orange dove, wood pigeon, and Taveuni parrot serenaded us as we marched.

A series of beautiful waterfalls can be reached while hiking in Bouma National Park. The first one is called Bouma falls, and it’s probably Fiji’s most famous waterfall. It’s quite impressive at 24 meters (78 ft.) tall.

We stopped here for 30 minutes to take a dip in the refreshing Tavoro river water. But I’m not happy until I can find something to jump from…

Tavueni Waterfalls Fiji

Waterfall Number Two

Wet & Slippery Trails

Fortunately you can climb the rocks behind the Bouma waterfall and leap off a 5 meter (15 ft.) cliff into the pool below. The loud pillar of cascading water creates a cloud of mist that helped cool us off.

For the next leg of the hike we climbed higher into the mountains while looking back at fantastic views of the ocean, nearby Qamea Island, and local villages down in the valley. The trail got progressively steeper, muddier, and narrower as we pushed on to the second waterfall.

A fork in the trail took us down a very slippery path that led to the 2nd waterfall. We jumped in for another swim of course!

Purple freshwater crabs scurried over the rocks.

Natural Water Slide Fiji

Tell Me This Doesn’t Look Fun?

Waitavala Waterslide

Rather than continue on to the 3rd waterfall, we decided to leave Bouma and visit a natural waterslide located on another section of the island. The Waitavala river is a favorite local hangout for Fijian kids.

We’re all just a bunch of big kids as well, so we had to check it out.

Basically it’s a 50 meter (150 ft.) section of river with small waterfalls and smooth rock chutes that you can slide down like a waterslide. And it’s fast! There are even banked turns on this thing.

The local kids are pros, they were actually barefoot surfing down sections of it standing up!

As for the rest of us, we left with plenty of bruises. But it was incredibly fun nonetheless. ★

Watch Video: Natural Waterslide

(Click to watch Waitavala Waterslide: Fiji on YouTube)

What About You?

Do you like swimming at waterfalls? Ever been on a natural river waterslide?

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Details & Information:

Location/Map: Taveuni, Fiji
Cost: $8 US (park entry fee)
Accommodation: Garden Island Resort
Useful Notes: It’s also possible to visit Taveuni by overnight ferry from the capital city of Suva. You can find more details here.[/message]

*This journey was made possible with help from Tourism Fiji. However, as you probably know by now, all opinions & thoughts are my own. Learn More..

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Comments & Questions

  • http://twotravelingtwits.wordpress.com Terri Smart

    I was wondering if you were eating out of your pack or sampling some of the local food while in the Fiji area?

    • http://ExpertVagabond.com Matthew Karsten

      Always sampling the local food Terri. :) My favorite in Fiji was Kokoda, raw fish salad. Cassava (Yuca) is another good one, similar to potatoes. But better in my opinion.

  • Tracy Z

    I’ve never done either but you look like you’re loving it! Fiji also looks beautiful.

    • http://ExpertVagabond.com Matthew Karsten

      It is Tracy! And with so many different islands to explore, it will keep you very busy.

  • Mom

    WOW! What a gorgeous spot! LOVE the video-you are a crazy man!!!

    • http://ExpertVagabond.com Matthew Karsten

      A tropical paradise for sure.

  • http://wonderfulwanderings.com Sofie

    Love the video!
    And wow that water rush was narrow! You were probably bruised all over afterwards?
    The colors in the pictures are amazing though.
    That’s what real green looks like.

  • http://travelshus.com Annie of TravelShus

    gorgeous photos. Sometimes you forget how beautiful the inland areas of these islands are since there is so much hype is about the water and beaches.

    • http://ExpertVagabond.com Matthew Karsten

      Exactly Annie. I was happy to experience the interior, as all the photos I’d ever seen of Fiji were near the beaches. The beaches are great — but there is so much more to that country.

  • http://www.acceleratedstall.com Maria

    Green, so very green – what a great treat for my eyes.
    Whoa – gotta go and watch that video one more time! C ya

    • http://ExpertVagabond.com Matthew Karsten

      Glad you liked the video Maria. I felt the same about the slide, had to slide down it just one more time. I think I was holding everyone else up. :)

  • Trish and Shawn

    Fun video, you make us laugh, just livin the dream aren’t you. Of course we are jealous but loving watching the adventure. Those waterfalls way need to go on the list, looks like a must see.

    • http://ExpertVagabond.com Matthew Karsten

      It doesn’t get fresher than Fiji water! ;)

  • http://www.baconismagic.ca Ayngelina

    I love the video, it’s so cute.

  • http://www.thinkdan.co.uk Daniel Williams

    You’ve got an amazing blog here Matthew and the best job in the world. I’ve tried something similar to this in Wales, its called canyoning / gorge walking there. Needless to say the conditions are a lot colder but its a great laugh.http://blueocean-adventure.co.uk/canyoning/

    • http://ExpertVagabond.com Matthew Karsten

      Hi Daniel! Thanks for sharing. I’ve done some canyoning in Quebec actually too, where you repel down the waterfalls. It’s a lot of fun!

  • Janeth Gomez

    I love your always very informative photo essays. Matthew, I was wondering-because I see how perfectly elaborated your stories are..photos and story- if keep with your a writing pad to gather information or if that’s something you research later, once the experience is over. Do you usually have an idea ahead of time of what you wish for your photo essay to look like or do they elaborate them based on each experience? The photos, information and structure of each one are always awesome!

    • http://ExpertVagabond.com Matthew Karsten

      Good question Janeth. It’s a combination of both. I take notes on my iphone using an app called Evernote while I’m traveling. I can also use it to record audio notes, interview someone, or snap quick photos just for memory purposes. Very handy for organizing my thoughts and recalling details later.

      Then I’ll do additional research while actually writing the post. :D

      • Janeth Gomez

        Thanks for the info, Matthew. Funny, I downloaded Evernote along with Gogobot a few weeks ago but have never used them. Now I see what a helpful app Evernote actually is. Are you familiar with Gogobot? If so, do you find it helpful?

        I have a few more questions: When you travel, do you follow any kind of schedule or do you just go with the flow of things? Are there days you have assigned to work on your stories or do you simply work on them whenever you’re free? Do you keep yourself constantly busy traveling or are there days, when you chill and enjoy the surroundings like locals do? How do you sustain your stay in Thailand? Can you do like in the U.S. day labor and work or just volunteer? Thanks I’m just curious. :)

  • janeth

    I just watch the video-couldn’t from work- great experience, wow! was the bottom smooth? I would have been scared to scrape my skin. Awesome video! Thanks for sharing!!

  • http://www.beyondblighty.com Arianwen

    This really looks like my kind of place. I love throwing myself off big rocks!

    • http://ExpertVagabond.com Matthew Karsten

      Jumping from things makes every waterfall more fun Arianwen!

  • http://alwaystrekking.com Natalia | Always Trekking

    That water slide looks like a lot of fun. It also looks like it could cause a lot of pain!

  • http://www.tammyandchrisonthemove.blogspot.com TammyOnTheMove

    Ha ha, the natural waterslide looks awesome! Didn’t have Fiji down as being so lush and green. Looks like a great destination for outdoor lovers.

  • http://etramping.com Agness

    Stunning place, the waterfall is massive! Would love to experience the water slide. Looks like a great fun!

  • http://www.greenglobaltravel.com Nicole @ Green Global Travel

    Great video! I was in Fiji many years ago but I didn’t come across a waterslide, although I wish I had; this looks like so much fun!

  • http://escape38.com Escape 38 Hours

    WHAT!?!? Is that waterslide completely natural? Nature is an engineering genius among other things. :D

  • Christine Coghill

    It seems Taveuni is becoming known to the world. It is unique in many ways and I hope it won’t be spoiled to tourism

  • dani

    hi, how many days do you spend on Taveuni Island? do you see the entire island?