Towards the Northernmost part of Fiji lies Taveuni - an island which has almost 150 volcanic cones and surrounded by dense forest and native flora. Described as the Garden Island of Fiji, Taveuni has become a haven for naturalists, retirees and adventure seekers.
Away from the hustle and bustle of the mainstream life in the urban centre, Taveuni has become a mecca for naturalists, pleasure seekers and for retirees. However, it is also offers a great opportunity for owning your own slice of heaven either by buying free hold land or taking a long term lease for your home, vacation house or even opening up business on the island.
Overview of Taveuni
Taveuni is located in the Northern part of Fiji and is the third largest island in the country. It is located near the end of the Koro Sea and is separated from Vanua Levu by the Somosomo strait. Somosomo strait is also known as the “Soft coral capital of the World”
The island is around 9 miles wide and 42 km long and is a dormant volcano. The last eruption was in 1550 and the ash from that eruption has seen Taveuni have one of the most fertile land in the whole of Fiji. Taveuni has eight villages Somosomo, Bouma, Weilagi, Vidawa, Lavena, Navakawau, Naselesele and Tavuki with a total of four settlements namely Matei, Waiyevo, Wairiki and Salialevu.
Taveuni has made its way to various international trip advisors, magazines and has even been ranked highly for the various natural wonders it has on offer such as:
This flower is endemic to the rainforests of Taveuni. Legend says that the flowers were the result of the tears shed by a Fijian Princess who ran away into the forests after her father arranged her marriage. It is believed that she fell asleep while crying and her tears turned into the Tagimoucia flower. “Tagi” in the local vernacular means to cry while “moce” means sleep.
Mountains and Lakes
Close to 2000m above sea level is Fiji’s second highest peak - Uluigalua. This mountain peak dominates the Taveuni skyline and is also home to a volcanic crater that forms Lake Tagimoucia which is home to the famous Tagimoucia flower.Also on the island is Des Voeux Peak which reaches up to 1195 m in height.
International Date Line:
Deep in Bouma’s National Heritage Park is the International Date Line. Taveuni is one of the few places in the world where you can stand on the 180 degree meridian of Longitude where it can be Sunday on side of the line and the other is Monday. The date line is marked by a big sign with a map of the island. There's a gap that you can stand between, so that you can be on both sides at once.
Two natural reserves are on the island namely Ravilevu Nature Reserve and Taveuni Forest Reserve which covers around 80% of the land on the island. This was undertaken to protect the island’s dense natural forest with plans to have them listed as a World Heritage Site.
Taveuni is famous for its natural water slides and the various waterfalls. The Tavoro Waterfalls or Bouma waterfalls have become an attraction for hikers so too has the Vidawa rainforest hike with the most exciting being the Waitavala water slide - a narrow passage between the rocks which will see hikers glide through and straight into a pool at the base - this is where some scenes from the 1980 romantic adventure The Blue Lagoon was shot.
Another natural wonder is the Vuna blowholes which is a row of blowholes as a result of water from the Vuna Reef crashing against the island’s stoney coastline and water rushing into the small crevices and shooting upto 50 metres into the air. This sees the sprouting water turn into a misty white veil.
Known formerly as Somosomo, Taveuni was first sighted by Abel Tasman in 1643. Historically, Taveuni is owned and controlled by two tribal chiefdoms or Tikina - Na Tikina Makawa o Vuna nd Somosomo. The Tui Cakau is the paramount chief of the Province of Cakaudrove which Taveuni falls under. His residence is in Somosomo and thus these two villages have traditional chiefly roles.
Taveuni was once well known for it copra and ttil today, this is still one of its contribution to the local economy however in recent years, many farmers have turned to other crops such as yaqona/kava, dalo, tropical fruits as as well as coffee and vanilla. In recent times, tourism has taken front row which has seen small resorts opening up on the island and providing employment and business opportunities for many locals.
Taveuni has a typical highland climate. The island experiences cyclonic systems between November to April however throughout most of the year, 10m of rain has been recorded for the Eastern parts of the island whilst the Western side is mostly sheltered.
The majority of Taveuni’s population is concentrated on the Western side of the island with Naqara being the the main commercial centre. Taveuni has the main hospital located in Waiyevo and also has nursing stations around the island. The main Police station is located in Waiyevo as well with similar smaller Police posts around the country.
Taveuni Island Airport is found on the northern part of island in matei and receives flights from Fiji Link from Nadi and Suva as well as other small aviation companies. The airport has recently been upgraded to a paved runway. Taveuni also has most Government bodies or offices on the island as well as banking agencies and supermarkets.
The main road follows the coastline and is paved from Matei to Wairiki while the rest of the way, the road is gravel. Taxi service is provided on the island as well as bus service which runs three times a day from Monday through to Sunday.
Types of properties
Fiji has three types of land ownership which is freehold, native or state owned. Non residents are able to buy freehold land and a major advantage to this land type is that there is no timeframe as in the other land types. Only 8% of all land in Fiji is freehold and this is one of the fast selling property types. Majority of the land in Fiji is Native land and in order to lease this, you would have to go through the regulatory authority - the Itaukei Land Trust Board. The next type of land use is State owned land which is 4% and inorder to lease this, you will have to go through the Ministry of Lands and Mineral resources.