My one land excursion on Tavenui Island was the day long Lavena Coastal Walk, plus a few other stops. It took over an hour to get to the start of the walk, just because of the road situation. The walk itself is pretty easy. It is only 5 km each way (3.1 miles) and the trail follows the forest right on the shore of the white sand Lavena beach, followed by a black sand beach, and then the trail turns inland along a river and ends in a delightful pool with two waterfalls. Most of the trail is pretty flat with minimal hills, so basic fitness is all that requires to complete this walk.
The trail can be walked the entire way, or there is also an option (not on my excursion, but possible if you do it on your own) to sea kayak to Lavena Point and then hike up to the waterfalls. The day I went, the weather was overcast and cloudy, and part of the day had some driving rain. It wasn’t cold at all, but I was only concerned about getting my camera wet. I wasn’t worried about my clothes, which is a benefit of wearing moisture wicking clothes.
The trail is pretty well marked, and it is rather hard to get lost. You follow along the beach trail, which also skirts a local village. Then you cross a suspension bridge and follow the trail up the river. We made a brief pit stop hoping the rain would clear up just enough to not get our electronics soaked and then we continued. The trail was a bit wet from all the rain, but it is out here you really get an appreciation of just how lush and green Tavenui island really is. The rain may put a bit of a damper on your day, but without the rain, you wouldn’t be marveling at the green forest around you.
Once we got close to the end of the trail, it went up a short rocky hill and came down by a changing area and picnic table. The trail completely ends close to the entrance of an enclosed pool. To get up close and personal to the pool, you have to scramble over the rocks and then eventually swim all the way in. I hadn’t really realized this (I missed that part when I read about this walk), so I didn’t bring a swimsuit with me, but I really didn’t care about getting my clothes wet, because they dried fast. So basically I just got into the water and swam all the way in.
The water was cool and refreshing and got rather deep the closer to the pool we got. Then once you get past the narrow entrance, you enter a large, deep pool that has two waterfalls plunging into it. It was fun to just swim around and enjoy, but the smaller waterfall also serves as a natural water slide. I eventually got up the courage (thanks to a fellow single woman traveler, Terra) to ascend the rock wall to the top of the waterfall. It’s not like it was a very long way, but the trip up had very narrow footholds and was obviously wet, so I was afraid I would slip and fall (as I am liable to do, because I can be very clumsy at times). But our excellent and STRONG travel guide helped pull us to the top.
Looking down into the pool, I could see how the waterfall would push you all the way out and down into the pool below. I was a bit nervous, because our guide cautioned us that we had to sit just right and slide the right way or you could get hurt. But I womanned up and did it. The ride is only a few seconds, but it is thrilling to slide down a natural waterfall and then be pushed out into the pool. After splashing around for a while enjoying the views, we knew we had to return, because we had more sights to see and the day was getting shorter.
Our second stop was at the Tavoro Waterfall. There are actually three waterfalls on site, but we only went to the first waterfall, because we were short on time, and the second and third waterfalls take some time and effort to get to. The walk to the first waterfall is flat and easy along a lush path with beautiful local flora. The first waterfall was beautiful and we couldn’t NOT get into the water and swim a bit. but we still had one more stop before heading back to the resort.
Our final stop was the International Dateline. Yes, the REAL International Dateline, and I mean the 180 degree meridan. Sure the official dateline skirts all of Fiji, because you can imagine the havoc it would cause to have part of a country split by literally 24 hours. But when you look at the longitude, the line actually cuts through Tavenui (one of only about five places on land the 180 degree meridan crosses), and the spot marking it is near the town of Waiyevo with a big wooden map that shows the two sides of the dateline. Because we had spent so much time at the waterfalls, by the time we got to the International Dateline, the sun was setting, but it was light enough to enjoy for a bit, before heading back to the resort.
If you are on Tavenui, all of these excursions are highly recommended. Unless you are traveling independently (and that it is not THAT easy on Tavenui due to the road situation, and how isolated some of the towns are), most resorts should offer excursions like the Lavena Coastal Walk. It is definitely a fun time and a way to see the lush greenery and understand why Tavenui Island is nicknamed the “Garden Island.” Though I recommend you either wear a swimsuit under your clothes (or change when you get on site), or wear clothes that can get wet and dry easily.