As I write this I’m waiting in the “departure lounge” (hut) at Matei Airport on the Fijian garden island of Taveuni after a week staying at the Paradise Taveuni Resort for the last week. Apologies in advance for how long this is...
The transfer to the island of Taveuni from Viti Levu was pretty cool actually: first, a flight on a twin engine prop plane (Twin Otter) flying at around 2000ft gave us amazing views of the islands and reefs. The other occupants were a troop of Scandinavian blonde beauties on a group gap year trip.
The second part of our transfer was by road... reminding us a little bit of The Road to Hana experience on Maui: coastal road, bumpy and twisty in places, with wonderful views albeit somewhat obscured by the inclement weather. Along the way we came across a construction crew putting in some new drainage pipes.. hate to tell you fellas but, you left it a bit late (the rain was so torrential that the locals were lowering the covers on the bus windows).
We stayed in the Honeymoon Bure which had jaw-dropping ocean views, an outdoor tub (yes, there are pictures; no, we’re not posting them here), hot water and 24 hour power! Having spent the previous few days somewhere with limited power and no WiFi, the first we thing we did was turn on the air-con and pay for 7 days’ upgraded internet :-). Yeah, we’re really adapting well to the slower pace...
We took a trip to Bouma Falls which involved being driven around virtually the entire island; encountering many of our driver’s friends and relatives all passing with a “Bula” or a seemingly similarly friendly greeting.
After a picnic lunch there, we departed on a hike up to the falls that involved a rather shaky river-crossing using a rope and dexterous foot work. Happily we managed this twice without falling in (as not many before us apparently)!
Of course the GoPro we brought with us bust the night before diving so there is only a mental record of the sharks etc that we cannot share here.
Winston. What happens to a tropical resort when it gets destroyed by a category 5 cyclone? This was a question that Alan and Terri, owners of the resort, faced in February 2016 when Winston hit with full force and destroyed the resort. Their response to this existential life challenge was the #strongerthanwinston movement and an amazing rallying of staff and volunteers to rebuild the place in 3 months. Not even two years later and they are the #1 resort on TripAdvisor for the island of Taveuni. Based on our experience, that accolade is entirely well deserved. And it really is testament to what can be done when sheer force of will and rallying community is applied to a problem, not to mention, good leadership.
Kava. Our last night at Paradise Taveuni was Fiji Night. Special food, cooked in the ground, dancing and revelries and Kava. We all got to sport our “sulus”.. I’ve never worn a skirt before but I quite dug it and may have to turn up to a Scrum meeting at work wearing one.
In closing, we loved our time on Taveuni. I honestly can’t think of too many other places I’ve been that are better: wonderful location, food, people, top diving. Did I mention the people? We made some new friends and shared some new experiences.