Travel Guide to Bouma National Park, Fiji Islands
Bouma National Heritage Park
An hour by dirt road from Matei Airport on Taveuni Island is the northern boundary of Bouma National Heritage Park which encompasses almost a third of Taveuni’s landmass, extending along most of the east coast and up into the high mountains protecting the hardwood rainforest within its boundaries. The only access into Bouma National Heritage Park is from the north via Matei. The only accommodation in the park is Lavena Lodge on the beachfront at Lavena Village. There are four organised attractions to visit within the park.
Waitabu Marine Park
Waitabu Marine Park offers guided snorkelling and bilibili trips around the lagoon from Waitabu Village. There’s a pleasant beach here.
Vidawa Rainforest Hike
The Vidawa Rainforest Hike is an excellent full day hike through the tropical rainforest offers a fantastic insight into Fijian lifestyle. The lower hills are the villagers’ back gardens where dalo, yams and bele are cultivated, whilst the pristine upper forests harbour plants and barks with rare medicinal value. Golden Whistlers, Silk Tails, Red Shining Parrots and Blue Crested Broadbills are most commonly seen here. The tour culminates at the first Tavoro Waterfall.
The most popular of the four adventures in the Park is Tavoro Waterfalls, a collection of three waterfalls connected by a well maintained trail. The self-guided walk starts from Bouma Village where the Tavoro Visitor Centre (t%888 0390) and a ten minute stroll leads to the first of the three waterfalls, arguably the most picturesque and without doubt the most fun for splashing around. Staggered boulders on the left side of the pool lead to a five metre high rock ledge which cuts in behind the cascading water - if you summon up the courage, you can throw yourself through the waterfall and into the deep pool beneath.
The walk to the second falls is the prettiest, starting with a ten-minute steep and puffy climb helped along by wooden steps and a crushed coral path. From the top there’s a sweeping view over Thurston Point towards Qamea Island. The track heads into light forest, passing a delightful grove of palm ferns and crosses the source river with large boulders to hop across and a rope for hanging on to. Another ten minutes on through increasingly dense forest brings you to the photogenic thirty metre high second falls with a wide sprayed plummet and a natural swimming pool at the bottom surrounded by large volcanic boulders.
The third waterfall offers the most demanding hiking and can be too slippery to walk after heavy rain. The trail starts thirty metres downstream from the second fall, and ascends a steep bank on the far side of the stream into thick forest. It takes another thirty minutes of hiking to reach and although the falls are only ten metres high you’re likely to have them to yourself.
Lavena Coastal Walk
The pretty beach at Lavena marks the start of an easy coastal walk to a forest waterfall with sublime views along the way. This is one of the nicest walks in Fiji. Very basic accommodation is available at Lavena Lodge and it's definitely worth staying here for one night to enjoy the sublime sunsets and make an early morning start on the coastal walk. Meals can be pre-arranged from one of the villagers or you can use the lodge's kitchen facilities.
The first forty minutes walk from Lavena is a flat coastal amble with wonderful views, passing a black sand beach and a lagoon littered with rocky pedestals resembling giant mushrooms. After meandering around several bluffs and over a suspension bridge, a gradual ascent inland under a light forest canopy ends at a tranquil waterfall hidden beyond a narrow gorge.
Another way to explore the Lavena section of the park is on the guided kayak tour. Experienced guides from the village will accompany you on the one-hour paddle south from Lavena where you’ll get a great perspective of the coastline before trekking inland to Wainibau Falls for lunch. The guides will tow your kayak back to Lavena Village allowing you to return along the coastal walk.