The majority of Taveuni's accommodations are near the airstrip at Matei, on the island's northeastern corner. A few small planes arrive and depart about 9:30am and again about 2:30pm, so it's not as if you're sleeping under the flight path of an international airport. I like to stay at Matei because I can walk to the airstrip-area hotels and restaurants in no more than 20 minutes. Other accommodations are in Waiyvo village, about halfway along Taveuni's northern coast, and near Vuda Point, on the southeastern end. Vuda Piont is at least an hour's drive from the airstrip.
Resorts on Matagi & Qamea Islands -- The northern end of Taveuni gives way to a chain of small, rugged islands that are as beautiful as any in Fiji; especially gorgeous are Matagi and Qamea. Their steep, jungle-clad hills drop to rocky shorelines in most places, but here and there little shelves of land and narrow valleys are bordered by beautiful beaches. The sheltered waters between the islands cover colorful reefs, making the area a hotbed for scuba diving and snorkeling. It's unfortunate that geography places them at the end of my coverage of Fiji, for they are home to two of my favorite resorts, both of which are beside two of Fiji's best beaches.
Another project (currently underway at press time) should be worth checking out after it opens in late 2008: Aqua Club Beach Retreat (www.aquaclubfiji.com), on the northern shore of Qamea. Plans call for luxury tented accommodations, like on safari in Africa.
Several expatriate landowners on Taveuni rent out their own homes when they're away, or they have cottages on their properties to let.
One owner who did not move here from someplace else is Fiji-born May Goulding, who has two cottages at Todranisiga, her property south of the airstrip. The land slopes through coconut palms from the road down to the top of a seaside cliff, from where her planter-style bungalows look out over the Somosomo Strait. One of them has an alfresco shower -- and I do mean alfresco, since nothing blocks you from the view, or the view from you! Or you can wash off in a claw-foot tub sitting on the lawn. You'll spend most of your time out on the porches enjoying the breeze, taking in the view, and perhaps cooking a light meal on the gas camp stove. May charges F$155 (US$101/£52) for a double. She does not accept credit cards. Contact her at Postal Agency, Matei, Taveuni (tel. 888 0680; firstname.lastname@example.org).
Two others cottages with views are at American Roberta Davis's Makaira By the Sea (tel. 888 0686; www.fijibeachfrontatmakaira.com), sitting above a cliff with a 180-degree view down over Prince Charles Beach and the sea (notwithstanding the website address, this is not a beachfront property). Built of pine, the cottages have queen-size beds, kitchens, porches, and both indoor and outdoor showers. Tramontu Bar & Grill is across the road. Roberta charges F$125 to F$165 (US$81-US$107/£42-£55) per double, with discounts for longer stays. She does not accept credit cards.
Less charming but also with the same view as Makaira By the Sea is the one cottage at Karin's Garden (tel. 888 0511; www.karinsgardenfiji.com), which Peter and Karin Uwe rent for US$185 (£93) per night. It's near the airstrip.
American Scott Suit has one cottage at his Little Dolphin Treehouse (tel. 888 0130; www.littledolphinontaveuni.com). It's in the middle of his lawn across the road from the lagoon east of the airstrip. The shoreline consists of stones to prevent erosion from reaching the road, but someone has built stairs across this breakwater so you can go swimming. Scott's upstairs living quarters have a fine view of the lagoon, and you can see the offshore islands from the front porch; but you must go outside to reach the downstairs bathroom (with hot-water shower). Scott charges F$100 (US$65/£33) a night but does not accept credit cards.
Campers who like to sleep by the sea can find a beautiful (if not insect-free) site at Bill Madden's Beverly Campground (tel. 888 0326 or 888 0684), on Beverly Beach about 1.5km (1 mile) south of the airstrip. Maravu Resort's beach is next door to one side, and Jewel Bubbles dive base is on the other. Monstrous trees completely shade the sites and hang over portions of the lagoon-lapped shore. The campground has flushing toilets, cold-water showers, and a rudimentary beachside kitchen. Rates are F$10 (US$6.50/£3.30) per person if you bring your own tent, or F$20 (US$13/£6.70) if you rent one of theirs. A bed in the forgettable dorm costs F$20 (US$13/£6.70).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.