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Taveuni is famous for shallow Lake Tagimaucia (Tangi-maw-thia), home of the rare tagimaucia flower bearing red blooms with white centers. Its sides ringed with mud flats and thick vegetation, the lake sits in the volcanic crater of Des Voeux Peak at more than 800m (2,700 ft.) altitude. It's a rare day when clouds don't shroud the peak.

The three-level Bouma Falls are among Fiji's finest and most accessible waterfalls, and the area around them is included in the Bouma National Heritage Park . Past Bouma at the end of the road, a sensational coastal hiking track begins at Lavena village and runs through the Ravilevu Nature Reserve.

By tradition, Taveuni's Somosomo village is one of Fiji's most "chiefly" villages; that is, its chief is one of the highest ranking in all of Fiji, and the big meetinghouse here is a prime gathering place of Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs. Although Somosomo has a modern Morris Hedstrom supermarket, the predominately Indo-Fijian Nagara village next door is the island's commercial center.

The administrative village of Waiyevo sits halfway down the west coast. A kilometer (1/2 mile) south, a brass plaque marks the 180th meridian of longitude, exactly halfway around the world from the zero meridian in Greenwich, England. In addition to the aptly named Meridian Cinema, the village of Wairiki sports the lovely Wairiki Catholic Mission, built in the 19th century to reward a French missionary for helping the locals defeat a band of invading Tongans. A painting of the battle hangs in the presbytery.

The main road is rough, slow-going gravel from Wairiki to Vuna Point on Taveuni's southeastern extremity. On the way it passes Taveuni Estates, a real-estate development with a 9-hole golf course (you, too, can own a piece of paradise).

Bouma National heritage Park

One attraction on everyone's list is Bouma National Heritage Park (tel. 888 0390) on Taveuni's northeastern end, 18km (11 miles) from the airstrip, 37km (23 miles) from Waiyevo. The government of New Zealand provided funds for the village of Bouma to build trails that lead to the three levels of Bouma Falls. It's a flat, 15-minute walk along an old road from the visitor center to the lower falls, which plunge some 180m (600 ft.) into a broad pool. From there, a trail climbs sharply to a lookout with a fine view of Qamea and as far offshore as the Kaibu and Naitoba islands east of Taveuni. The trail then enters a rainforest to a second set of falls, which are not as impressive as the lower cascade. Hikers ford slippery rocks across a swift-flowing creek while holding onto a rope. This 30-minute muddy climb can be made in shower sandals, but be careful of your footing. A more difficult track ascends to yet a third falls, but I've never followed it, and people who did have told me it isn't worth the effort.

Another trail, the Vidawa Rainforest Walk, leads to historic hill fortifications and more great views. Guides lead full-day treks through the rainforest, but you'll need to book at your hotel activities desk or call the park's visitor center (tel. 888 0390) at least a day in advance. The trek ends at Bouma Falls. The hikes cost F$60 (US$39/£20) for adults, F$40 (US$26/£13) for children 12 to 17.

The park is open daily from 8am to 5pm. Admission is F$8 (US$5.20/£2.70) per person without a guide, F$15 (US$9.75/£5) with a guide.

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.