The hotels and resorts will arrange all of Taveuni's outdoor activities, although you should book at least a day in advance.
Two charter boats will take you in search of big game fish offshore: American John Llanes's Makaira Charters (tel. 888 0686; firstname.lastname@example.org) and New Zealander Geoffrey Amos's Matei Game Fishing (tel. 888 0371). They charge about US$325 (£163) for half a day, US$525 (£263) for a full day for up to four fishers. Call for reservations, which are required.
The real-estate development known as Taveuni Estates, about 7km (4 1/3 miles) southeast of the 180th Meridian, has a scenic 9-hole golf course skirting the island's eastern shore. Reserve at the clubhouse (tel. 888 0044), which serves lunch and has a bar. The greens fee is F$40 (US$26/£13), including clubs and a pizza.
In addition to the short walks in the Bouma National Heritage Park , three other treks are worth making, depending on the weather. The relatively dry (and cooler) season from May to September is the best time to explore Taveuni on foot.
Best of all is the Lavena Coastal Walk. It follows a well-worn, easy to follow trail from the end of the road past the park for 5km (3 miles), then climbs to Wainibau Falls. The last 20 minutes or so of this track are spent walking up a creek bed, and you'll have to swim through a rock-lined canyon to reach the falls (stay to the left, out of the current). The creek water is safe to drink, but bring your own bottled water if you want to be on the safe side. You can do it on your own, but it's much more rewarding to go with a Bouma National Heritage Park guide for F$60 (US$39/£20) adults, F$40 (US$26/£13) children 12 to 17, including the F$12 (US$7.80/£4) per person admission you would otherwise have to pay to the village and walking track. Positioned on a peninsula, Lavena village has one of Taveuni's best beaches and a lodge where hikers can overnight for F$25 (US$16/£8.30) per person (tel. 923 9080; ask for Maria).
An alternative to walking is to ride a boat along this spectacular coast with Lavena Coastal Tour (tel. 920 5834). This half-day excursion costs F$50 (US$32/£17) per person and includes a picnic lunch at a waterfall. If the sea is calm, you may get to see Savulevu Yavonu Falls, which plunge precipitously into the sea.
High in the center of the island, a rough road leads to the top of Des Voeux Peak and Lake Tagimaucia, home of the famous flower that blooms from the end of September to the end of December. This crater lake is surrounded by mud flats and filled with floating vegetation. Beginning at Somosomo village, the hike to the lake takes about 8 hours round-trip. The trail is often muddy and slippery, and -- given the usual cloud cover hanging over the mountains by midmorning -- you're not likely to see much when you reach the top. Only hikers who are in shape should make this full-day trek. You must pay a F$25 (US$16/£8.30) per person "custom fee" to visit the lake, which includes a guide -- an absolute necessity. Your hotel will make the arrangements. An alternative is to take a four-wheel-drive vehicle up Des Voeux Peak for a look down at the lake. The drive is best done early in the morning, when the mountain is least likely to be shrouded in clouds.
Maravu Plantation Beach Resort & Spa (tel. 888 0555) has horseback riding along a trail leading to the resort's wedding chapel on a ridge with views of both sides of Taveuni. Vatuwiri Farm Resort (tel. 888 0316; www.vatuwirifiji.com) also has horses.
Paradise Taveuni (tel. 888 0125; www.paradiseinfiji.com) has jet-skiing expeditions across the Somosomo Strait to Vanua Levu, a 45-minute ride each way. These cost F$400 (US$260/£133) per person, including lunch. Reserve at least 2 days in advance.
It's great fun to kayak to the three little rocky islets off the north shore, near the airstrip. You can land on the islands for a bring-your-own picnic. Coconut Grove Beachfront Cottages & Restaurant (tel. 888 0328), opposite the airstrip, rents two-person ocean kayaks for F$35 (US$23/£12) per half day, F$55 (US$36/£18) per full day. Owner Ronna Goldstein will prepare a picnic lunch with advance notice.
You can also rent kayaks and outrigger canoes from Little Dolphin, in Matei east of the airport (tel. 888 0130; www.littledolphinontaveuni.com), for F$25 (US$16/£8.30) per day. It's across the main road from the lagoon.
The swift currents of the Somosomo Strait feed the soft corals on the Rainbow Reef and its White Wall between Taveuni and Vanua Levu, making this one of the world's most colorful and famous scuba-diving sites. As a diver I met said, "It's like when you buy a pack of coloring pencils, except there aren't enough colors."
The Rainbow Reef and its Great White Wall are only 6.4km (4 miles) off Waiyevo, so the Garden Island Resort is the closest dive base, a 20-minute boat ride across the Somosomo Strait. The U.S. firm Aqua-Trek (tel. 800/541-4334 or 888 0286; www.aquatrek.com) manages the resort and has its dive base here. This five-star PADI operation has full equipment rental, NITROX, and teaches courses from beginner to dive master. Aqua-Trek's prices start at F$165 (US$107/£55) for a two-dive excursion.
With offices at Taveuni Estates and Wairiki, Carl Fox's Taveuni Dive (tel. 866/217-3438 or 888 0063; www.taveunidive.com) also is within reach of the Rainbow Reef. Carl charges US$95 (£48) for a two-tank dive.
At Matei on the northern end of Taveuni are Fijian-owned Jewel Bubble Divers (tel. 888 2080; www.jeweldivers.com) and Unibokoi Divers (tel. 888 0560; www.tovutovu.com).
Based at Paradise Taveuni on the island's southeastern end, Pro Dive Taveuni (tel. 888 0125; www.paradiseinfiji.com) specializes in diving the Vuna Lagoon, which has fewer soft corals but bigger fish.
All operators charge about F$120 (US$78/£40) for a one-tank dive.
It All Depends on the Tides -- Because of the strong currents in the Somosomo Strait, dives on Taveuni's most famous sites must be timed according to the tides. You can't count on making the dives you would like if the tides are wrong when you're here. A very good friend of mine spent 10 days on Matangi and Qamea islands and never did get out to the Rainbow Reef.
Snorkeling & Swimming
If they aren't too busy with serious divers, most of the scuba operators will take snorkelers along. For example, Aqua-Trek at the Garden Island Resort has snorkeling trips to Korolevu, a rocky islet off Waiyevo (be careful out there because the currents can be very strong). The company will even take you snorkeling out to the Rainbow Reef, but book these trips well in advance.
You can also snorkel from a Fijian bilibili (bamboo raft) over the Waitabu Marine Park (tel. 888 0451), a preserved reef that is part of Bouma National Heritage Park. These half-day bilibili ventures cost F$40 (US$26/£13) per scuba diver for four or more, F$20 (US$13/£6.70) per person for snorkeling only.
Some of the best do-it-yourself snorkeling is at the foot of the cliff off Tramontu Bar & Grill, and in the three little rocky islets off the north shore, near the airstrip (provided kelp from the nearby seaweed farms isn't drifting by). Also good for both snorkeling and swimming are Prince Charles Beach, Valaca Beach, and the lovely, tree-draped Beverly Beach, all south of the airstrip.
A fun outing is to Waitavaia Sliding Rocks, near Waiyevo (no phone), where you can literally slide over the rocks down a freshwater cascade. Be prepared to get a few bruises! The rocks are off the side road leading to Waitavala Estates, and admission is free.
Beware of "Jaws" -- Ancient legend says that Taveuni's paramount chief is Fiji's highest ranking because sharks protect the island from enemies. True or not, shark attacks have occurred here. So be careful when you're swimming and snorkeling in the Somosomo Strait, and don't under any circumstances swim out to the edge of the reef. Swim and snorkel between 9am and 3pm to minimize the risk of a dangerous encounter.
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.