While Fiji is a popular country (although some mistake it as a place in Japan), not many of its 322 islands are known by people around the world. They are difficult to pronounce and spell out, but they offer the best beaches and vacation spots that could not be found elsewhere in the world. Among Fiji’s many regions or groups of islands, one of the often visited is the Kadavu Islands.
The main island in the group is the island of Kadavu, the fourth largest island in Fiji. It is located about 90 kilometers to the south of Viti Levu, the largest island where the capital city of Savu and Nadi International Airport are located. Kadavu has its own airport, school, hospital and government station. There are about 10,000 local Fijians living here. The surrounding islands that make up Kadavu Group are Ono, Galoa, and a number of tiny islands beautifully situated in the Great Astrolabe Reef.
The Great Astrolabe Reef covers the entire length of Kadavu and Ono islands, and is in fact one of the biggest reefs in the world. Its unique natural formation creates deep channels and shallow, naturally protected lagoons. The reef is home to manta rays, sharks, tunas, snappers, and other interesting marine creatures, which make it a top draw for expert divers from all over the world. It has warm water all year round and a major thoroughfare for the large fishes in southwestern Pacific Ocean. The visibility underwater is a satisfying 25 meters but could go as far as 40 meters on clear, windless days.
Other than this amazing reef, the island of Kadavu is a leading Fijian tourist attraction for its mountains, forests, and landscape. The highest peak is the 822-meter high Mount Nabukeleu, also referred to as Mount Washington, located on the western end of the island.
Kadavu is also home to a wide virgin rainforest that reaches to the sea and is the natural habitat of four rare bird species endemic to the island. They are the Velvet Dove, Crimson Shining-Parrot, Kadavu Honeyeater and Kadavu Fantail, as well as the Island Thrush subspecies.
Another thing that attracts Foreigners to Kadavu is that it is yet to be reached by modern development, giving it a feel of the unknown. Tourists love the adventure, although most parts of the island are inaccessible since there are only a few roads. The locals depend on subsistence farming as their main source of income. There are no banks or any modern facilities or structures. There are only a handful of inexpensive resorts, but with direct access to all the dive and snorkeling sites.
The Kadavu Islands are some of the most rugged areas in Fiji. The ruggedness and underdevelopment of the area actually adds to its appeal. Popular island activities here in addition to snorkeling and scuba diving are eco tours, sea-kayaking, game fishing, surfing, bird-watching, trekking and visits to the cultural villages Tourists get to the islands by small boats or ferries from Nadi. It is definitely a must to see Kadavu Islands when vacationing in Fiji.