Located in Abaca Lautoka in the island of Viti Levu, the Koroyanitu National Heritage Park is an important nature reserve that is also a leading tourist attraction. The park is also known as Abaca National Heritage Park, Nase Lodge and Mt. Batilamu. It is popular among hikers, nature lovers and adventure seekers since it offers challenging ancient trails through inviting waterholes, small traditional villages, and lush panoramic mountains such as Mt. Batilamu, which is also known as the Sleeping Giant.
Located on top of the mountains, the Koroyanitu National Heritage Park is home to six local villages that take part in maintaining specific portions of the park. They help promote eco tourism in the area by maintaining the landscape and trails, and manning the offices. In return, they are, of course, paid in tourism dollars. At the foot of Mount Koroyanitu, also known as Mount Evans, is the Abaca (pronounced Ambartha) Village. This traditional village offers beautiful walk paths through the dense Dakua forests and grasslands, archeological sites and waterfalls. It is a perfect place for trekking, bird-watching, and mountain adventure. There is a newly discovered waterfall, which is about a 3-hour hike away deeper into Mount Koroyanitu.
Meanwhile, an organized tour package on Mt. Batilamu offers to tourists the best hiking experience in this area. The hike begins at the Navilawa Village with a traditional Fijian welcoming ceremony. Then, the hike to the peak of the Sleeping Giant begins. This famous Batilamu trek takes hikers to a waterfall, the terraced gardens of the villages of Tunutunu and Navuratu, and all the way to Sabeto Valley. After about five hours of hiking and climbing on a marked track, hikers finally reach the peak of Mt. Batilamu. On top, the mountain offers a magnificent panoramic view of the nearby Mamanuca and Yasawa islands. The hike down will take another two hours. This organized hike comes with meals, drinks and hotel transfers to and from Nadi. The hike is most popular in the months of April through November.
Another attraction within the Heritage Park is a cultural experience and sleepover at the highland village among traditional Abaca families. The experience is truly rare, cultural and unforgettable, for only $80, which includes meals.
For those who wish to stay in a hotel, Nase Lodge Campsite is an old colonial lodge located high up on the hill near the traditional village. It offers bunk beds, a living area, kitchen, cold shower and toilet. There are no restaurants or shops in the area.
There are just so many things to do and experience within Koroyanitu National Heritage Park. There are cool waterfalls, dense forests, a mountain stream that is good for swimming, picnic areas, and challenging mountain hike and bike trails. The main challenge, however, when visiting the park is that there are no buses going to Abaca. Visitors would need to hire private transportation or coordinate with their hotels. Private vans normally charge $30 one way per person. When driving from Nadi, visitors may take Tavakubu Road upon entering Lautoka. After about 6.5 kilometers past a police station and cemetery, visitors need to make a turn right at Abaca Road. It is a rugged terrain that is only accessible on a 4WD vehicle. Entrance fee is $12.00 per person.