Trip Report – September 2006
Day 1: Arrive Nadi – stay on Denaru Island – there are many choices but we really enjoyed the Sofitel. During your stay explore the town of Nadi, especially the Sri Siva Suvramaniya Swami Temple. Enjoy some authentic Fijian cooking at Saffron Tandoori Restaurant and the best ‘souvenir’ shopping in Fiji is at Jack’s in town.-. The hotel will provide a Kava Ceremony which sounds a little tacky but is quite interesting and take every opportunity to enjoy the birds around the hotel.
Day 2: Today head out to the Nassouri Highlands, experiencing Fijian villages en route and, enjoying some amazing scenery, look for Golden Dove, Fijian Bush Warbler and many other species. Then head into Nadi for a genuine Indian meal at Maharaja Restaurant (basic but tasty).
Day 3: A combination of birding and sightseeing will take you north of Nadi to Lautoka – which isn’t mush to write home about – but there is a great deal of sugar cane being grown in the area which can be interesting during harvesting. Stop at, Vereni Falls and the Garden of the sleeping Giant – good opportunity for Many colored Fruit Dove and Scarlet Robin. Try Daikoku in town for dinner.
Day 4: A couple of choices today – take a boat trip to a small island, hire a moped, play golf or continue to check out the many birds on the beach and around the hotel – Red Adavat, Polynesian Triller, Grey-backed tern and Fiji Parrotfinch, to name but a few. When facing the ocean from the Sofitel, head along the beach to the right – when the tide is out there is a little estuary and many waders and gulls are there.
Day 5: After a short flight to Taveuni, relax at a Maravu Plantation before heading to Nabogi Ono Farms to start your birding on Taveuni. Then back to the hotel to enjoy some of the best cooking on the island.
Day 6: Get the people at the hotel to arrange a drive (book the day before) and have an early start up a very bumpy track to the top of Des Veoux Peak to see Orange Dove, Barking Pigeon, Island Thrush, Lessor Shrikebill and more. Then after lunch on the beach ( provided by the hotel) head to Bouma Falls (once again the hotel will arrange this) for both a swim and birding en route – hope for Blue Crested Broadbill, Slaty Monarch and Pacific Harrier.
Day 7: In the morning hike up to a War Village in the Vidawa Rain Forest to find Silktail. If you arrange it the day before, the hotel will book a guide for you. This is an amazing hike and well worth the effort – not to mention the thrill of seeing such a rare bird. On the way back to the hotel stop for shore birds as you round the tip of the island – you may get Wandering Tattler.
Days 8 & 9: We didn’t do this but if I went again I would leave Fiji’s Garden Island today and fly to the second largest island in Fiji, Vanu Levu to stay at the Devo Plantation Retreat – this will offer the opportunity for most of the common species as well as a local sub species of both Silktail and Red Shining Parrot.
Day 10: After a short flight back to the main island of Viti Levu visit the city of Suva. For those interested in sight seeing this city can offer some interesting sights as well as shopping – for others there is a great opportunity for shorebirds along the city’s waterfront. Stay at Tradewinds Hotel.
Days 11 & 12: Viti Levu’s best birding is on this side of the island, near Suva try Waivudawa & Colo-I suva . Hire a guide and take the next 2 days to explore some extremely interesting terrain, enjoy more good food in Suva and try for Long-legged Warbler and Pink-billed Parrotfinch. Once again, for those wanting a break on either of these days, there are some wonderful temples in Suva and the hotel offers an opportunity for an even more relaxing time. Stay at Tradewinds.
Day 13: After a final morning birding near Suva (Waivudawa) fly to the island of Kadavu. In the afternoon take a boat ride or enjoy some snorkeling while keeping an eye out for all opportunities to bird enroute.
Days 14 & 15: Over the next two days on Kadavu, focus should be on the Kadavu endemics, Whistling Dove, Kadavu F, Kadavu Honeyeater and Kadavu Shining Parrot. There are a number of places to explore but include Solodamu Forest Reserve. As with everywhere in Fiji, this island also offers fabulous diving, for those interested in something different.
Day 16: Fly back to Nassouri on Viti Levu, hire a car and drive back across the south of the island en route to Nadi for your departure. Stop for the night in Pacific Harbour ( interesting little place!!) and take the opportunity to look for more parrots and doves in the roads above the golf course. There are several nice hotels in the area so treat yourself tonight at the Pearl.
Day 17: Time to head back to Nadi for your flights home. Stop en route at the Sigatoka Sand Dunes and then enjoy lunch in Sigatoka at the Sigatoka Club on the water, if time allows.
General notes: There aren’t that many roads in Fiji – the main ones are good but you will probably want to get off the beaten track and some of those are unpaved.
We were there in September but the time of year doesn’t make any difference.
Sofitel Hotel – Denaru Island, Nadi
Maravu Plantation – Taveuni Island
Devo Plantation – Vanu Levu ( there seems to be some confusion
as to whether this is still operating – contact info can be found here.)
Tradewinds Hotel – Suva
Pearl Hotel – Pacific Harbour
Guides & Resources
Guides – We didn’t use guides – other than those booked through the hotel on Taveuni Island.
BirdingPals is always a great resource for free and professional guides.
Field Guide – A guide to the Birds of Fiji & Western Polynesia – Dick Watling
Where to find birds – Where to watch birds in Australasia & Oceania – Nigel Wheatley
Lonely Planet Guide for points of interest.