Surfing Vacations On Tavarua, The Heart-Shaped Island

Sunset at the resort end of Tavarua Island, Fiji.
Sunset at the resort end of Tavarua Island, Fiji. | Source

Where is this Paradise, Tavarua?

Tavarua is an island vacation paradise in the South Pacific east of Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea. It is a premiere surfing site that draws surfers from around the world. Since 2010, additional fees and limitations were lifted from the resort area surfing experience by the government in order to increase access for all and boost Tavarua's image as a world class surfing hub.

The Volcom Fiji Pro surfing competition is held annually during the first half of June at Tavarua Island on the Cloudbreak wave break surfing area (see descriptions below). This event has brought more attention and interest to Cloudbreak and the other several surfing areas around the island. Today, visitor numbers have increased and increasing numbers of visitors are learning to surfboard, bodyboard, stand up paddle (SUP), and to participate in a dozen related sports.

The Volcom Fiji Pro was named Contest of the Year in the 2012 TransWorld SURF Awards, present by Verizon.

Reviewer's Rating for Tavarua Vacation In Fiji Islands

5 stars for Tavarua Island

Clip from the 2012 Volcom Fiji Pro, won by Mr. Kelly Slater

Reference Map for Surfing Locations

show route and directions
A markerHawaii -
Hawaii, USA
[get directions]

B markerTavarua Island -
Tavarua, Fiji
[get directions]

C markerSidney, Australia -
Sydney NSW, Australia
[get directions]

D markerWellington, New Zealand -
Wellington, New Zealand
[get directions]

Accessing the Waves

In order to ensure safety, all the Tavarua break areas are accessible only by boat with a trained boatman and a working radio communications unit. All sorts of water activities are enjoyed at these breaks, except motor boating, and some breaks are better for certain sports than others.

Other activities besides surfing include bird watching, bodysurfing, scuba, sport fishing, snorkeling (especially to see the corals), SUP (stand up paddling) and kayaking to name a few. The resort area in the north of the 29-acre island also supports a swimming pool, a day spa, a workout room, a tennis court, a restaurant, and at least two bars.

Wave Break Areas

Thunder Cloud Reef or Cloudbreak -- One mile south of the island, this is the location of a left-breaking wave that is best attempted by experienced surfers. This is one major place where world class surfing competitions are held in the South Pacific. Professionals have recommended that everyone surfing here watch out for the reef. The most famous spot around the world for surfing, Cloudbreak has a web cam and logs of wave heights available at the links below.

Restaurants - Restaurants break is located at the developed upper left hand corner of the island. This is the place for a left breaking wave right in front of the resort. Its own web cam and wave log are also located at the link group below. Kiddie Land is located inside of the Restaurants break and is good for children, beginning surfers and SUP-ers, and family activities.

Tavarua rights - Southeast side of Tavarua, this break is described as a fast right-hander that gets shallow at mid-tide, so caution is recommended along with paying attention to tidal schedules. It is directly across the island south of Restaurants.

Swimming Pools Break - A right break one mile to the northwest of Tavarua and very near Namoto Island.

Namotu Lefts Break - Waves can be anywhere from 6 to 15 feet in height. This is the place for world class kitesurfing and sailboarding, although surfers love it, too.

Wilkes Pass - Located a mile northwest of Namotu Island, this wave breaks right in the southern edge of a long barrier reef.

Desperations - This final break is a bit farther to the northwest of Wilkes Pass and at the top of the map of all Tavarua breaks. Some surfers say that it's name indicates that it is a last resort if all the other breaks are not creating suitable waves.

The Heart-Shaped Island


Distances From Tavarua

City Name
Miles Distance
Los Angeles
Sydney, Australia
Wellington, New Zealand
Distance calculations are based on the WGS84 ellipsoid using "geod", originally written by Gerald Evenden, then of the USGS (per "Information Please Almanac")

Getting to Tavarua

A couple of travel agencies offer tourest packages from Los Angeles or Honolulu to Tavarua Island.

Through October of 2013, the cost from either of these two cities to the island for a Saturday to Saturday stay that includes three meals a day and a beezy air conditioned cabin called a bure that usually has two queen sized beds is just under 4,000USD for an adult and about half that for a child. Thereafter, the price is going to increase to around 5,900USD per adult.

The population of the island is at last half Indigenous Fijian (likely Polynesaian and Melanesian mix descendants, but possibly also related to Asian India) and these residents welcome the opportunity to meet visitors from around the world. Reviews of the island stay around discussion boards in the Internet are positive. Visitors find the people very friendly, the weather perfect, and the activities engaging and fun.

In 2013, the US dollar is worth two Fijian dollars, so American money has more purchasing power on the island than in the USA. In the packages mentioned above, only a few costs are not included - travel expenses to the island from the final airplane landing, by boat, and other small incidentals. Tipping is not encouraged, but visitors can contribute to an employees Christmas Party Fund, if they like.

One activity that has changed is that purchasing or gathering conch shells for removal from the island is no longer legal (see material presented below). The animals that have lived in those shells that are native to Tavarua are endangered and may need those abandoned shells for survival as they outgrow their own.

In my state, these conch shells were sold in find furniture stores for several years, then appeared in second hand stores and flea market stalls, and now may appear on eBay.

Any of the Golden Cowrie and Trumpet Snail shells you see are likely a group of shells that make the rounds between owners and sellers over the years and may be very valuable at this time.

Magic Beverage of Fiji

You might see Kava served on the island, because it is a traditional beverage around Fiji and related to the pepper family of plants. As with any sort of pungent pepper fruit, Kava can also have side effects if used in over indulgence, like stomach disturbances and others. for these and other reasons, Kava is not sold in the USA or in some other large nations.

All natural, it numbs the tongue and makes the consumer feel more relaxed, without alcohol. In the native language, it is yaqona and it is the national drink of Fiji. It has traditionally been used at special culture based ceremonies and you might see some of these on Tavarua.

Fiji (Viti Levu) and Surrounding Islands

show route and directions
A markerFiji -
[get directions]

B markerTavarua -
Tavarua, Fiji
[get directions]

Just 54 miles from the large Fiji.

Photographer Scott Winer at Tavarua

Some Birds of Fiji

Click thumbnail to view full-size
White TernBrown Booby (Sula leucogaster) - may be seen around Fuji. Ther is also a red-Footed Booby and a Masked Booby.Masked Booby and chickRed-Footed BoobyGreat FrigatebirdGreat EgretPacific Golden PloverCollared Lorry - National Bird of Fiji
White Tern
White Tern | Source
Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster) - may be seen around Fuji. Ther is also a red-Footed Booby and a Masked Booby.
Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster) - may be seen around Fuji. Ther is also a red-Footed Booby and a Masked Booby. | Source
Masked Booby and chick
Masked Booby and chick | Source
Red-Footed Booby
Red-Footed Booby | Source
Great Frigatebird
Great Frigatebird | Source
Great Egret
Great Egret | Source
Pacific Golden Plover
Pacific Golden Plover | Source
Collared Lorry - National Bird of Fiji
Collared Lorry - National Bird of Fiji | Source

Wildlife Viewing at Tavarua Island in Fiji

Some species of wildlife in the over 330 Fiji Islands live only in that area.

Considering fish alone, over 1,200 species of reef fish are found in and around Fiji waters. Two of the most recently found are both endangered: the Napoleon wrasse and the giant grouper.At the same time, Tilapia, which is a popular food fish, is an invasive species that needs to be eliminated from the area. The reefs themselves may be home to 300 different species of hard coral.

Over 10,000 species of native plants and invertebrate wildlife live in Fijian waters and they have all not even been cataloged.

Considering birds, over 100 species inhabit the Fiji Islands and you may see any of them at Tavarua. Look for parrots.

As for reptiles and amphibians, 30 species call the islands home, the most famous being the Crested Iguana. Frogs, geckos, and skinks (short-legged or legless reptiles) join the pack.

Many other species can be found in the islands or in the waters, including turtles, fruit bats, hawks, sea anemones, and others. You may also see dolphins.

 Princess Damselfish
Princess Damselfish | Source

The Davui Trumpet Shell

Many cultures have a bell, a ram's horn, or gong, a triangle, or a shell with which to call people to dinner. Travarua has the endangered Davui shell (Charonia tritonis) that is blown like a horn. it is also called the Triton Trumpet Shell, named after the endangered Triton Trumpet Snail that lives within it.

The trumpet snail is now rare, but still lives around coral reefs in the South Pacific, preying on coral-devouring animals like certain starfish of the Tavarua area. The trumpet snail has become rare, because tourists like to collect the shells to take home, not realizing that the shells are actually houses.

Around Tavarua, visitors may also see the Golden Cowrie (Cypraea aurantium), which is a lovely golden snail and the Helmet Shell (Carciss cornuta ).

None of these three shells may legally be taken from the island any longer, so photography is best.

Charonia tritonis
Charonia tritonis | Source

Golden Cowrie (Cypraea aurantium)

Sport Fishing

Designated fishing areas, reached via sport fishing cruise boats, are full of many species that can be caught and kept. These include Yellowfin Tuna (good for sushi, too), Mahi Mahi, Blue Marlin, Pacific Sailfish, Wahoo, Spearfish, Trevally, and many others.

Tavarua, Fiji

A markerTavarua -
Tavarua, Fiji
[get directions]

The Garden of the Sleeping Giant

A markerThe Garden of the Sleeping Giant -
Garden of the Sleeping Giant, Fiji
[get directions]

Waloko Road, Sabeto, Nadi, Fiji.

The Garden of the Sleeping Giant

The Garden of the Sleeping Giant; Wailoko Road, Fiji. Guided Tour Available

  • Raymond Burr retired from his roles as Perry Mason and Ironside and traveled to Fiji, where he created his own private orchid garden. Today, it is the largest in the islands and a major visitor's attraction open to the public. In the center you will find a giant that appears to be sleeping, half-bured in the mossy grasses.

Higher Education On the Island

Major References

  • Go Fiji at Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  • Information Please Almanac, Distance Calculator
  • The Ohio State University, Department of Marine Biology.
  • Fiji Trumpets at Risk - Davui Shell. Trylanskam, M; M. Mate; M. Samani. 2007.

© 2013 Patty Inglish

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Comments 8 comments

prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 3 years ago from malang-indonesia

Wow....I love this hub very much. Though I don't like surfing but this place looks beautiful. Actually I have never heard about Tavarua before reading this hub. I really enjoy looking the picture and the video here. Good job, my friend. Voted up!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America Author

I'm glad you like the Hub, prasetio30! The wilidlife, ocean, and climate are incredible, for sure. The surfing competition should be televised at the Volcom website in June and maybe on cable or satellite TV. I'm going to watch if I can - I don't think I could stand up on a surfboard!

Shrouds profile image

Shrouds 3 years ago from Malaysia

I like the way you present your writing,the format etc,reading it makes me feel like I am part of surfing experts too.I think everyone knows about Fiji Island,the beauty ,sunset, the cold blue water ,beach etc.Media had us as a witness of Island beauty as well as your hub.

MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean

Thanks for this excursion to Tavarua. The pictures are interesting as are the facts. I cannot surf but I will enjoy the birds. Voted Up.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America Author

The birds are lovely, aren't they? I wish more videos were made of the island.

Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

I have never surfed. When I see people surfing I feel kind of thrilled. However, I cannot fulfill my desire because we don't have sea in our country, and I travel to foreign countries very often.

This is brilliant hub. Cheers

PS: Thanks for reading, commenting, and following me.

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America Author

Thanks very much for reading this Hub and posting a comment, Vinaya. You sound very busy traveling!

DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Interesting insight to surfing and the beautiful Tavarua - The Heart Shaped Island of the South Pacific and World Class Surfing. It sounds challenging and such an energetic sport too.

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