known as Somosomo, Taveuni ranks third in size and is one of the
finest islands of Fiji. It is entirely a volcanic formation. Lying
southeast of sister island Vanua
Levu, it is 26 miles long and about an average of 7 miles
in width, rising symmetrically on both sides to a backbone ridge.
At its highest point is Mount Uluiqalau (4,040 feet), notable
because it is exactly under the 180th Meridian, 12 hours east
and west from Greenwich. In the high mountains of Taveuni there
is a beautiful lake of considerable size, pouring through an outlet
on the west. This stream furnishes the township of Somosomo with
a good supply of fresh water. A smaller outlet to the east discharges
enough water to form a small cascade. A flowering plant called
Tagimaucia, is found only on the shores of this lake - all attempts
to transplant it to lower altitudes has failed. The plant has
bunches of flowers, red with a white entree, and is the most beautiful
of all the Fijian wild flowers. Every characteristic of Fijian
scenery is found on Taveuni, while all of the tropical trees,
fruits and vegetables are produced here in abundance.
one time, Sea Island cotton, arrowroot and cinchona had been produced
on the island but its main product is now copra. When the American
expedition under Wilkes visited, Taveuni's inhabitants, the most
savage tribe in the archipelago were feared by all the islands,
and on Taveuni, cannibalism prevailed to a greater extent than
anywhere else. A road extends the full length of the lee or northwest
coast from Vuna in the south to Wainibula in the north.
is an airstrip serviced by Air Fiji and Sunflower Airlines at
Matei at the north of the island. Taveuni, on the west coast is
a calling place for inter-island ships. There is a large hospital
in the vicinity and several schools. Some of the most extensive,
privately owned copra plantations are in Taveuni with a large
Fijian population still living in villages, mainly in the north
and extreme south. There is only a small Indian population.
reefs of the Somosomo Straits, off the coast of Taveuni, Fiji,
attract divers from all over the world. They come to experience
the spectacular South Pacific soft corals of the world-famous
Rainbow Reef that stretches between Vanu Levu and Taveuni.