Taveuni is about 42 km long and 11 km wide (26 by 7 miles). Ideally, I would like to fly an ultralight aircraft over the island for nice slow bird's eye perspective of the entrie island. Until then, please forgive the missed areas, and enjoy the ride.
First off, here is a map of Fiji so you can locate Taveuni:
And a map of Taveuni itself, with circled numbers that match the sequence of the pictures.
Ni sa bula! (greetings) and welcome aboard Pandabonium Air. We have beautiful weather today and you should get some great views of the island. Please fasten your seatbelt and pull it snug for takeoff. We'll be departing, of course, from Taveuni's Matei Airport.
Straight ahead you can see the neighboring island of Qamea. On the left there appears to be a hill, but it is actually another island - Viubani - which is 133 meters in height.
We turn right after taking off and get a nice view of Viubani Island. Beautiful little gem, isn't it? We'll continue our right turn as we climb. Now we can see Vurevure Bay. There is a tall three masted ship anchored there which is pointed in our direction. See it?
This is where the Bouma National Heritage Park, which we will now fly over, begins. You can check in at Bouma Village and visit the falls I wrote about in the post "Booming Bouma!".
And next we are passing Lavena Point where the road ends and the beautiful nature hike described in the post "Walk on the Wild Side" starts. The village of Lavena has a population of about 1858 within a 7km radius of the point.
The movie "Return to the Blue Lagoon" was filmed there. Great place for hiking, kayaing, and enjoying the forest and waterfalls.
Next up is the southern end of the island with its distinctive volcanic cones. Taveuni's volcano, like Maui's Haleakala, is dormant which means that while it not active at present, there could be an eruption some day. This part of the island was evacuated due to eruptions about 400 AD and was not resettled until 1100 AD. The last lava flows were 500 to 700 years ago. There is a lot of coconut grown down here and some cattle. Great place for horseback riding too, as I shared in "Horseback Riding - Fijian Style". At the village of Vuna, there is a beautiful blowhole on the coast where the sea water shoots straight up like a whale spout.
We're turning north now up the west side of the island and passing Taveuni Estates. You can see the golf course in the bottom left part of this view. And if you look at the enlarged view you see the roads of the residential subdivision winding up the hill.
The peak in the top center of the above view (in the shadow of a cloud) is Nayavuloa which reaches 750 meters about sea level. The mountain ridge in this area is over 1100 meters high.
In the above view, the golf course club house is at the far right and just left of that is a big grass clearing where the boat launch ramp is and the beautiful Banyan tree featured in the post "Taveuni Tree Trumps Tractor". Center view one can see some homes dotting the hillside.
We skipped the main towns of Waiyevu and Somosomo today. Sorry, we'll have to do that another day. Now we see the northern end of Taveuni again with Qamea island in the distance. On the right is Narova Peak at 210 meters. There are some nice beaches in this area, and small hotels and guest houses. Maravu Plantation Resort is popular.
Here's the airport already and in the following view we're "turning from base leg to final" as we say, and you can see how the airport is situated right at the northern edge of the island.
Lined up on final approach now, you can look over my shoulder and see what it looks like to the pilot. It may look small to you, but no worries, the runway is three times the length we'll need.
Please check to see that your seatbelt is securely fastened in preparation for landing. Vinaka vaka levu (thank you very much) for flying Pandabonium Air today. We hope you enjoyed the tour and will visit us again soon.