Monday, 7 December 2015

Australia, Fiji and New Caledonia - 15th November (Day 5)

Today was largely going to be a travelling day from Australia to Fiji, we were up at 03:00 and got a taxi to the airport. We flew Sydney to Nadi on the island of Vita Levu at 06:30 (4 hour flight) then Nadi to the island of Taveuni (1 hour 15 minutes) at 15:10 with Fiji Airways. The flight from Nadi was on-board a Twin-Otter with twelve passengers and we had fantastic views of the islands and coral atolls as we headed eastwards. Taveuni is known as the Garden Island, it is lush and has high levels of rainfall, much of the coastline is rugged and the islands supports some of Fiji’s highest peaks with Des Voeux peak reaching 1,195m and Mount Uluigalau reaching 1,241m, the country’s second highest. Much of the east coast of the island is protected by the Bouma National Heritage Park and is largely forested. The international date line passes through Taveuni and hence this is about as far east as one can travel without entering the day before.

As we came into land on the runway in the north of Taveuni near to Matei our first birds for Taveuni were a couple of Pacific Golden Plover on the runway and a Fiji Goshawk harassing a couple of Collared Lory just outside the airport. MK sorted a lift and we headed the short distance to the Hotel Marravu (formerly Bibi’s Hideaway) at Matei. After checking in a cold beer was in order and we seawatched from the hotel balcony seeing around 50 Collared Petrel offshore, 5 Greater Crested Tern and small numbers of Short-tailed Shearwater. After sorting the logistics for tomorrow we wandered to the nearby beach and spent an hour in the evening seawatching, we recorded around 15 Herald Petrel, further Collard Petrel, 2 Red-footed Booby, 6 Brown Booby, large numbers (several hundred) of Short-tailed Shearwater, Lesser Frigatebird, many Brown Noddy and Eastern Reef Heron and Green-backed Heron on the offshore rocks while in the bushes lining the beach were Polynesian Triller and Vanikoro Flycatcher.

Collared Kingfisher of race vitiensis - Taveuni, Fiji

Female Vanikoro Flycatcher of race rufiventris - Taveuni, Fiji

Male Lesser Frigatebird - Taveuni, Fiji

Map of Taveuni from the Lonely Planet guide

Links to other days of the trip