Jan 23, 2011

Welcome to Paradise! -Review of Matava - TripAdvisor

We researched the Matava resort extensively and communicated with the staff many times before our trip. They were always happy to answer any questions. It made our decision easier to come to Kadavu.

Our Fiji trip felt like a dream. There is so many things to do around the resort. Perfect for a couple to experience in such a beautiful destination. We came to Fiji interested in doing some Fishing, Trekking, and snorkeling during our stay. Every activity was amazing. We stayed in the Honeymoon Bure during our vacation and it was quite comfortable and had the most amazing views. The dining options were steller too. Lots of dishes with different touches of different cultures. I also became fond of the coconut ice cream and fresh Pinapple. The staff was was very welcoming it all started with Maggie. He was very helpful in so many aspects.

When we did our Trek, Sami was our tour guide and he also did a spectacular job. He brought us to a few waterfalls and guided us through a few local villages. All along the way we had incredible views and took a ton of great pictures.

We also did a day on a remote island. Maggie dropped us of on a beautiful remote island after starting a fire for us to cook food on from the resort. We spent the day relaxing, snorkeling, and trekking around the island while taking photos.

We did 4 days fishing and that went great as well. I brought my own Jigging and Popping tackle as this is a hobby of mine. Adrian recommended several Poppers and Stickbaits in which I brought too. We were really impressed with how Adrian and Joe worked together to make sure you have the best experience possible. Fishing with Joe was also a blast. He is absolutely hilarious! These guys really work well together. We ended up catching Giant Trevally up to about 35kg, Dogtooth Tuna, Bluefin Trevally, and Redbass. The conditions weren't perfect weather wise for fishing but we were certainly happy with the action. One day I was able to boat 11 GT's, Bluefin Trevally, and some Redbass. That's certainly not a bad day fishing anywhere! Adrian tells me it can get even better!

I strongly recommend Matava to anyone that wants to experience Fiji away from the bigger cities and see more of the remote beautiful areas that Fiji is known for. We are already thinking of another trip back!

Welcome to Paradise! - Review of Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort, Kadavu Island, Fiji - TripAdvisor

Jan 5, 2011

Bird Watching - Fiji Guide

Fiji, compared to other South Pacific nations such as New Guinea, lacks a diversity of avian life but there are enough interesting and sometimes spectacular looking birds to attract visitors from throughout the world. In all, there are about 80 species of terrestrial and freshwater birds of which about 10 have been introduced. They are distributed throughout the islands but those interested in sampling an array bird should consider visiting three islands: Viti Levu (which has 56 of the 81 known species found in the group), Kadavu, and the Garden Island of Taveuni. In general, the larger islands tend to be more ecologically intact and the bigger birds—notably the parrots and pigeons—are easily seen.

Although space does not permit a detailed look at Fiji’s bird life I will attempt to survey some of the species. The largest bird found in Fiji is the reef heron, Egretta sacra , which feeds on small fish and other marine animals. They range from the coast to the very Interior of the largest islands.

There are three species of hawk in Fiji. The most common is the swamp harrier, Circus approximans , which is most commonly seen over the grasslands, swamps and wooded areas. It feeds on rodents, birds and occasionally snakes. The Fiji Goshawk, Accipiter rufitoques , ranges from the coast to inland areas and preys on lizards, insects and other birds. Peregrine falcons, Falcus peregrinus , can also be found in Fiji but are not commonly observed. In the evenings you just might spot a the unmistakable profile of the barn owl, Tyto alba , one of which I used to observe perched on a telephone wire in my old stomping grounds of Lami, outside of Suva. They prey generally on rodents but will sometimes eat bats or other birds.

There are several varieties of dove in Fiji. The most common is the introduced spotted turtle dove, Streptopelia chinensis , which is also among the most destructive vis a vis fruit crops. Among the most sought after by birders is the orange dove, Ptiliponus victor found in Vanua Levu, Taveuni and some of the other offshore islands. The male of the species is a bright orange with the exception of an olive green head. So rare is this bird that you’ll be hard pressed to find a photo of it in any book.

Peale’s pigeon, Ducula latrans , as Paddy Ryan, the South Pacific’s premier nature photographer points out in his superb Fiji’s Natural Heritage guide, is “more likely to be seen than heard” and sounds a great deal like a barking dog. Thus when walking through a remote rainforest, the bark you’ll hear is more likely avian rather than canine in origin.

Perhaps the most famous, and easily seen of the larger Fijian birds are the yellow and red-breasted musk parrots (Prosopeia personata and Prosopeia tabuensis ) get their name from their distinctive musky odor. It’s not unusual to see small flocks squawking of red-breasted musk parrots flitting about the coconut trees in Taveuni or the other larger islands. Don’t be surprised if a taxi driver offers to procure one of these creatures for you to take home. They are popular as pets with locals and evidently are sold to visitors on the sly. This is highly illegal but unfortunately a common practice.

The white-collared kingfisher, Halcyon chloris , is a striking blue with a white collar around the neck. I’ve often seen them dipping into a friend’s swimming pool in Taveuni. Also seen on Taveuni is the silktail, Lamprolia victoriae . Once thought to be a bird of paradise, it isbirdwatching becoming increasingly rare on other islands most likely because of logging. Paddy Ryan describes it as a deep black with metallic blue spangling on the head and breast.

Much less exotic is the Indian mynah Acridotheres tristes which was introduced in the late 19th century to feed on sugar cane pests. Aggressive, intelligent and noisy, it can be seen throughout Fiji. The jungle mynah, Acridotheres fuscus introduced in the early 20th century to control the army worm, is usually seen in the countryside, often perched on the backs of cattle.

Those thinking of visiting Fiji to observe bird life might consider spending three days each in Viti Levu, Taveuni and Kadavu.

Visitors to Viti Levu might look for:
Yellow-breasted musk parrot, Prosopeia personata Golden dove, Ptilinopus luteovirens Black-faced shrikebill Pink-billed parrot-finch Long legged warbler In Taveuni keep your eye peeled for the: Orange dove, Ptilnopus victor Red shining parrot, Silktail, Lamprolia victoriae and Azure crowned flycatcher.

Kadavu birders look for:
Peale’s pigeon, Ducula latrans Kadavu fantail, R. Personata Red-breasted musk parrot, Prosopeia fuscus Yellow-breasted musk parrot and Prosopeia personata.

If you’re interested in following up on bird “literature” I strongly suggest you pick up a copy of Paddy Ryan’s Fiji’s Natural Heritage or Birds of the Fiji Bush by Fergus Clunie. Both are available in Fiji. The fine photos that grace this section and other pages on this site are courtesy of Paddy Ryan.

Bird Watching - Fiji Guide