Tagimoucia & Other Terrific Things About Taveuni!
As a rule, Fiji and its 333 islands are pretty special among all the lovelies of South Pacific. But there’s good reason – did you know that Fiji’s national flower, the tagimoucia grows only on Taveuni island and nowhere else in the world? And the island itself is ridiculously beautiful with world-class snorkelling, diving and a huge caldera… Read on and find out!
The Tagimoucia (pronounced tahng-ee-mow-theea) is the official flower of this island nation and there is an amazing story behind it. Plus, what makes it so unique is that it only grows on one particular island called Taveuni and nowhere else in Fiji and the world!
The story behind the blooms
The legend behind the Tagimoucia says that once upon a time (as all legends go…) there was a princess. She had given her heart away to a young man, but her father had promised her hand to another in an alliance. Heartbroken, the princess ran away from the village up into the island’s forests. She stopped by the island’s lake and wept her heart out. The gods must have looked upon her fervour with kindness, because when the villages went up the mountain they found a new flower with beautiful red and white blossoms. There forth, the Tagimoucia flower and the princess’ story are forever entwined in history.
Over the years, scores of scientists and horticulturalists tried to transplant the flower in other areas of Fiji and the world, but all efforts have come to naught. This flower (officially known as Medinilla waterhousei) grows only in the caldera of the island’s volcano and nowhere else. Plus, because of its rarity and beauty, it is especially prized amongst Fijians and looked upon it with reverence and a sign of good fortune.
How to get to see the Tagimoucia flower
To see this rare bloom, travellers have to take a short flight from Fiji’s mainland to the island. Then, it is hike into the forests leading up to the Tagimoucia lake inside the volcano. There are often day tours which allow travellers all over the world to see this beautiful flower.
All the wonders of Taveuni, Fiji!
Even beside the Tagimoucia flower, the island is quite special. Because of its rich volcanic soil, it is called the Garden Island of Fiji. It’s not a big island in itself, though. Measuring 42 long and 12 km wide, it nevertheless has enough activities and experiences to keep travellers put for weeks on end.
Besides the above, travellers can also check out the Bouma National Heritage Park which conserves the island’s rainforest, village and covers almost one-third of the island. A little farther from the village of Lovena is the Taveuni’s coastal walk. Here, adventurers will find amazing swimming and snorkelling, including a ridiculously beautiful swimming hole in the midst of nowhere.
Because of the island’s volcanic origins, Taveuni has several waterfalls, the most accessible being the Tavora waterfalls. You can get tour guides easily, the views of fantastic and so is the experience! Travellers can spend days exploring a number of the island’s waterfalls with just a packed picnic, sturdy hiking shoes and walking stick. Don’t forget the bathing suit!
Pro Tip: Hang a few stubbies in a wire mesh bag. At the waterfall, just submerge the bag and wait for half an hour. Voila – chilled beer on demand!
Hikers will love the fact that Taveuni is a jungle world with lush rainforests to trek through. For watersports, the island has possibly South Pacific’s most amazing diving spots. The Waitabu Marine Park ensures no exploitation and scuba divers can enjoy amazing wall dives, swim with dolphins, manta rays, turtles and a whole ecology of marine flora and fauna. We especially recommend diving along the Somosomo Straits between Taveuni and Vanua Levu. Then, of course is the Rainbow Reef – it is called so because of the amazing coral life which brightens up the place… very literally so. Another highlight is the Great White Wall, which is famous for its pristine white coral reefs speckled with purple blooms. Even now, diving experts believe only 10% of the islands reef system has been properly explored!
The island is also known for its amazing diversity of avian life. From famous orange-breasted doves, silk tails, fern tales and various species of parrots, it is quite honestly, a bird-watcher’s paradise.