Fiji is a nation made up of over three hundred islands, two thirds of which are uninhabited, making it one of the world’s last pockets of tropical wilderness.
COMO Laucala Island in the northeastern Koro Sea is one of its best examples of endemic diversity and unspoilt nature — a natural abundance you can enjoy on guided hikes with our Activities Director, Gordon Wakeham.
Gordon has worked on COMO Laucala Island for twelve years. A native Fijian, it has taken nearly all that time for him to explore every inch of the vast 3,500-acre Eden, which is teeming with primaeval hardwood forest, rare plants and jewel-bright birds. Gordon is a specialist on local medicinal plants and the natural healing system.
Each route ventures beyond the island’s only habitation, past twisting mangroves, up to secret look-out points, over black basalt rock, and through thick jungle. Along the way, you’ll learn about local Fijian folklore, indigenous plants and some of the world’s rarest bird species.
Hiking this trail is like stepping back into a dinosaur’s paradise, looping steeply up to the island’s highest point. The deeper you get into the interior, the louder the birdsong — a chorus of collared lorys, orange doves, red shining parrots and Kadavu fantails. As you walk, you’ll spot wild orchids draped across the branches of the oldest trees, with bright yellow blooms. They are a 120 million-year-old throwback to our planet’s first plant species. In the riot of rainbow hues, keep your eyes peeled for the emerald glimmer of the friendly ground dove or the iridescent feathers of the purple swamphen. The hike takes around two hours and is best suited to intermediate-level hikers due to the steep pitch.
This one-hour intermediate hike has spectacular westward views over the island and surrounding sea. It is a great way to see the indigenous roots, woods and spices that Fiji is so famous for. You will weave between towering mahogany trees and scented sandalwood, pausing to harvest the odd coconut or learn about the uses of cinnamon bark. The paths are lined with white ginger lilies, with a distinctive floral allure. No trees can be felled on the island without the owner’s permission, a policy that pays off in the astonishing diversity of rare hardwoods. Among the trees you’ll spot friendly horses, barking pigeons, land crabs, frogs and fruit bats, and hear about the traditional stories and proverbs of the Fijian people, closely bound to the land and its bounty.
Take the coastal route, skimming the sea’s edge. This four-hour journey makes the most of the interplay between forest edge and seashore: sea birds such as the bristle-thighed curlew and reef heron give way to the jungle-dwelling collared lory. Passing through the island’s citrus groves, you’ll have the chance to collect the wild harvest, tasting the tangy-to-sweet soursop plucked straight from the tree or a sun-warmed banana. Shady spots for picnicking are scattered between guava, bush limes and avocados. You can also pause at Long Beach — a wild seashore where the resort’s horses come down to swim. The mangrove section is noisy with activity, and flashes of white seabirds, who hunt these waters, and nest in the islands tucked away in the coastal channel.
If you want to explore further, Taveuni is a 30 minute-boat ride from COMO Laucala Island, home to Fiji’s celebrated Bouma National Park. The two-hour route will lead you past guided river crossings, over slippery rocks and to three spectacular waterfalls pouring one into the other. The first waterfall is 24 metres tall — about the size of an eight-storey building or a blue whale propped up vertically — while the middle waterfall has a 15 metre drop. The upper waterfall cascades 10 metres into a jade green natural swimming pool ideal for cooling off. It is – quite possibly – one of the finest places to picnic in the South Pacific.
Are you interested in doing a guided nature hike in Fiji? Our team at COMO Laucala Island can take care of all the details. All hikes are customisable – simply let us know your preferred timings or ask for additional recommendations.