The "garden island of Fiji" is 110,000 acres of dense, virgin rain forest and high volcanic peaks. The island is rich in flora such as the red-and-white Tagimoucia flower, which only grows here and on a small part of Vanua Levu. Taveuni's fauna flourish in the absence of the mongoose, which was introduced to many Fiji islands in order to reduce the rat population and which subsequently decimated frog and lizard species. Bird-watchers are smitten with the red-breasted musk parrots, silktails, and rare orange-breasted doves among the many other species that thrive here.
In 1990 roughly a third of the island became protected as Bouma National Heritage Park with monetary aid from the government of New Zealand. The park is effectively an ecotourism project split among four villages each of which oversees and collects admission from a different part. A rich collection of waterfalls, walking trails, and magnificent reefs on and around the island is within easy reach to visitors.
Some of Fiji's best snorkeling is at remote Vuna Reef off the island's southern tip, shallow cousin to the great Rainbow Reef. Both are home to some of the world's most brilliant soft coral as well as a wondrously diverse array of large and small fish species. Many resorts have excellent, highly personal in-house dive operations.