From its abundance of uninhabited coves and lush volcanic peaks to its lack of roads and retail, this rugged 58-km-long (36-mile-long) island is the stuff of an adventurer's dreams. Kayakers can make a day trip out of exploring coves, trekkers (and walkers) reach waterfalls and breathtaking ridge-top views, surfers get their breaks, and those drawn to the deep are smitten with the relatively unexplored sites of the famous Great Astrolabe and fringing reefs.
Despite the jungle-clad mountains balancing on pristine bays–-a visual feast to satisfy any South Pacific romantic–-most visitors come for the kind of vistas, which can only be found below sea level. The Great Astrolabe Reef, off the island's northern tip, is the world's fourth-largest barrier reef. Divers are treated to everything from a plethora of species of reef fish on up to barracuda, sharks, and 5-meter-wide manta rays swooping amid daring swim-throughs and rainbowlike coral walls.
The island group's culture is also easily accessible, as you come to know staff in boutique resort settings and are welcome to visit nearby villages where you can tour schools, experience kava ceremonies, and attend Sunday church services. Should you witness the stir created by the weekly arrival of the ferry from Suva, you'll understand your local hosts' genuine excitement at the opportunity to share a few hours with people from afar. This is Fiji's least-touched and most demanding tourist-friendly destination. Lend your energy and spirit to Kadavu and it will generously repay you.