Low tide off the beach at Papageno Resort.
Papageno Resort on Kadavu Island has kayaks and paddles for guest use… so use them!
The waters around Papageno tend to be pretty calm and clear, making for great kayaking. You’ll float above an abundance of sea life and coral, and you can paddle into a cluster of mangroves, where the tannen from the trees turn the water from crystal blue to a dark tea.
Once you head past the protection of Skipper Fish Island (we named it after the fish that skimmed along the water’s surface around the isle), the winds can pick up a bit.
You can paddle east around the point past the island into Daku Bay. If you continue on and hug the coastline, you’ll come to the village of Naivakarauniniu, Unless you have made arrangements with the village elders, it’s recommended that you respect the villagers’ privacy and not enter. They are extremely friendly to guests but would prefer to know of their arrival in advance.
A mangrove tree on the path from Papageno Resort to Naivakarauniniu.
The village of Naivakarauniniu is about a one mile hike east from Papageno Resort on Kadavu Island on a well-marked trail that can still be slippery and muddy if it has been raining.
The path winds past a mangrove cluster and the over a murky stream with a rocky bridge. The trail slopes gently up and down, although it never rises more than about 70 above sea level. Most of the trail is through the rainforest and the ocean is only visible at the beginning.
Unless you have made arrangements with the village elders, it’s recommended that you stop when you see the village’s cemetery and turn back to respect the villagers’ privacy. They are extremely friendly to guests but would prefer to know of their arrival in advance.
The lower waterfall.
To reach the village of Naikorokoro and the waterfalls south of the village on Kadavu Island, hire a guide from nearby Papageno Resort to take you.
My guide Zachariah loaded everything into a boat and skimmed along the coast east of Papageno for a few minutes before docking at the tiny village of Naikorokoro.
A hike through the village to the waterfall is a little over a mile long with a 300-foot elevation gain. It barely reaches the moderate level, but the difficulty goes up if it’s been raining. I almost lost a shoe after stepping in some deep and squishy mud.
Once at the falls, you can jump right in the pool at the base of the first waterfall to clean and cool off. If you’re adventurous enough, follow your guide almost straight up to get to the second waterfall, which is even higher and more spectacular than the first. Again, the deep pool at the second fall is perfect for a swim.
Rainbow as seen from shore of island near Papageno Resort.
From Papageno Resort on Kadavu Island, there is a small uninhabited island to the northeast, just waiting to be explored.
A quick kayak paddle (provided to Papageno’s guests at no extra charge) of 10 minutes gets you to the island – and watch for fish skipping across the surface of the ocean on your paddle.
The waters around Papageno tend to be pretty calm and clear, making for great kayaking. Keep an eye out for sea life swimming below you, and there are some clusters of coral the closer you get to the island.
Once there, you can tie up your kayak and walk around the entire island in about 30 minutes. You’ll have to pick over rocks on the far northeast side, but on low tide, the south side has a nice wide beach to walk.
Waterfalls near Papageno Resort on Kadavu Island, Fiji.
The hike from Papageno Resort to the waterfalls in the hills south on Kadavu Island is a steep climb through thick rainforest, but on a well-marked path that is not quite 3 miles round trip.
The path is mostly dirt but a few smooth rocks make for a footing challenge if it rained recently. And since it is tropical Fiji, it almost surely has rained recently!
The pools under the waterfalls (the tallest is about 20 feet high) make for a refreshing dip after an elevation gain of about 650 feet. There are a lot of caterpillars making their home around the pools.
If you’re lucky, some of the resort’s resident dogs will accompany you on the trail. And let me know if you find a pair of sunglasses… I lost mine after slipping on a rock in the path. (It had rained recently!)