The amazing trek up Vaturua Mountain

by Scott Balson on location...

The three hour trek with your guide Toye takes you from the village, up a river valley onto the spine of a hill. The walk is comparatively easy up to this point - and the views of Malevu's miles of beach are quite stunning. You follow the spine of the grassy hill up to the first of the bushy areas and then into areas which have been cultivated by Toye's family - including kava, taro and cassava. During this walk you will become aware of the amazing quantity of brightly coloured butterflies on the island.

The fantastic views of mile upon

mile of perfect beach from the top

of the grassy knoll

Mount Vaturua rises up above you

It is at this point the climb becomes quite difficult with the steepness of the path changing quite dramatically. In fact the path will become very difficult from this point on if it is raining or the ground is wet and slippery.

The cultivated fields

and view back to the hilly spine A landslide forms part of the path

For the hardy the climb is worth every ounce of energy as a few hundred meters from this point you enter  the first of two major forested areas with a few massive trees (and I MEAN massive) dominating - the roots of the biggest covering areas the size of a large house.

A smaller tree

The roots of this tree covers
the size of a large house!

Historic Vaturua Cave

After you have again crossed a creek and climbed some really steep banks you arrive at the forgotten Vaturua Cave I say forgotten because when Toye and I climbed up to it no-one had been there since 1979 and the entrance was (and still is) largely obscured by a massive curtain of roots from one of the massive trees growing above it. In fact entering the cave it is like getting into a maze ... ! I was told that I was the first white man to visit the cave since the Americans left in 1942! 

Image right: Toye points to the cave completely hidden from view by the roots of the massive tree. He then cut a path (maze) into it.

The cave, the size of a small house, was used by the American Army as a look out point across the sea between Viti Levu and the Yasawas for a few months during the second world war - but the only evidence of the their presence is a small cement plaque with some of the their names engraved in it,  Toye has placed a book and pen in the cave, you can sign the book and record your successful climb to this historic cave.

Images taken in historic Vaturua Cave where the US Army stayed during World War II

Inside the cave - the curtain of roots
can be clearly seen on the left - with
thousands of beautiful moths

The moths on the
ceiling  of the cave

The cement plaque that carries
the names of Fijian school
teachers and soldiers

Toye in the cave

One of the many corridors in the
Vaturua Cave

Me in the cave -
get the Fijian hat Toye made!!

Vaturua Mountain

For those moving on to the top of the mountain there is still some work ahead with some steep paths up a stream and finally some serious rock climbing (you have footholds and handholds up the cliff which lies at about a 30 degree slope from the back of the large rock. The vertical face of the rock looking over Malevu rises about 100 meters has never been conquered yet. From the relatively easy climb you can, on a clear day, look out over this cliff and admire the Yasawa Island group from the north to the south.

Vaturua mountain is the highest point on Naviti Island - you can see the Yasawa Island group north and south from the top.

Final climb and views from the top

Toye hacking his way up

The steep rocky

climb at the end

Views of the Yasawa Islands
looking north to Matacawalevu

The small islands off Malevu where
the snorkeling is just amazing!

More of the Yasawa group

The east coast of Naviti Island from the top of Mount Vaturua with miles and miles of sandy beaches

Looking south towards Waya Island

Waya Island in the distance
in southern Yasawa group

Rugged views

If you have taken the sunrise breakfast option Toye prepares the food while you take photos - if you have binoculars bring them as well!

Anyone for

breakfast?

A fantastic trek!

Image right: on our way back down looking towards the cliff we sat on

The return trek to the cave takes about two hours and the top of mount Vaturua about three hours.

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