Wainibau Falls (pronounced “wye-nim-BAU”) was a very beautiful waterfall at the end of the scenic 5km Lavena Coastal Walk, part of which is in the Bouma National Heritage Park. It wasn’t particularly tall (I think it was like 10-15m or something), but I thought it was beautifully situated behind a calm and clear plunge pool lying mysteriously behind a little gorge requiring a swim to get right up to the falls.
The Lavena Coastal Walk would’ve made for a rather long out-and-back hiking excursion, but at the suggestion of the locals in the Lavena village, we only had to do this as a one-way shuttle hike as they boated us to the Savulevu Yavonu Waterfall before dropping us off at the mouth of the Wainibau Stream. So keep that in mind if you’re trying to budget how much time to plan for this excursion on your own trip.
From there, we walked about 1km upstream to Wainibau Falls. Encouraged by the local guide, I joined him in a swim further upstream behind the narrow gorge walls towards the base of the waterfall. It was only here at the base of the falls that I noticed there was a second waterfall to the left of the main falls. Without doing the swim, I don’t think there would’ve been a safe way to see it without getting wet. So I guess it was more-or-less a reward for cooling off and venturing a little beyond the official trail.
After we were done with the falls, we then did the full 5km walk along the eastern coastline of Taveuni Island. Along the way, we crossed over a swinging bridge (I believe a sign here indicated that it was built with help from the Kiwis from New Zealand), past a village, and all the while being treated to gorgeous coastal views, beaches, and lagoons.
Among the coastal sights included some interesting rock formations (such as the Pedestal Rocks) where it was real easy to imagine shapes like mushrooms, little goblins, or other figments of the imagination thanks to the weathering of the ocean giving rise to rocks of unusual shapes.
Moreover, our guide also showed us some of the beach spots said to be where they filed The Blue Lagoon. Having seen the movie, we could definitely tell they were indeed in Taveuni!
All in all, it took us a pretty solid 3 hours to go from where the boat dropped us off at the mouth of the stream responsible to Wainibau Falls to the falls itself, and then return to the trailhead. I’d imagine if you didn’t have the aid of the boat shuttle, then the overall walk would be around 10km round trip and would probably require somewhere close to 5 or 6 hours total.
Lavena Village sits at the end of the unsealed main road in Eastern Taveuni. We self drove from the Garden Island Resort near Waiyevo to Lavena, which was about 44km. However, it is possible to save money and take the shuttle here, but doing so might end up compromising flexibility (like seeing Tavoro Waterfalls on the same day).
From the village of Lavena, that’s where you have the option of doing the long out-and-back all-day hike, or do what we did and see other waterfalls along the Ravilevu Coast while turning the Lavena Coastal Walk into a one-way shuttle hike.
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