Mount Tomanivi (or Mount Victoria, a name leftover from Fiji’s time as a British Colony) is the highest peak in Fiji Islands, at 1,324 m/ 4,343 ft. It is located on the main island of Viti Levu. Hiking Mount Tomanivi on a clear day, you can see the popular tourist islands of Fiji and reef to the west.
As you know I love hiking my mountains whilst travelling; however, on my visit to Fiji, I opted for island hopping instead of hiking Mt Tomanivi! Interestingly, Mt Tomanivi is very similar in height to the highest mountain in the UK, Ben Nevis at 1,345 m/ 4,413 ft which I climbed last year. Climbing the highest mountain in a country is always a great challenge and I would love to return to complete this hike. Amy from Chasing Stars shares her experience of hiking Mt Tomanivi in Fiji in this guest post. Including tops tips for the hike.
Driving to the start point at Navai Village
The hike up Mount Tomanivi, the highest mountain in Fiji is no small feat, but the drive to the start of the hike almost rivalled the hike itself. We departed for our adventure in the early morning from Suva, the capital of Fiji. Our friend, Kyle, had rented a car for a few days for us to explore the local area.
How to get to Mt Tomanivi start point? We made the mistake of trusting Google Maps to get us to Navai. Google Maps tells you to take the most direct route, north from Suva. The section from Kings Road to Navai is gravel and mountainous. We pushed our poor rental car to the limits but made it safely in one piece.
It’s about a five and a half hour drive from Suva to Navai. Then nearly a 5-hour hike, and the drive back. We were gone for 16 hours.
The easier option is to travel from Nadi, the main airport in Fiji. Take King’s Road which is only a two and a half hour drive to Navai. Alternatively, you can stay at one of the few hotels on the north shore of Fiji on Kings Road.
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Surrounding Nature on Mount Tomanivi, Fiji
Mount Tomanivi is part of the Tomanivi Nature Reserve in Fiji, which is identified as an ‘Important Bird Area’ by BirdLife International. The reserve is supposedly home to the critically endangered red-throated lorikeet, an endemic species of Fiji that hasn’t been sighted formally since 1993. But the area is so wild and rugged, it’s easy to imagine the bird living undetected for decades.
The location is also home to several other rare and endemic species who depend on the untouched forest for the homes. We were thankful not to see very much forestry activity on our drive and most of the forest remains untouched.
What to take on your day hike?
- Bring plenty of water
- Food and snacks to last the day (including the drive), as there are very few if any, restaurants or shops along the way.
- A change of clothes for the drive back (you may be muddy!)
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get yourself a Guide up the Mountain
Navai is a small, typical Fijian village. While visiting, I wrapped a sarong around my hiking shorts to be respectful of the conservative Fijian culture. Many people who visit Fiji are only used to the island beaches out west, where there are many tourist resorts. The rest of Fiji is fairly conservative and ladies often swim fully clothed in t-shirts and long skirts.
We spoke to the first villager we saw, asking for a guide to go up the mountain. It is required to have a Fijian guide from the village for Hiking Mount Tomanivi. At the end of our hike, we each paid a fee of $20 FJ plus an additional $35 FJ for the guide.
Starting the Mt Tomanivi hike
Our guide’s name was Bela, as we started off on the trail he told us about the local village and answered our questions.
The conversation didn’t last long though. After about half an hour hiking the trail up the mountain started to get steep and slippery. The weather was not ideal for our hike, as it was almost completely overcast. Occasionally, it lightly drizzled on us. At least it was not unbearably hot!
The hike itself is 4.5 km/ 2.8 miles and has an elevation climb of 600 m/ 1,968 ft. The last section hiking Mount Tomanivi is along the ridge, walking around the volcanic crater to the highest point.
Reaching the top of Mount Tomanivi
At the top is a sign with Fijian flags – a great photo opportunity! Although it was cloudy, we were still able to see the nearby mountain tops and look down upon the village in which we started the hike.
Our guide told us that for good luck, the Fijian Sevens rugby team hiked up Mount Tomanivi before taking off to the Rio Olympics. It must have worked, because they brought home Fiji’s first ever medal, a gold in Rugby Sevens, the most popular sport in Fiji.
Our hike was only months after the Olympics, so all of Fiji was buzzing about their medal – nearly every stop we made on our trip had a Fijian Rugby Team story.
Our trip back down Mount Tomanivi was complete with slips and falls in the mud – even our guide Bela fell once. We also ran into some of the local cows, belonging to the village. We returned to Navai muddy and tired. The villagers offer a space to change clothes and a spigot to wash down our legs and arms.
You can watch the video of our hike to Mount Tomanivi in Fiji, along with other adventures on Viti Levu in our video.
Top tips for the Mount Tomanivi hike
- Bring food, as there’s no place on the hike to purchase food along the way
- A change of clothes will be appreciated if it rains it will be muddy
- Remember to bring Fijian Dollars to pay your guide at the end of the hike
- Dress appropriately for the Fijian village
About the author
Amy is travelling around the world on a sailboat with her husband, David. They get to stop at some of the most beautiful and remote locations in the world and immerse themselves with the locals.
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