Have you dived in Paradise?

December 25, 2007 by Scuba Herald 

Next year ScubaHerald team will be traveling to top destinations worldwide trying to describe the best and most perfect diving experiences. To be 100% honest, the ScubaHerald team is very excited to travel and discover the sort of diving you can experience in Paradise… , yes that’s right, we wrote: Paradise. And if you wonder where Paradise is located, think of Taveuni, Fiji. To celebrate the last week of December, ScubaHerald had an interview with a lucky couple: The owners of Paradise Taveuni.

You are both Australians. Do you miss anything about Australia?

We have a great life here with lots of friends and are kept busy in our jobs. Occasionally we would like to go to the movies and Al loves going to the Casino, but apart from that, we are more than content here living in Paradise .

What made you want to live and work in Fiji?

We were offered a position as Management Couple at a Nadi Resort and we had an opportunity to pay our Gold Coast home off and experience living in another country. We stayed for 4 1/2 years and then bought our own resort property.

When was your first trip to Fiji and how has Fiji changed?

We first came to Fiji in 2000 and tourism industry has changed and advanced in many areas. Large Hotel chains have been built in the Nadi area increasing tourism to Fiji. The Fijian people have not changed, however, and in most places still offer warm, genuine Fijian hospitality.

How have your lives changed now you live in Fiji?

We were able to adopt 2 beautiful Indo-Fijian children from Suva (our third baby is still one the way) and our lives have changed dramatically. We were able to buy and build an oceanfront resort where we now live, work and raise our children. Our lives have changed so much and we are grateful for the opportunities we have been given.

You have been busy renovating Paradise Taveuni resort since you took over in 2006. What changes have you made?

The resort used to be called Susies Plantation Resort and was a budget / backpackers Dive Resort for 20 years and owned locally. We took over in April 2006 and have been trading since then doing renovations to the Resort until completion in September 2007. We have knocked down the existing 3 bures and have replaced them with 10 new Fijian Bures. We rebuilt the pool, dive shop and marina and added the Wedding Bure on the oceanfront. We refurbished the main complex to now hold our open-air Oceanview Restaurant and Tekiteki Bar and Allan, being a chef, has installed a new industrial kitchen. Paradise Gifts and Tour desk are also in the main complex.

The new slipway to the south of the property ensures our boats and jetskis are safe and our Security Base and car park ensure Resort Guests and day trippers are secure and safe.

We have also built a small farm to supply fresh fruit and vegetables to the kitchen

Are there any more to come?

We have 10 acres on the other side of the road and have plans to move the work areas here in time - maintenance and generators. We wish to extend the farm to this area and add a small convenience shop for the local people in the area.

Taveuni is becoming well known for its excellent diving conditions. Tell us a little bit about the diving there, and what makes it so spectacular?

The northern islands of Fiji are renowned for its world class diving. Taveuni Island, Fiji’s third largest island has a diverse selection of spectacular dive sites and dive operators. The Somosomo Strait (Fijian for ‘good water’) separates Taveuni from Vanua Levu and experiences strong tidal currents offering continual nutrients offering perfect conditions for soft coral growth and an extensive selection of fish life.

The legendary Rainbow Reef offers 32 km of popular dive sites with the number 1 being the White Wall – a sheer wall of brilliant white soft coral. Rainbow Reef attracts divers from all corners of the globe and of all levels of experience.

Diving exclusively on Vuna Reef and the southern areas of Taveuni, Pro Dive Taveuni on the oceanfront of Paradise, offers some of the best dive sites only a short boat away. With 3 diverse shore dives and some of the best snorkeling around, Pro Dive Taveuni also dives Rainbow Reef.

Do you both dive? If so, when and where was your last dive? (If you have time to dive?)

Yes, we are both divers. Al is a Dive Master and his last dive was last Wednesday on Paradise Reef, one of our best shore dives, when a manta ray with a 3 metre wingspan glided above his head. I am an open water diver and enjoy a relaxing fun dive. My last dive was September 2007 on Paradise Reef.

Many people have been to Fiji, but not so many to Taveuni. What makes this island special?

Taveuni is an undiscovered paradise with raw beauty and adventure. Taveuni has it all - coastal walks along sandy beaches, world-class diving and snorkeling just offshore, luxurious vegetation, pristine tropical rainforests with exotic birds, colourful Fijian and Indo-Fijian villages, and hidden waterfalls. Visitors can choose from a wide selection of lodging ranging from outstanding owner-operated budget and moderately-priced full-service resorts to the finest luxury resorts in the South Pacific.

And, how is it different to the main tourist islands of Fiji?

A strong presence of the Fijian culture and the genuine Fijian hospitality is Taveuni’s strength and the difference between Taveuni and the rest of Fiji. The people are still warm and welcoming, with a sense of innocence, keen to learn and work with the playful Fijian attitude that is lacking in the more populated areas of Fiji. The people of Taveuni are proud to share the traditional stories, dances and sacred sites with our visitors. Therefore Taveuni is an island for those searching for an authentic cultural experience.

Is Taveuni a good place to learn to dive,or is it better suited to experienced divers?

Paradise offers perfect training grounds for beginners with the choice of pool or shore training. Our 3 PADI instructors are on site and offer a large range of courses to choose from - Open Water to Dive Master training is available.

What about our non-diving friends, are there activities to amuse them?

Paradise Taveuni offers an extensive range of activities for the non-diver as well. World class snorkelling, open water swimming, kayaking, fishing trips and the only jet ski’s on Taveuni. Massage and spa services, horse riding, hiking tours, guided tours of the island, bird watching, wild boar hunting and many cultural activities on offer. Learn to Meke, Learn to Speak Fijian, Coconut lesson, guided snorkeling safari, guided kayak adventure, Cannibal Cave tour and more.

Lastly, describe to us a typical day in paradise for a guest at Paradise Taveuni?

Wake up to the ocean and rainforest sounds and make your way to the restaurant to enjoy a leisurely breakfast. Experience a double dive with full service Pro Dive Taveuni on Vuna Reef or Rainbow Reef. Back to the Resort for a poolside lunch and then spend the afternoon selecting from a multitude of activities from a cultural walk to an oceanfront massage, mountain trek horse ride or guided tour, kayak the calm waters of Paradise or find yourself a shady hammock. Enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail on the point while listening to Fijian serenading and then dine under the stars enjoying a romantic dinner for 2 and a delicious 4 course meal or join other resort guests for a lively dinner and get to know the resort managers and other guests. Retire to your Fijian bure and drift off into a tranquil sleep in your comfortable and generous king bed under the thatched Fijian Bure roof.

For more info please check Paradise Taveuni

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