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Kadavu Island

Kadavu, Fiji

Kadavu with an area of 411 square kilometres, is the fourth largest island in Fiji. Its main administrative centre is Vunisea, which has an airport, a high school, a hospital, and a government station, on the Namalata Isthmus where the island is almost cut in two. Suva, Fiji's capital, lies 88 kilometres to the north of Kadavu.

The island is 60 kilometres long, with a width varying from 365 metres  to 8 kilometres. The island is almost sliced in two at the narrow Namalata Isthmus, which separates Namalata Bay on the northern coast from Galoa Harbour on the southern coast. Within Galoa Harbour lie  Galoa and the tiny islet of Tawadromu. Kadavu is characterized by its rugged and mountainous terrain. The tallest mountain is Nabukelevu , also known as Mount Washington, which stands at 805 metres  high, on the western end of the island.

Kadavu still has 75% of its original rainforest cover and a rich bird diversity, including four species endemic  to the island, the velvet dove , the crimson shining parrot, the Kadavu Honey Eater  and the Kadavu Faintail, in addition to several endemic subspecies  (such as a subspecies of the island thrush). Offshore, stringing around the south, east and then away to the north, is the Great Astrolabe Reef, a large barrier reef  that is one of Fiji's premier scuba diving resorts.


William Bligh was the first known European to sight Kadavu, which he discovered in 1792 on his second voyage to Fiji on HMS Providence. He was followed in 1799 by the United States vessel Ann & Hope, skippered by C. Bently en route from Australia. In 1827, French commander Dumont d’Urville nearly shipwrecked Astrolabe  on the reef that now bears the vessel's name. The island later became home to beche-de-mer traders, as well as whalers. Galoa Harbour became a regular port of call for vessels carrying mail between Sydney, San Francisco and Auckland.

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