Life on the water is such an integral part of Kadavu that it’s little wonder watersports are the main attraction for visitors – in particular scuba diving, thanks to the phenomenal 100km-long Astrolabe Reef. Snorkelling can be arranged at your resort.
The Astrolabe Reef can be divided into two distinct sections: the 50km northern loop, forming a figure of eight shape, is all in open water, entwined with canyons, arches and other spectacular seascapes; while the section of reef hugging the east and south coast of Kadavu to Galoa Harbour has five rich current-fed passages all featuring a profusion of soft corals. There are strong drift dives at Naiqoro, shallow corals at Vesi, sharks at Nacomoto, fans at Soso and manta rays at Galoa.
Dwarfed by the Astrolabe, the equally impressive and diverse Namalata Reef off the north coast of Vunisea is used by Matana Beach Resort and Papageno Resort, which both operate their own private dive boats. Note that there are no independent dive operators for those staying in Vunisea.
The passages at Soso and Vesi have unpredictable but sometimes massive surfing breaks, most easily accessible from Matana Beach Resort on the southeast coast. The best spot for surfing, though, is off the western tip of Kadavu. Here you can surf the gnarly left at King Kong, or, if on the rare occasion it’s blown out, head around the point to Daku Beach where there are both reef breaks and a beach break for beginners.
It’s possible to kayak around Kadavu in nine days or Ono Island in seven days, camping on beaches, staying in villages or bedding down at a budget resort along the way. New Zealand outfit Tamarillo Tropical Expeditions (360 3043, tamarillo.co.nz; 7-day all-inclusive packages start from NZ$2295 per person) have well-organized itineraries and great contacts with the local villages, with guided two-person sea kayaks and support boats. It can be hard work, with a minimum of five hours of paddling in sometimes choppy seas working muscles you never knew existed, but it’s a great way to experience the island’s remote coastlines and villages. Less strenuous overnight packages and day-trips exploring the mangrove estuaries run on demand from the base camp at Korolevu Bay on the southeastern corner of Kadavu.
Game fishing charters using top-of-the-range gear are available from Matava on the southeast coast of Kadavu. You can cast in the surrounding reefs for Giant Trevallys or trawl between 1000m and 3000m of water for marlin, tuna and sailfish. More casual hand-line fishing can also be organized from all resorts.