We had a great experience with Rivers Fiji on the “Rafting the Upper Navua” trip.
The trip takes the whole day, but was well worth it.
Our trip began with a mini-van pick-up at our hotel (Outrigger on the Reef) and a 45min +/- ride towards Pacific Harbor to a meeting point for the rest of the group. There were a few others already in the van from the Denarau area.
After a short wait, the rest of the group arrived from Pacific Harbor, and we joined them in a 4-wheel drive bus. The bus headed up a dirt road into the mountains with some great views. The ride took an hour or so, with one stop for a snack of juice and some great banana bread. Note to the fragile: it is a very bumpy ride at times!
We then exited the bus and were fitted with gear: helmet, life vest & oar. A small waterproof bag was also supplied to those who wanted one to store camera & misc items. Items not wanted on the raft, and a dry change of clothes (if desired), could be left in the bus. A short walk through the woods took us to the launching point.
The group was divided into smaller groups of 4 persons per raft, each raft having a guide; a total of 5 rafts for our group. After some safety instructions and instructions on how/when to paddle, we were off.
The Upper Navua canyon is an amazing sight. Sheer limestone walls and a very narrow river—only 15 to 20 ft wide at the beginning of the trip. The water was cool (May 2008) but not unreasonably so. The rapids were class III and below—easily managed even for those without experience. We got a good splash a few times, and a couple of people on another raft were dumped overboard (but we think it was intentional). We did not have to paddle much, mostly as we entered rapids and on some of the longer flat stretches of the river. Our guide was an expert on knowing the right time when our group was getting tired (maybe a maximum of 5 minutes or so of paddling at a time)
We rafted for about 2 hours until lunchtime along the river. The spot chosen for lunch was at a point where a stream joined the main river as it cascaded over large boulders and ledges into the main river. Just right for a swim if desired. The included lunch consisted of make-your own sandwich, fruit, cookies, etc. along with juice or water. Tasty and was just right for this type of trip.
The guides were all native Fijian, very familiar with the river. Ours was very informative and talkative, explaining what we were seeing and telling us about himself, life in Fiji, etc.
After about an hour for lunch, we returned to the river for another two hours of rafting, with a break after about 1 hour to cool off in a waterfall emptying right into the river.
At the take-out point, everyone helped with deflating the rafts and carting the gear to the equipment truck (assistance in this task not required). After a change to dry clothes (if desired/necessary), it was back in the bus for another hour along dirt/bumpy roads to the main highway and then on to Pacific Harbor (and for us and a few others, a mini-van for the ride back to Sigatoka/Outrigger).
Total time for us, hotel door to door from the Outrigger, was 11 hours. A long day, but very well worth it.
P.S. We made our reservations online before departing for Fiji. Very detailed information about what to expect, what to wear, etc. was provided with the trip confirmation.
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