|RETURN TIME:||Approximately 4:00 PM to Pacific Harbour|
|RIVER RATING:||Class I|
|RIVER MILES:||5 miles kayaking, 8.5 miles in a motorized longboat|
|AGE LIMIT:||Minimum age is 8|
|TRIP LENGTH:||1 day|
|BOAT TYPE:||Inflatable kayak|
The Navua River is born of natural springs and rainfall in the rugged interior of Viti Levu, Fiji’s big island. After following a meandering path from its headwaters through rolling rainforested highlands, the Upper portion of the Navua descends into an incredibly narrow gorge, slicing a deep chasm into layers of limestone and volcanic sediment. From there, the canyon widens, the waters slow and the people of this ancient land make the fertile canyon their home. It is here where our journey begins.
As if through a land lost in time, we travel the interior rainforest along this life-line of the local people. The Middle Navua River passes quietly through untouched lands, often the only sound coming from our paddles. We’ll float by remote villages, where homes and farms dot the hillsides, children play and boats ferry goods. A short walk brings us to a remote and beautiful waterfall, where the cascades fill spectacular pools. At the confluence of two mighty rivers, our mode of transport changes from kayaks to a motorized longboat, which takes us through one of country’s largest waterways and below hanging flora and cliffs, streaming waterfalls and the afternoon sky.
In 1997 OARS President, George Wendt and longtime OARS friends, Nate and Kelly Bricker founded Rivers Fiji as the first whitewater rafting company in Fiji. Since then, Rivers Fiji has employed local residents to manage day-to-day rafting & sea kayaking operations, and help guide adventurous travelers from around the globe down the Upper and Middle portions of the Navua River and the ‘Luva River–two of the most beautiful tropical rivers on the planet. Historically, Fiji’s tourism development has been focused primarily on the coastal communities, with Fiji’s interior populations receiving little benefit. Rivers Fiji, however, provides economic alternatives to people whose previous development options were limited to logging and resource extraction. Friendly, knowledgeable and hospitable Fijian guides make the trips here unlike any other experience OARS offers.
The Upper Navua Conservation Area
Our partner outfitter, Rivers Fiji, Ltd—along with the help of a number of indigenous landowning groups, a logging company, and the Native Land Trust Board—created the Upper Navua Conservation Area in the highlands of Viti Levu. The UNCA is a 17-km conservation corridor just upstream of the Middle Navua that protects the river and 200 meters to either side from future logging and gravel extraction. It maintains the pristine natural state of the Upper Navua River canyon and guarantees natural capital for the indigenous highland residents. By joining us on the Middle Navua, you help support this conservation effort.
The River is Fresh
As a destination for a beach vacation, Fiji has few rivals. The ocean water is clear and wonderfully warm, and there are many fine resorts spanning the spectrum from luxury to budget. The snorkeling, diving, surfing and beach lounging possibilities are nothing short of world-class. But if all these activities share one blight, it is their reliance on salty ocean water. The water in the Navua River is gloriously fresh, flowing from highland springs and collected rainwater; a day in the highlands is the perfect reprieve from the salt and crowds on the coast. As you journey through this ancient land by kayak, we bet you won’t even miss the stinging of salt in your eyes.
Inflatable Kayak—Also known as duckies, inflatable kayaks float low to the water, putting you in touch with the pull of the current and splash of every wave. Using a kayak paddle with a blade on both ends, you’ll be in control of your own boat, choosing your path among the currents and bends of the river.
We pride ourselves in running a relaxed and flexible schedule. Every trip is different depending upon the group, other trips on the water and sometimes the weather. The following is a sample of what your trip might be like:
For guests meeting us in Pacific Harbour, the day begins with a meeting time of 8:30 AM at the Rivers Fiji office. We’ll climb aboard our 4×4 highland carrier and head west along the coast with the sun rising behind us. Guests coming from Nadi, the Coral Coast or Suva who have arranged a hotel transfer with us, you will have a pick-up time from your hotel that varies depending on location. You will meet the 4×4 carrier, along with guests coming from Pacific Harbour, at the junction of the Queens Highway and the dirt logging road that leads to the river.
The drive along the bumpy but scenic logging track ascends steeply to a coastal ridge before winding into the rain-forested interior. After about 45 minutes, we’ll stretch our legs and enjoy a homemade snack. Another 45 minutes in, we arrive at the village of Wainadiro. We’ll pack what we need for the day, leaving our dry clothes with the carrier, and begin a short descent to the river and our kayaks.
After a safety talk and paddling practice, we’ll head down river. The slow, easy current allows for graceful, casual paddle strokes. You’ll enjoy the scenery of tree-covered, lush jungle and swirling currents. Our liquid pathway takes us past villages and farms—a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the residents of the interior highlands. People may be fishing or working on their boat, or perhaps pushing their bilibili (a traditional bamboo raft) loaded with fresh produce for the market in town.
We’ll pull over on a sandy beach, where we park our boats and leave the river behind for a short hike to a magnificent waterfall. Stand below the towering cascade for a free massage or swim in the fresh, clear pools. You’ll have plenty of time to revel in this tropical paradise. Upon our return to the river, we’re met by a delicious picnic lunch—an abundant spread of meats, cheeses, veggies and bread with all the fixings, fresh fruit, cookies and juice.
A short paddle downstream brings us to the village of Namuamua and the confluence of the Navua and ‘Luva Rivers. We’ll roll up the kayaks and board a motorized longboat for the remainder of the journey, winding through another breathtaking canyon with many waterfalls, exotic birds and giant fruit bats. We’ll meet our vehicle near the village of Nakavu and make the 30-minute drive back to Pacific Harbour.
*Note–we do not recommend people join our trip the same day as a departing flight from Nadi. We cannot guarantee a specific return time to any hotel after the trip.
- Skilled, professional guide service provided by our affiliate operator
- Delicious picnic lunch and snacks
- High quality inflatable kayaks and related river equipment including paddle, helmet, personal flotation device, splash jacket and small waterproof dry bag (17” tall x 9” diameter, sealed)
- Transfer from the meeting place to the river and back
What’s Not Included?
- Round trip transportation from your hotel (available at an additional charge)
- Insurance of any kind, including a travel protection plan
- Items of a personal nature
Meeting Place & Time
Roundtrip hotel transfers are available for an additional charge from hotels in Nadi, along the Coral Coast and from Suva. Cost and pick-up times vary depending on location. We provide complimentary transfers from accommodations in Pacific Harbour. Please call the Rivers Fiji office (345-0147) upon arrival into Fiji to confirm your reservation and pickup time.
Getting to the Rivers Fiji Office
The Rivers Fiji office is located in Pacific Harbour, behind the Mobil service station. Follow the Queens Highway to Pacific Harbour: the Mobil station is opposite the ocean side of the highway on Hibiscus Drive. The Rivers Fiji office is down a gravel drive, to the left of the Mobil station. If you are driving, park your vehicle in the parking lot in front of the Rivers Fiji office. Allow 2.5 hours from the Nadi/Denarau area and 1 hour from Suva.
Pre- and Post-Trip Accommodations (not included in your trip cost)
If you are not already staying at one of the island resorts and would like accommodations in Pacific Harbour:
You may want to check one week prior to your trip for an up-to-date forecast of weather predictions in Fiji. We recommend you check the following web site: www.wunderground.com.
The Fijian archipelago has a mild tropical maritime climate and generally stable temperatures all year round. Fiji’s so-called ‘wet season’ is from November to April and is the hotter part of the year, while the ‘dry season’ is from May to October. The reality, however, is that rainfall is fairly consistent each month of the year. Because it is on the windward side of Viti Levu (Fiji’s largest island), Pacific Harbour receives more annual rainfall than resort areas closer to Nadi on the leeward side. In our case, this increased rainfall translates to more water in the Upper Navua River and more fun in the rapids!
Essential Eligibility Criteria for River Trips
The following are the physical and mental eligibility criteria for all participants on any OARS river trip.
1. Ability to remain seated and balanced while in a whitewater craft while holding on with at least one hand.
2. Wear a Type V Coast Guard-approved personal floatation device (maximum chest size of 56 inches). Wearing leg straps may be required to ensure proper fit. Where required, properly wear a helmet.
3. Ability to independently board and disembark a boat four to ten times each day. This may require stepping into the boat, and then maneuvering your body over and across tubes and fixed objects into a seated position.
4. Ability to independently navigate shoreline terrain, including safely maneuvering around and across boulders, rocks, and slippery and uneven surfaces, under low branches, and around vegetation. This includes the ability to maintain your balance near precipitous ledges or cliffs.
5. Ability to independently swim in whitewater or swift currents while wearing a PFD. This includes being an active participant in your own rescue, including having the ability to (a) keep your airway passages sealed while underwater, and regain control of your breathing when being submitted to repeated submersion under waves or currents; (b) orient yourself to new “in-river” surroundings; (c) reposition yourself in the water to different swimming positions; (d) swim aggressively to a boat or to shore in whitewater; (e) receive a rescue rope, paddle, or human assistance, and possibly let go of the same; (f) get out from under an overturned boat.
6. Ability to swim 100 yards in flat water while wearing a PFD.
7. Ability to assist another passenger who has fallen out of the boat by pulling them back in.
8. Ability to follow both verbal and non-verbal instructions given by guides in all situations, including during stressful or dangerous situations, and to effectively communicate with guides and other guests.
9. Ability to carry personal dry bags and other personal gear (as heavy as 20-30 pounds) uphill from the boats to your camping location and back the next morning, independently, or with the assistance of a friend or family member. (This only applies on multi-day trips).
10. Ability to manage all personal care independently, or with the assistance of a friend or family member.
11. If taking prescription medications, have the ability to maintain proper dosage by medicating independently, or with the assistance of a friend or family member.
12. Ability to remain adequately fed, hydrated, and properly dressed so as to avoid environmental injuries such as hypothermia, heat related illness, sunburn and frostbite.
The above criteria, if not met, will disqualify a person from participating in a river trip with OARS. The criteria exist for your own safety and that of all trip participants. None of the criteria are meant to discriminate on the basis of any physical or mental disability, and are applied uniformly to all potential trip participants, irrespective of the presence or absence of any disability. OARS is committed to making reasonable modifications to any trip for any persons with a disability, so long as they do not fundamentally alter the nature of the trip.
Further Information About Our Expectations of Trip Participants
The following paragraphs are meant to further inform all potential participants of the expectations for all participants in order to promote a safe, enjoyable experience for everyone on a trip. There may be requirements, whether physical or mental, that are not specifically applied “essential eligibility criteria”, but that help our guests understand the reality of being on a wilderness river trip.
Our primary goal is to minimize the risks associated with adventure trips in a wilderness environment. The trip involves physical exertion and exposure to the elements, including cold water and the potential for heat, sun, wind, rain and snow. We have experience accommodating people with a wide range of physical disabilities and/or health conditions. However, individuals who are overweight, lack conditioning, or have other physical limitations or ailments that interfere with the realistic encounters on a wilderness river can endanger themselves, other guests, and the guides. Please consult your doctor if you have medical or health conditions that could impact your ability to participate in this outdoor adventure.
It is very important that each trip participant take an active role in their own safety. You will likely encounter wilderness conditions that you are unfamiliar with, and those conditions may change rapidly. It is critical to pay attention at all times, to be aware of your surroundings, and to avoid taking unnecessary risks. Even a non-life threatening injury in a wilderness setting can become a major emergency for you, and can endanger the entire group. Swimming alone or hiking alone is discouraged. Excessive alcohol consumption or illicit drug use is not tolerated. Using common sense and following both the explicit instruction and the lead of your guides can go a long way towards keeping yourself and the group safe. Some obvious things to avoid in camp and on shore (by way of example) are: walking around without shoes in camp, approaching wild animals, not paying attention to what is above or around your tent site that could harm you, not paying attention to hazards such as poison ivy and rattlesnakes, and walking near precipitous ledges.
River trips, particularly those involving whitewater, are inherently risky. While the risk of a trip is part of what makes it an exciting adventure, you must be entirely respectful of the risk that such a trip poses. It is important that you are confident in your swimming ability, and your ability to stay calm in the event you become a non-voluntary swimmer. Your odds of becoming a non-voluntary swimmer change with the classification of a rapid, boat selection and environmental factors. On class IV and greater whitewater, the probability that you will become a non-voluntary swimmer is significant. A swim in whitewater is much more difficult and physically draining than swimming in flat water. Swimming in cold water can cause a gasping effect on your respiratory system. This can be overcome by focusing on your breathing and calming yourself down. Swimming in cold water will also much more quickly sap your energy and decrease muscle function than swimming in warmer water. While our guides are highly trained and will do their absolute best to rescue you, a successful rescue is greatly hampered by a swimmer who is unprepared for a swim in whitewater, who fails to actively participate in their own rescue, and who is not able to follow directions while under stress. You will receive a detailed orientation talk at the start of your river trip, but you can get a better idea of what to expect by watching a version of an orientation talk here: http://www.oars.com/videos/oars-whitewater-orientation.
Due to the physical nature of this trip, we highly recommend that you engage in regular exercise for at least three months prior to departure to ensure preparedness. No gym membership required! Simple exercises like push-ups, sit-ups and squats go a long way to improving core fitness. Start with these exercises and do three sets of ten repetitions each, three to four times per week. Aerobic training is also easy to accomplish without expensive equipment. Take 30 – 40 minutes two to three times a week and go for a brisk walk, easy jog or bike ride around town. If you have access to a pool, lake or the ocean, swimming is obviously an ideal choice for aerobic exercise. It provides a full-body workout and is training that is useful in the event of an involuntary swim in a whitewater rapid. It is important to push yourself in the months leading up to your trip by increasing your strength training repetitions and the pace of your aerobic training. Check with your doctor prior to beginning any exercise program to be sure you are medically safe to participate. Starting an exercise program that is more strenuous than you are ready for may result in injury or risk exacerbating existing health conditions. Getting in shape will certainly add to your enjoyment of the trip.
The best choice is an amphibious shoe that drains water, protects your toes and won’t come off in swirling current. A retired pair of athletic shoes can work well, too. Sport sandals with a heel strap are a good option, especially on rivers with sandy beaches. The hike to the put-in is steep in places and often slippery. You will want footwear in which you feel confident for these conditions. Find professional-grade options made by Chaco®, the official footwear sponsor of OARS guides.
Start with sunscreen, a swimsuit, shorts, and long-sleeved shirt, and then add additional layers if needed. As the day warms up layers can be taken off and stored in your daypack. You may want a jacket or windbreaker if it’s a rainy day as temps can be surprisingly cool on the river and during the longboat ride.
Protecting yourself from the sun when on the water should be taken seriously. A hat, sunscreen, lip balm and sunglasses are a must.
What to Bring
☐ Sunscreen & lip protection: waterproof and SPF 30 or higher
☐ Water bottle with a carabiner to attach it to the boat
☐ Shade hat/visor which is flexible enough to fit under your helmet
☐ Sunglasses (preferably polarized) with securing strap
☐ Bathing suit
☐ Shorts (long board shorts preferable for sun protection) and quick drying top
☐ River shoes or sandals with a heel strap (such as those made by Chaco® chacos.com)
☐ Dry clothes and shoes to change into after your trip
Find all the gear you need for your trip online in the OARStore and receive FREE SHIPPING in the U.S. + 15% of your purchase helps provide disadvantaged youth with outdoor adventure experiences.
Please let us know if you have any medical issues or dietary needs that we’ll need to consider in planning your trip.
We provide a small waterproof bag (17” tall x 9” diameter—approximate sealed size) to hold your camera and other items you might need during the day. While these bags are designed to be waterproof, you may wish to place your camera in a zip-lock plastic bag or waterproof casing for additional protection. We also strongly recommend you take out a rider on your homeowner’s policy to cover your camera—especially if it’s fine equipment. If you are planning on bringing a digital camera make sure to bring additional memory cards, batteries, and any other extras you will need. Disposable waterproof and panorama cameras are also a fun option.
Each participant will need to complete the required trip forms online and submit them no later than 30 days prior to your trip.
In order to ensure that each passenger experiences the pristine condition of the river canyon, all of our trips practice a “leave no trace” environmental and social ethic. All garbage and waste packed in are also packed out. We ask that you refrain from smoking around other passengers and pack-out cigarette butts.
Tipping is optional, but appreciated by our staff. If you are wondering how much to tip, you may consider that we operate in a service industry with a host of behind-the-scenes contributors in addition to the guides on your trip. In general, we suggest a gratuity based on 10 – 15% of the trip cost. It is customary on trips for gratuities to be given to the Trip Leader, who will then distribute appropriately amongst all the guides and support staff. If you plan to tip, remember to bring cash—ATM’s are not readily available.
In reviewing your statement, you’ll notice a $1 per person per day donation to International Rivers, a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to protecting rivers and defending the rights of the surrounding communities. Their work helps stop destructive dams and promotes water and energy solutions for a just and sustainable world. One-hundred percent of these funds go directly to protecting rivers, and your contribution is tax-deductible. This donation is voluntary and may be removed from your invoice if you choose not to participate. Please notify our office to delete the donation from your balance.
If you enjoyed your trip, consider donating to the OARS Foundation. This organization is a not-for-profit 501 (c) 3 organization with the express goal of providing opportunities for young people to experience the magic of the outdoors. Visit https://www.oars.com/oars-foundation/ to learn more about how a tax-deductible donation can change young lives for the better.
Terms & Conditions
Reservations and Deposits
Full payment is due at the time of reservation.
Cancellations and Refunds
If you find it necessary to cancel your trip, please notify us as soon as possible.
|DATE OF CANCELLATION||CANCELLATION FEE|
|30 days or more prior||$30/person|
|29 or less prior, late arrivals or “no shows”||No refund or credit|
Under most circumstances, if you are of an adventurous spirit and in reasonably good health, you should have no problem enjoying an O.A.R.S. International People with medical conditions, including pregnancy, should have a physician’s approval before taking an adventure travel trip.
We strongly recommend that you protect yourself, your belongings and your vacation through the purchase of a travel protection plan. They cover your non-refundable payments in most cases, should you have to cancel your trip due to illness or injury—yours or that of an extended family member—even at the last minute. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, pre-existing medical conditions may be covered. No one wants an expensive helicopter to become necessary, but if you need to be evacuated or if an immediate family member dies and the local management agency is requested to notify you by helicopter, the helicopter expenses will be your responsibility. Evacuations can be prolonged, difficult and expensive. Personal belongings and cameras are carried entirely at the owner’s risk, and OARS accepts no responsibility for lost, damaged, delayed or stolen property. You can protect yourself through Travel Insurance Services or with alternative insurance. Call Travel Insurance Services at 800-937-1387 or visit their website at travelinsure.com/cobrand/OARS.
Everyone is required to sign a standard liability release form before the trip, acknowledging awareness that there are inherent risks associated with the trip. Due to the nature of the activities, a condition of your participation is that you will sign this form and return it to our office before the trip begins. Anyone who refuses to sign the form will not be allowed to participate, and consistent with O.A.R.S. International cancellation policy, there will be no refund of the trip fees at that time.
Responsibility – An Important Notice
O.A.R.S. International, Inc., Rivers Fiji, Ltd. and cooperating agencies act only in the capacity of agent for the participants in all matters relating to transportation and/or all other related travel services, and assume no responsibility however caused for injury, loss or damage to person or property in connection with any service, including but not limited to that resulting directly or indirectly from acts of God, detention, annoyance, delays and expenses arising from quarantine, strikes, theft, pilferage, force majeure, failure of any means of conveyance to arrive or depart as scheduled, civil disturbances, government restrictions or regulations, and discrepancies or change in transit over which it has no control. Reasonable changes in itinerary may be made where deemed advisable for the comfort and well-being of the participants, including cancellation due to water fluctuation, insufficient bookings (this trip requires a minimum of 4 guests) and other factors. There is risk in whitewater rafting, particularly during high-water conditions. Rafts, dories and kayaks do capsize. You could be swept overboard. Your guide will make every attempt to assist, but you must be strong and agile enough to “self-help” and “float-it-out” without further endangering yourself or others. We reserve the right not to accept passengers weighing more than 260 pounds or with a waist/chest size exceeding 56 inches. We may decide, at any time, to exclude any person or group for any reason we feel is related to the safety of our trips. We are experienced at accommodating people with various disabilities. Please give us an opportunity to make you feel welcome. We need to discuss any special requirements ahead of time. On advancement of deposit the depositor agrees to be bound by the above recited terms and conditions. Prices subject to change without notice.
Rivers Fiji, Ltd., a travel partner of O.A.R.S. International is the operator of this trip. A Rivers Fiji representative will meet you and escort you throughout the program. These Fijian staff members are the very best. They will do their best to ensure your complete satisfaction.