|MEETING PLACE:||Rivers Fiji Office in Pacific Harbour or at your hotel if a transfer is requested.|
|MEETING TIME:||6:45 AM at the Rivers Fiji office; Hotel pick-up times vary. Please call the local Rivers Fiji office to confirm times and trip status (345-0147)|
|RETURN TIME:||Approximately 5:00 PM to Pacific Harbour|
|RIVER RATING:||Class II-III|
|RIVER MILES:||12 river miles|
|PUT-IN:||Near the village of Nabukelevu in Serua Province|
|TAKE-OUT:||Village of Wainadiro|
|AGE LIMIT:||Minimum age is 8|
|TRIP LENGTH:||1 day|
|BOAT TYPE:||Paddle raft with oar assist|
The Upper 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 Navua then descends into an incredibly narrow gorge, slicing a deep chasm into layers of limestone and volcanic sediment. This canyon is one of the most beautiful features in all of Fiji, if not in the South Pacific and the world.
Flowing through a gorge that’s over 165 feet deep and in sections only 23 feet wide, the Upper Navua is a “River of Eden.” We’ll ride inflatable rafts through a canyon where sunlight illuminates black volcanic rock walls covered by twisting vines and lush ferns and an astounding number of waterfalls plummeting directly into the river. In other places, the silence is profound, broken only by tiny droplets of water echoing in the natural acoustics of small riverside caves. Best of all, the Upper Navua’s fun Class II-III whitewater makes this incredible canyon accessible to paddlers of all experience levels—even beginners.
In 1997 O.A.R.S. President, George Wendt and longtime O.A.R.S. 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 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 O.A.R.S. 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 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. We are proud to operate our Upper Navua River trips in the UNCA and a percentage of your trip cost is paid in use fees to 9 land owning families, 2 villages and the Native Land Trust Board.
The Whitewater 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 Upper 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 splash through the waves of the fun Class II-III whitewater, we bet you won’t even miss the stinging salt in your eyes.
Paddle Raft with Oar Assist—The most agile of any boat in the O.A.R.S. fleet, your guide powers the raft with two hefty oars on a rear-mounted frame, while the crew wields single-bladed paddles up front for added horse-power. Helmets required. (Four to six passengers)
To increase your safety, we expect everyone to watch our 23-minute Whitewater Orientation video before joining us. Watch at https://www.oars.com/experience/safety/ or call 800-346-6277 to request a free DVD. Please don’t leave home without watching.
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 6:45 AM at the Rivers Fiji office. We’ll climb aboard our 4-wheel drive highland carrier and head west along the coast with the sun rising behind us. Guests coming from Nadi or the Coral Coast who have arranged a hotel transfer will have a pick-up time from your hotel that varies depending on location. You will meet the 4×4 carrier 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 40 minutes, we’ll stretch our legs and enjoy a homemade snack. Another 40 minutes in, we arrive at the end of the road. We’ll pack what we need for the day, leaving our dry clothes with the carrier, and begin a short 15-minute hike to the river and where our rafts await.
After a safety talk and paddling practice, we’ll head down river. The rapids start right away and we’ll just be hitting our stride when we come to Moce Falls, the biggest drop of the day, just a half-mile downstream. We’ll pass a waterfall around almost every bend as we are carried swiftly along.
Come midday, we’ll pull over to a sandy beach for a delicious picnic lunch. Your guides will present an abundant spread of meats, cheeses, veggies and bread with all the fixings, fresh fruit, cookies, and juice.
Back on the river, each mile brings more stunning scenery and more fun whitewater. Gradually, the narrow canyon walls fall away and we begin to see signs of civilization. We may encounter a friendly villager aboard a bamboo raft on this stretch of the river as we make our way to the take-out at the village of Wainadiro. Here you will have the opportunity to change into dry clothes for the 1-hour drive back to the Rivers Fiji office in Pacific Harbour, arriving at approximately 5:00 PM.
*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 rafts 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?
- Roundtrip transportation from your hotel (available at an additional charge)
- Insurance of any kind, including travel insurance
- 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 station is opposite the ocean side of the highway on Hibiscus Drive. The Rivers Fiji office is inside 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’s 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!
Our primary goal is for you to have an enjoyable experience. The nature of the trip is such that it involves some physical exertion and potential exposure to the elements, including cold water, heat, sun, wind and rain. We have experience accommodating people with a wide range of physical disabilities and/or health conditions. However, individuals who are overweight or lack conditioning 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. In general, trip participants must be able to:
- Wear a Type III Coast Guard approved personal floatation device (maximum chest size of 56 inches)
- Climb on and off the boats multiple times during the day
- Paddle or hold on to the boat while navigating whitewater rapids
- Navigate uneven terrain
- Self-rescue by swimming to a boat or to shore in the event of an involuntary swim in a whitewater rapid
- Self-rescue by climbing into a boat with the help of another person in the event of an involuntary swim in a whitewater rapid
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 O.A.R.S. 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.
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®)
☐ 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 on each raft (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 while in the raft with other passengers and pack-out cigarette butts.
If you feel your guides have provided a very special trip for you, you may leave a gratuity with the trip leader to be shared among the crew. This tip is entirely at your discretion, though we recommend a general tipping guideline of anything between 8% and 12% of trip cost. 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 O.A.R.S. 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 www.oarsfoundation.org 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 insurance 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 O.A.R.S. 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 www.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.