“Do you think this is safe?” I asked my friend before clamoring up the trail to the top of the Waitavala water slide.
“Come on!” Nui waved with a smile.
I tiptoed and braced myself against the slippery rocks, trusting our local guide completely.
The Waitavala water slide is a natural rock slide found on the island of Taveuni in Fiji. While many of Fiji’s other islands grace the covers of travel magazines for their white sand beaches, Taveuni has been nicknamed Fiji’s “Garden Island” thanks to its lush landscape. You won’t find many white sand beaches here, but you will be able to discover many waterfalls like Tavoro Falls, forest trails, and vibrant coral reefs off of its shoreline.
In this post, I’ll show you everything you need to know for your visit to the Waitavala Water Slide.
Water slide part of the video starts at 2:49.
Hiking to the Waitavala Water Slide: Overview
Distance: 3.2 mi (5 km) round-trip.
Difficulty: Easy/moderate. The hike to the Waitavala water slide is well trod and not too steep. However, you may have to cross streams and there are some sections with slippery rocks.
Is it safe?: The water slide is safe if you go during dry season or in between long periods of rain. It is too dangerous to slide down after a heavy rain or during cyclone season. This is why I recommend visiting with a guide. If you go alone and don’t see locals sliding down, I’d reassess. When in doubt, enjoy the water from one of the many cool rock pools. Don’t slide from the top of the trail–the slide is found near the bottom.
Good to know: The water slide will take you for a tumble. There may be other travelers and locals hanging around. I’d opt to wear a one-piece or rashguard and shorts to avoid being scratched or revealing the goods. If you have sensitive feet, wear reef booties for the hike up the trail and ride down the water slide.
How to find the Waitavala Water Slide trailhead
The Waitavala water slide is found in the town of Waiyevo, on the western coastline of Taveuni. The entrance to the trail is not well marked, but you’ll find an opening across from the local prison. There are no signs alerting you to its entrance.
Sliding Down the Waitavala Water Slide: What it’s Like
“I’m a little scared,” I admitted to Clare, my friend who fears nothing.
Our guide led us to the top of the water slide, where a tranquil pool funneled down a narrow and smooth channel–the rock slide. Because it hadn’t rained in a while, our guide sat across the slide like a dam. Water rose behind him.
“Come on, let’s go!” He laughed. I clamored to the dry side of the slide. My guide stood up. A surge of water picked me up and pushed me down the slide.
Clare and I went down a handful of times, each time feeling more ridiculous than the last. There just didn’t seem to be a way to slide down gracefully.
Like most waterfalls and swimming spots in Fiji, the Waitavala Water Slide is popular among locals. If you arrive on your own and are not sure where to slide, don’t be shy to ask around. In true bula spirit, locals are typically happy to share their tips and offer you a turn on the slide.
Travel Planning and Essentials
- Where to stay: We stayed at Tides Reach Resort, one of the only resorts on Taveuni with its own beach. Your stay includes tours around the island, like the water slide. Find more Taveuni accommodation options on Booking.com.
- What to pack: On this day trip, you’ll want to pack reef shoes, a rashguard, reef-safe sunscreen, and a drybag backpack. A GoPro is recommended for capturing fun videos as you slide down.
- Getting around: You’ll need a rental car to get here. This is another reason why it might be best to go with a guide.
- Travel insurance: I use and recommend World Nomads for all my adventure travel trips.
Any questions? What do you want to know about visiting the Waitavala Water Slide?
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