Taveuni is the third-largest island in Fiji, after Vanua Levu and Viti Levu, with a total land area of 435 square kilometers. The cigar-shaped island, a massive shield volcano which rises from the floor of the Pacific Ocean, is situated 6.5 kilometers to the east of Vanua Levu, across the Somosomo Strait, and is part of the Northern Division. It had a population of around 9,000, some 75 percent of them indigenous Fijians, at the 1996 census. Taveuni has abundant flora and is known as the 'Garden Island of Fiji'. It is a popular tourist destination.
The island of Taveuni, about 10.5 kilometers wide and 42 kilometers long, is the top of an elongated shield volcano which erupted from a northeast-southwest trending rift on the ocean floor. About 150 volcanic cones dot the island, including Uluigalau, Fiji's second highest peak at 1,241 meters, and Des Vœux Peak, next in height at 1,195 meters. There have been at least 58 volcanic eruptions since the first human settlement around 950-750 BC, all of which affected the southern two-thirds of the island. Major eruptions from 300-500 AD caused abandonment of the southern areas until about 1100 AD. The latest eruption produced a lava flow at the southern tip of the island around 1550.
Lake Tagimaucia is one of Taveuni's most famous tourist attractions. It occupies a volcanic crater at an altitude of 800 meters, and is the habitat the rare tagimaucia flower. Fiji's most famous waterfalls, the Bouma Falls, are also on the island. As much as 10 meters of rain falls annually on the eastern side of the island, but the western side is sheltered from the southeast trade winds by the ridge that runs the length of the island.