People living on the island of Taveuni tell stories about how once upon a time, a beautiful princess fell into despair about hearing of her betrothal to a stranger whom she did not love. She was so upset that she chose to flee her home, heading higher and higher up the mountain slope until exhaustion claimed her. Even in her exhausted state, her tears did not cease, falling as though rain upon the shores of Lake Tagimoucia. Local legends claim that the princess’s tears are the origin of the long-stemmed vines called the tagimoucia.
In modern times, the tagimoucia is better known for the clusters of red and white flowers that hang from its stems. Said blossoms serve as Fiji’s national flower, which can be seen gracing places such as Fiji’s $50 note. Living blossoms are rarer and much more difficult to find, because the tagimoucia grows close to the lake of the same name and nowhere else in the world.
Visitors interested in seeing the famous tagimoucia in its natural habitat should prepare for a spectacular experience. First, these interested individuals must head to the island of Taveuni, which is a shield volcano that rises out of the Pacific Ocean to reach heights of more than a thousand meters. Its unspoiled landscape is home to countless fauna and flora indigenous to Fiji, having been preserved in a better state than most of the other islands that make up the archipelago. Nowhere is this better exemplified than Lake Tagimoucia resting on the slope of Des Veaux Peak.
Although visitors can make part of the ascent up to Lake Tagimoucia using 4-wheel drive, going on foot is an option possessing its own charms to offset a challenging though not dangerous climb. The entire ascent goes through the rain-forests that cover Des Veaux Peak as though a mantle of embroidered green, opening here and there to permit unobstructed glimpses of the surrounding landscape. Visitors can expect to see rare species ranging from the Fiji Goshawk to the Taveuni Parrot and Azure Crowned Flycatcher, while holding out hope for something still more exotic such as the illusive Orange Dove. However, the glimpses of the surrounding landscape are no less spectacular, because Des Veaux Peak stands high enough for visitors to see past the island’s boundaries. Depending on position, standing on Des Veaux Peak means being able to gaze upon Somosomo Strait, some of the closer islands that make up Fiji, and even the volcanic crater that is Lake Tagimoucia.
Standing at 832 meters, Lake Tagimoucia is one of the most famous attractions on Taveuni for good reason. Sections of the lake is shrouded in reeds that lend it an element of mystery, something to make it enticing for visitors standing on the surrounding slopes. Furthermore, its waters flow south in a river that cascades over the rugged landscape in multiple waterfalls. However, above all else, Lake Tagimoucia’s attraction lies in the beautiful blossoms that dot its shores during the months of October to February, recollecting the local legends in their exclusive location.