I'm a mother to three, living in and loving Fiji for the past 13 years. I also do wedding, event and portrait photography under my business, Island Encounters Photography, based in Nadi, Fiji. www.islandencountersphotography.com
Published February 19th 2013
A Hands-on Wildlife Adventure
Kula Eco Park is a haven for Fiji's native flora and fauna. Here you can pose with an iguana, stroke a snake and converse with a cockatoo.
For a nature-lover like me, coming to the park is like a breath of fresh air. Its peaceful shaded walkways meander through a beautiful variety of Fiji's native flora and fauna. The Kula bird is one of the many indigenous birds thriving in this ecological reserve, along with Fiji crested iguanas, boas, bats, tropical fish and sea turtles.
For children, Kula Eco Park is a huge attraction. In fact, one of the purposes of the park is to educate children in environmental awareness and conservation of Fiji's wildlife. The staff are excellent and encourage hands-on learning. Since my children have all grown up in Fiji, they have been to Kula Eco Park on personal and school field trips numerous times. They aren't tired of it, though - in fact this recent trip was the result of them literally begging me to take them back. Children love finding the parrots and iguanas in the bushes and trees (it's like a game of "I Spy"), bouncing on the hanging bridge and getting up the nerve to tangle with a boa.
Let me walk you through the park. On admission you will pay $26 per adult, (half-price for kids or $70 for a family of four). It may seem a bit steep but keep in mind that you're supporting the conservation of endangered species. They do have a local discount for Fiji residents. You can spend all day in the park if you'd like (but we find we're generally done in a half-day).
Upon entry, you will view the boas, as well as a small museum area with shells, pinned insects and more. Walk through the gift shop to the hands-on area where you will be invited to hold the Fijian banded iguanas and crested iguanas, take a photo with a snake, and get to know the parrots. The animals are used to human interaction, even with small children.
Next, if you're there at the right time, you can feed the sea turtles in their salt water pool. After that you'll continue down the wooden walkway and view a range of native birds, bats, reptiles as well as an interior hallway with a tranquil salt water aquarium with tropical fish and soft corals.
Outside the aquarium, the peacocks like to hang out around the gentle stream, along with the ducks and other wild birds. There is a pond with lily pads, and then a nice wooden boardwalk that will lead you through the jungle. Native plant species are labeled and interesting botanical and cultural information can be found throughout the walk.
Senegalese poet and naturalist Baba Dioum said, 'In the end, we will protect only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught." Thank you, Kula Eco Park, for teaching in such an enjoyable way. Join them in making a difference in protecting Fiji's indigenous species, and enjoy yourself along the way.