Kings Highway Fiji – A Road Less Traveled

For some time I have wanted to travel to Suva from Nadi via the Kings Highway. Unfortunately, the opportunity has not presented itself. However, circumstances can change and before you know it, you’re traveling down the Kings Hwy towards Suva.

Nadi Service Station decision was made

We were checking tires for our trip to Suva via Coral Coast (Queens’s Hwy) and just as we were ready to turn right onto Queens Hwy, Gary (my boss) asked if I would like to go onto Kings Hwy instead? ? (dumb question) “Well, here’s the deal,” he said. “If everything goes well and we have a great trip, it’s my idea, but if things go wrong, it’s your fault!”… I can live with that. So we turn left onto the road less travelled. We were driving down a familiar road until we reached Ba, having been there the week before looking at the beautiful gold jewelry.

Rakiraki here we come

The rain started in earnest now hitting the windshield, nothing was said but maybe this wasn’t such a great idea. Then the rain dissipated and there was a silent sigh of relief. The road was honeycombed in some bumpy sections which is part of living in Fiji. After getting over the initial shock of the state of the roads in Fiji, just keep going. It was Sunday and there was very little traffic on the Kings Hwy, most of the Fijians were in church listening to their Sunday sermon. We practically had the trails to ourselves. imagine how it would be with sun and clear sky. The vegetation was lush and vibrant green, the sugar cane reached to the edge of the road and swayed gently on the hillside, it is stunning country.

Lost the turn off the coast road

Our intention was to stay on the coast road and detour around Matawailevu Village, it would have been advantageous if we had a “proper road map” rather than a tourist map with limited detail. Before we knew it, we were heading inland and passing through Rokovuaka Village, it was too late to turn back. It took us 3 hours to get here in the inclement weather so we kept going, the terrain was now becoming hilly and to our right there was a fast flowing muddy river appearing through the vegetation. Looking at our limited map reference, he indicated that there were sections where the highway and river met. Up to this point the road had been a hard asphalt surface with only a couple of gravel areas. All this was about to change.

Dirt track – the road deteriorates

The nice hard surface quickly evaporates and we’re on the dirt road! With a considerable distance still to go, everything suddenly becomes pear-shaped. The road narrows steeply now it’s just one lane, with a deep ravine to the right and muddy brown water rapidly flowing below. The dirt road that is King Hwy turns right and stretches out before us like a long, narrow, one-lane wooden bridge; resembling something you might see on the Discovery Channel in the Amazon crossing a raging river with impenetrable jungle on either side. The narrow wooden bridge in front of us was terrifying.

  • without railings
  • Perched high above a fast moving body of water
  • Crosses stuck into the side where someone had come to a sticky end!

Gary negotiated the bridge… we had no choice, it was too late to turn back. Two long, continuous raised wooden tracks the width of a car’s wheelbase ran parallel to guide the wheels. The only problem was that the wooden bridge was muddy and slippery. The van was unable to get enough traction on the wooden track and continued to slide. So we ended up driving at a slight angle on the passenger side seeing more water than I would have liked. I forgot to press record on the video camera, but I got the following bridge. The next couple of bridges didn’t seem so scary, it’s amazing how quickly you can adjust, but then I wasn’t driving, thank goodness!

The rest of the trip to Suva was uneventful.

After our tangle with the wooden bridges, the rest of the trip was uneventful. Improvements are being made with loans abroad. Further down the road, large sections of rainforest and hillsides were removed to make way for a significant upgrade of the Kings Hwy with a couple of large bridges already built. If you intend to drive to Suva via Kings Hwy, check with local authorities beforehand.

We traveled on a Sunday and all roadworks were stopped however if this had been a Saturday or weekday there would have been major delays. It took us more than 5 hours to get to Suva; speed dropped to 60 km or less on some sections of Kings Hwy. Speaking to some residents who had negotiated the coast road to Suva, they said the views were stunning but the road was atrocious, it was 4×4, the road to land was narrow and muddy, but what an adventure was the comment!

See you later…

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