Diving the Rainbow Reef

The Somosomo Strait is the narrow stretch of water which separates Taveuni from Vanua Levu. It might not be wide, but the nutrient-rich currents passing through here make this the best soft-coral diving site in Fiji – and that means one of the best in the world. Several dive sites call out for attention. The Great White Wall resembles nothing more than a snow-covered ski slope when the current runs over its white soft corals. The Rainbow Reef is appropriately named after its extravagant tapestry of corals, just like the Purple Wall with its bushy overhangs and arches. Finally, Annie’s Bommies has boulders that look like they’ve been yarn-bombed, such is the explosion of colour in this shallow reef.

Taveuni's Dive Operators

Taveuni Dive

Garden Island Resort

Garden Island Resort

Taveuni Dive aluminum boat

 Taveuni Dive is a fully licensed and insured PADI 5 Star Dive Center operates out of Taveuni Dive Resort in the Taveuni Estates Subdivision on Taveuni. Our marina is located in Soqulu which is about 40 minutes south of the Matei, Taveuni Airport. Offering a full range of PADI Courses (DSD – Discover Scuba Diving to DM – Dive Master) we have your training needs covered. Courses available for children from 10 years old and upwards! We also cater to certified divers of all levels, from any internationally recognized training organization. Remember to bring your certification cards as we ‘ll need to visual them prior to taking you out diving on the World Famous Rainbow Reef. With over 24 dive sites within 10 to 20 minutes from our marina, we are one of the closest resort to reef commutes on Taveuni. We employ local certified and licensed Fijian Skippers for our Boats,  and fully Renewed and Insured PADI Dive Masters and Instructors for your safety and enjoyment while diving with us.

With our fleet of 4 Locally Fijian Designed and Manufactured Aluminium Boats we can handle groups of any size. With maximum capacity of 40 divers across our 4 boats, it’s rare that we take more than 6 to 8 divers out on any given boat on any given day. We like to be prepared, comfortable, and focus on guest comfort and maximum enjoyment. We like to consider ourselves a more ‘boutique’ or ‘intimate’ dive operator – Quality over Quantity. Our fleet of boats are meticulously maintained and serviced on site for your comfort and reliability. We offer a full range of rental gear if you don’t have any (BCD, Regulators, Dive Computers, Wetsuit, Fins, Booties, Masks and Snorkels), and we do offer NITROX for those certified divers wishing to dive a bit more conservatively. Come and enjoy one of the world’s consistently rated Top Dive Destinations in the World with us, we’re sure you’ll have a great time, and we’re also sure you’ll be back again for a second, third or fourth visit.

Garden Island Resort

Garden Island Resort

Garden Island Resort

Garden Island Dive shop

 Our experienced local dive team with intimate knowledge of the waters, select the best dive sites based on the currents and weather conditions to ensure each dive is a memorable one. We offer full range of PADI qualified courses from Discover Scuba Dives, Open Water, Advanced, Rescue, Divemaster Certifications as well as a range of PADI Specialties.  

 For more info, please contact Garden Island Resort Email: Tel: +679 888 0286 

Sau Bay Fiji Retreat

Sau Bay Fiji Retreat

Sau Bay Fiji Retreat

Diving Sau Bay Rainbow Reef

 A 15-minute taxi from Matei (Taveuni Airport ) to the Korean jetty; from there our boat will transfer you across the Somosomo Strait ( 20 minutes) to Sau Bay. Located on the east coast of Vanua Levu, off the island of TaveuniSau Bay Fiji Retreat is less than 10 minutes by boat from Rainbow Reef, a world-renowned diving spot. 

We have our own dive operation on site. We have been diving the Somosomo Strait for more than 30 years! Scuba diving is arranged daily from our Activities Vale. Divers are required to produce a dive certification card prior to diving with us.We generally do a 2-tank morning dive, with the boat departing after breakfast; surface interval between the dives either on the boat, or a deserted beach where we serve refreshments; we return to the resort for lunch. A couple of times a week we offer a 3 tank dive; after the 2nd dive we serve a picnic lunch and return to the resort after the 3rd dive. To ensure the best dive experience, dive sites are selected according to daily tidal movements and prevailing weather conditions. Nitrox is available, must be prebooked.

Minutes from us the world famous Rainbow Reef, in the Somosomo Strait . This barrier reef structure stretching over 3 miles (4.8km) is continually fed by micro-organisms washed in by the currents. The Somosomo Strait single-handedly earned Fiji its tile as the “Soft Coral Capital of the World”.
Rates: US$160-2/tank dive. There are days when we do a three tank dive. Discounts for multiple days. Free shore diving with a 5 day dive package


Sau Bay Fiji Retreat

Sau Bay Fiji Retreat




Dive Academy Fiji is a boutique dive operator based in Viani Bay on Vanua Levu, with the shortest distance to the dive and snorkeling sites on the world-famous Rainbow Reef. Guests are picked up at Wairiki/Taveuni for a return fee of 100 FJD per group of up to 4 passengers.

Dive Academy Fiji take a maximum of 4 dive guests or 6 snorkellers on their 23-foot fiberglass boat. Diving is organised flexibly according to tide schedules, experience and bucket list, making the White Wall possible to dive on almost every day. Experienced and novice divers alike get a unique experience as up to two guides are provided. Guests enjoy their surface break on shore in Viani Bay with freshly brewed coffee, homemade lemon-leaf tea, cake, seasonal fruits and water. Lunch can be booked in their restaurant that features a contemporary Fijian cuisine. Shower and toilette facilities are free of charge.

Not a diver yet? Book a PADI Discover Scuba Dive and take your first breaths under water at one of the most pristine dive destinations of the world. Or come along for a guided snorkeling trip. Many of the reefs show their abundance of marine life also in shallow water. For those who want to expand their breath holding time or depth, Dive Academy Fiji is currently the only operator, offering the PADI Freediver course in the area. Top-notch snorkelling and dive equipment can be rented with weight integrated BCDs, 5mm wetsuits and dive computers. Excursions to dive and snorkel with the Manta Rays during the season and a full range of PADI courses round up the Dive Academy profile.

Social Commitment: Dive Academy Fiji and Viani Bay Resort are run by owner-operators Marina and Jone and their team since 2017, with the objective to combine a premium holiday experience with sustainability and social commitment. They recently started a coral farming project in Viani Bay, provide scholarships for the professional dive education of locals, organise clean-ups, and teach at the local Primary School about marine life and its protection. A portion of every booking goes into the funding of their social initiatives. They speak English, German, French and Fijian.



Phone: +679 7258184 or +679 7258167

Booking tip: Dive Academy Fiji offers different rates for on the spot and pre-booked dives. Pre-booked dives come with a discount and secure the space on the boat. Unused dives can be moved to a different date within 12 months but will not be refunded. On the spot bookings are handled on a first-come-first-serve basis. The full price list is available on their website


Dive site description would like to thank Fred Biebisheimer and Taveuni Dive Resort that so gracefully gave us these dive site locations and descriptions. Big kudos and thanks for this.

We divide the dive sites into 3 categories: Wall, sloping reef with pinnacles and sloping reefs. Likely the most popular dive site in the Rainbow Reef is the Great White Wall (a perpendicular wall covered in ice colored soft coral, below 15m/45ft). Due to tidal conditions, we dive the Great White Wall only a few days each month, so check the schedule). Other popular wall dives are the Purple Wall, the Zoo and the Fish Factory. A map of our most popular dives is shown below.

Dives with sloping reef with pinnacles (bommies) include the famous Annie’s Bommies and the Mini White Wall. Well-known slopping reefs are Jerry’s Jelly, Sam’s Point, Fish Factory, and Rainbows End.

Many of the dive sites make ideal snorkel sites and we often get lucky and have slow, gentle drift snorkeling! Our favorite sites for snorkeling are Nuku Reef, Fish Factory, and Cabbage Patch. Due to the rich flow of nutrents, the amount of reef life you see on every dive or snorkel will amaze you! The most common reef fish we see include butterfly and angelfish, trigger and parrotfish, fusiliers, anthias, wrasses, groupers and of course plenty of clownfish. Remember –– fish families have many different species. We typically see 3 or 4 different species include clown fish. Other interesting sea life we see include giant clams, eels, nudibranchs, flatworms, dolphins, octopus, turtles, sharks, and rays.



This is a wall dive with coral on top. Marine life includes barracuda, moray eels, manta rays, potato cod, fusiliers, basslets, anthiases, sharks (usually in schools), nudibranchs, plus lots of small beautifully colored fish. There are a large range of soft coral and flatworms. The average visibility at the Zoo is 20 – 24 m, depending on the time of year. This dive is best seen on a falling tide. 



This dive starts as a sloping reef turning into a wall. Marine life includes schools of barracuda, leopard shark (very occasionally), and many hard and soft corals.



This site has an outer wall with a reef top starting at 6 m, dropping away to about 60 m. The wall is covered with purple soft corals, sea whips and large gorgonian fans. Marine life includes a variety of pelagic species ranging from barracuda to jack trevally, mackerel, sea fans, and variety of nudibranchs, anthiases, fusiliers, basslets, whitetip reef sharks and occasionally, manta rays. The best time to dive this site is on a falling tide.



The Great White Wall presents the diver with a spectacular opportunity to experience diving at a depth missing in most other sites at Fiji. 

If conditions are right for the dive, the trip down the swim-through will bring you face-to-face with soldierfish, squirrelfish and fairy basslets. A lot depends on hitting the site at the right times for the current and tidal changes. Prior to descent, you may look down and see sharks swimming at a depth of approximately 18 m. The dive begins with a descent to a tubular cave starting at 15 m deep. This swim-through is coated in hard and soft corals, as well as colorful sponges and crinoids. There may be a few resident lionfish and morays greeting you as you cruise along. There is a neat window along your descent through the cave.

Once you file through this cave towards the exit at 25 meters and turned left, you end up along the white wall proper. This wall is blanketed with white soft coral (Dendronephthya). Between the white coral are little splashes of orange, green and red but the overall effect is undoubtedly that of a great, white wall. As you back off the wall, it becomes electric blue. Square-spot anthiases seem to be the predominant fish on the wall as they dash around against the white backdrop. However the wall itself, with its white blanket, several whip corals playing home to gobies and a few large gorgonians, is the undoubted star attraction.

Photography Note: Most divers spend time right against the wall. To really capture the immensity of the site, try backing off the wall.

The wall plummets dramatically into the abyss — and you will too, so besure to watch the divemaster and mind your SPG (for this dive it is difficult to monitor depth using points of reference). One interesting change is that with depth the wall becomes iridescent purple. If conditions permit your guide may also lead you through an additional swim-through, which is home to soldierfish, squirrelfish and fairy basslets. This location is unique, making it one of Fiji's signature dive sites.



Annie’s Bommie is a submerged reef with big bommies allowing divers to weave between them. The site name refers to several large conical pinnacles rising from the seabed that characterize this dive site. In many ways Annie's Bommie is typical of the diving in the Somosomo Strait. Marine life includes schools of fusiliers, basslets, anthiases, jack trevally, moray eels, occasional leopard sharks, stingrays and pipefish. The area is covered in soft coral and hard coral on top of bommies, including opal bubble coral.

When diving here, you will notice a marked difference depending on the strength of the current. Without current it is pretty and there is a plenty to see. When the current runs, it is an almost violent affront to the senses, bursting with floral beauty. The marvelous color of the scene can't be overstated.

Annie's bommie may not feature a dramatic wall, but it is a great spot to take your time and investigate the nooks and crannies, weaving through the bommies and taking a breather when sheltered from the current. At these times you can leisurely explore for small things like nudibranchs, gobies and pipefish. All the while it is worth keeping an eye out for leopard sharks resting on the bottom, perhaps in the company of blue-spotted rays, and you are always likely to see the gaping mouths of morays protruding out from their sheltered holes. 



Located at the tip (Corner) of Annie's Bommie, this dive site is a great place to see a variety of organisms. Marine life includes clown triggerfish, unicorn fish, anemonefish, fusiliers, surgeonfish, sea whips, nudibranchs and flatworms like the Spanish dancer. Occasionally schools of sharks and barracudas are present. In addition there is a large variety of soft and hard corals, including sea fans. 



This site is a submerged reef with a short section of wall. The segment is approximately 36 m2 covered with mostly the white soft coral seen on the Great White Wall (Dendronephthya). There are a variety of other soft corals. Marine life includes stonefish, snapper, and leopard sharks, plus a variety of nudibranchs.



Wise’s Place has depths ranging from 8 – 25 m. The topography is a sloping reef covered in coral heads. Marine life includes schools of coral grouper, fusiliers, lyretail anthias (sea goldies), blue-spotted stingrays, and yellow-margin moray eels. In addition there are large star corals, table corals, fire corals, flower corals, and white soft corals.

Wise's Place Dive Map | Return to Dive Sites



Jack’s Place is another sloping reef, with depths between 8 – 18 m. Lots of hard corals mixed with soft corals and beautiful colors. Marine life includes schools of powder blue surgeonfish, triggerfish, giant wrasse, and yellow margin moray eels.

Dive Map for Jack's Place | Return to Dive Sites



Potluck ranges between 8 – 27 m in depth. The site is a sloping reef that meanders around three large bommies. Marine life includes schools of trevally, bronze whaler and whitetip reef sharks, schools of red snapper, eagle rays, and lots of hard corals.

You can see the ocean floor here from the surface as you enter the water. On descent, the fish congregating around the coral heads may greet you. A large school of jack trevally is often present facing into the mild current. Smaller schools of sweetlips and barracudas may also be present.

The dive proceeds drifting with the current towards the north (as conditions permit). The sloping wall on your right shoulder drops to a sandy, sloping bottom at 30 m, rising to a height varying between 10 – 15 m. The slope features healthy coral coverage, mostly in the form of staghorn and table coral, with a number of giant clams and fans also present.

When you dive these waters, you should look for the unusual sight of parrotfish in large numbers, effectively schooling as they swarm the slope, munching hard coral and then excreting it in puff of fine sand that slowly descend to the sea floor. Interestingly these groups consist of both blue-green and purple parrotfish!

Potluck Dive Map | Return to Dive Sites



Fish Factory is a wall with depths ranging from 6 – 27 m plus a variety of soft coral on the top and side of the wall. Schools of parrotfish, humphead parrotfish, Spanish mackerel, angelfish, trevally, cod, moray eel, occasional manta rays, occasional sharks, stonefish, and leaf scorpionfish.



Nuku Reef is a sloping reef dive, with depths between 6 – 21 m. Marine life includes soft and hard corals, triggerfish, clams, Christmas tree worms, leathery sea anemone, and lots of small beautiful colored fish. While it is typically used as a second dive, don’t underestimate its quality. Nuku reef is a fun place to visit. Check out Scott Putnam’s video of the dive site over at Fijiguide.



The Carl Street dive site has depth ranging between 8 – 27 m. It has a sandy bottom with a number of small bommies or coral heads. The dive weaves between the bommies, and then drifts along a sloping reef to the right. The drift takes you by a number of hard and soft corals.



The Ledge (Level 3) is a submerged reef with depth ranging from 8 – 40 m, which has a ledge at 12 m all around the reef with a variety of soft coral and sea whips. Marine life includes emperor angelfish, clown triggerfish, titan triggerfish, flat worms, and a couple of lionfish are often seen hovering over the side of the ledge.



Jerry's Jelly is a sloping reef with depths ranging from 5 – 18 m. Two pinnacles with white soft corals under a ledge are visible near the top. Marine life includes schools of somber sweetlips, lots of colorful small fish, and garden eels. A map is presented below.

The dive begins by dropping down to 18 m with the reef on your left shoulder. If the current is of medium strength you can cover a reasonable distance along this reef, finning only gently to maintain your position. Large numbers of garden eels rise up from their burrows to feast on the nutrient rich water rushing past their front doors, and retracting if you get too close.

As you continue your drift, keep a look out for Spanish mackerel, dogtooth tuna and whitetip reef sharks as well as large numbers of nudibranchs. Eventually your dive crosses over the reef flat before dropping into the lee of the other side of the reef, sheltering you from the current. The speed of the crossing is breathtaking as you glide over the flat.

Then as you edge slowly into shallower water, the current strengthens. The top of the reef is at about 6 m (slightly too shallow for your safety stop). The safety stop begins when all the group gathers, then let go and drift with the current.



Sam's Point is a dive on a sloping reef with depths from 3 – 27 m, although this site is mainly done as a second dive at a maximum depth of 18 m. Lots of soft coral, and sea fans. Marine life includes humpback snapper, schools of small fish, coral grouper, white tip sharks, and blue ribbon eels.



Rainbow's End I is a sloping reef dive with depths between 8 – 24 m. The dive presents a number of soft corals in various colors and a variety of marine life.

The dive starts with a drop from the surface to 15 meters, with the sea floor usually visible from the dive boat. As with all dives in the Somosomo Strait, the direction and strength of the current will determine your plan. The dive plan normally consists of gentle drifting along with the sloping reef to your right shoulder.

The slope is decorated with table corals and other varieties of Acropora, as well as boulder corals and porites, usually playing host to boring clams and Christmas-tree worms.

Life here is more typically numerous individuals rather than schools, so you can spot parrotfish, red-breasted wrasses, emperor and blue-girdled angelfish, Napoleon wrasses, long nose butterflyfish, and Moorish idols. More numerous are the red-tooth (vampire) triggerfish and both blue streak and blue & yellow fusiliers. In the sand you can look out for blue ribbon eels, as well as gobies standing guard while their shrimp partners take care of the housework.



Rainbow's End II is a continuation of the same dive as Rainbow’s End I, and the start is dependent upon current speed and direction.



Yellow Tunnel ranges in depth between 9 – 24 m. This sloping dive culminates in a drift around a large coral head. Near the outside of the coral head is a swim-through covered in yellow soft corals inside and outside of the tunnel. Marine life includes stonefish, whitetip reef sharks, schools of bicolor parrotfish, and many colorful small fish.

The entrance to the Swimthrough at Yellow Tunnel

Yellow Tunnel Dive Map | Return to Dive Sites



Barracuda Hole ranges in depth between 6 – 24 m. The dive is a drift along a sloping reef that passes two coral pinnacles. Marine life includes schools of barracuda, jack trevally, unicorn fish, fusiliers, bronze whaler sharks, whitetip sharks, sometimes nurse sharks, and nudibranchs.



Cabbage Patch is a sloping reef dive with depths ranging between 3 – 18 m, ending along a huge outcrop of serpentine salad coral.

On this site, the soft coral presence is no more than normal. There seem to be layers and layers of pristine yet fragile coral plates, as the seafloor slopes from a sandy bottom at 30 meters up to the shallows between 8 to 10 meters. Small areas may show damage from cyclones, but this is typically no more than 5% of the coral “patch.”

While the coral is the big draw, look out for unicorn fish, arc-eye hawkfish, Achilles tangs and scalefin anthias; and the occasional banded sea krait. When you're diving in Taveuni you may, if you are in luck, come across the bicolor fang blenny. This is a long yellow blenny endemic to Fiji and can be seen striking at other small fish entering its territory.

On the sandy areas watch for pairs of fire dartfish, shrimp and goby partnerships, and sea cucumbers such as Thelnota anax and Bohadschia graeffei (the one with the black frilly tubercles stretching out from its front end on to the sea floor). This dive is best seen on a falling tide. Here is a link to Scott Putnam's video at Fijiguide.

List of the more common sites

1. Zoo

2. Midwest

3. Purple Wall

4. Great White Wall

5. Annie's Bommie

6. The Corner

7. Mini White Wall

8. Potluck

9. Wise's Place

10. Jack's Place

11. Fish Factory

12. Carl Street

13. Nuku Reef

14. The Ledge

15. Jerry's Jelly

16. Sam's Point

17. Rainbow End/Passage I

18. Rainbow's End/Passage II

19. Yellow Tunnel

20. Barracuda Hole

21. Cabbage Patch