The Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park is located at the mouth of the Sigatoka River on the island of Viti Levu in Fiji. They are located approximately 3km West of the town of Sigatoka.
They are the product of erosion in the coastal hinterland and coastal dune forming processes. The extensive dune system covers an area of 650 hectares and comprises a series of parabolic sand dunes of various ages and activities.
The dunes range from around 20-60m tall. The dunes have been forming over millions of years and archaeological excavations here have uncovered pottery more than 2600 years old, as well as one of the largest burial sites in the Pacific.
Evidence of the past is clearly visible throughout the dune system as pottery scatters, stone tools, human remains and other archaeological relics continue to be uncovered by natural processes. In 1999 it was proposed as a World Heritage Site but has not been accepted so far. UNESCO World Heritage Centre – tentative list.
In a country blessed with an abundance of scenic beauty, the Sigatoka Sand Dunes stand out as one of the more unique wonders of Fiji.
In July 1989, the dunes were designated as Fiji’s first National Park under the management of the National Trust of Fiji.
This distinct feature covers an area of 650 hectares and offers a rich combination of geomorphological, ecological, cultural and aesthetical attributes.
The National Park is of great importance for educational and recreational use and is a milestone in Fiji’s drive for environment conservation.
The dunes contain a diverse mixture of endemic and introduced plant species. The National Park also plays host to 22 species of bird, eight of which are endemic to Fiji, including the Fiji Bush Warbler,Fiji Goshawk, Orange-breasted Mycenaean, Skinks, Lizards, Geckos and Fruit bats find refuge in the park’s diverse habitats.
La pita History
The Sigatoka Sand Dunes are famous for their rich archaeological history. The first significant clues to man’s arrival in fiji were discovered at the Park in the late 1980’s when a team of archaeologists uncovered an ancient burial site. to date over 50 individuals have be excavated and their arrival has been dated to approximately 2600 years ago. Scatters of pottery shards and other cultural materials found within the dunes have led experts to believe that these early inhabitants are of Lapita origin. Lapita takes its name from an archaeological site in New caledonia where similar pottery was first discovered.
The Sand Dunes have produced the largest collection of complete and near complete Lapita pots from the Pacific region. Today evidence of the past is clearly visible throughout the dunes system as stone tools; human remains and pottery continue to be uncovered by natural processes. Many unearthed artifacts are on display at the Fiji Museum in Suva.