“First of its kind”: Rosie 4WD safari buses explore Fiji’s highlands

By Prerna Priyanka

Rosie Holidays has introduced two 4WD buses, a first in the country, that are driving a new experience for visitors.

The buses will provide access to some of the most remote and historically significant areas in the highlands of Viti Levu.

Mosese Tamanitoakula, Rosie Living Manager at Rosie Holidays, highlighted its importance for both the company and the tourism sector in Fiji in a briefing for media recently.

“I am proud to be part of a company that is committed to new ideas and developments,” Tamanitoakula said.

“The introduction of these safari buses, which started operating in February 2024, marks a significant milestone for Rosie Holidays.”

Each bus can seat 29 people and has fully air-conditioned interiors. They are designed to withstand the challenging terrain of Fiji’s highlands.

Among the experiences offered is the “Ancient Trails” tour, which retraces the path of Fiji’s first settlers, known as the ‘Tualeita’.

This trail, estimated to be around 3000 years old, is believed to have been the route taken by Lutunasobasoba and his tribes, the first inhabitants of Fiji.

The rollout of the Rosies buses was not without its challenges.

Tamanitoakula said the company took a cautious approach, focusing on safety and training before fully launching the service.

“The main reason we were a bit quiet about this is because we wanted to measure some safety aspects of this bus,” he said.

“The buses are a blueprint for an armed bus model from China, which requires a period of adaptation and training for the drivers.”

The safari buses are now being used for two types of tours: full-day and half-day tours.

The Sabeto Safari, a full-day tour in some of westen Viti Levu’s most picturesque scenery, and the Skypark Safari and Ancient Trail Safari, a half-day tour that ventures further into the highlands.

“We designed these tours to offer an immersive experience, showcasing the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Fiji’s interior regions.”

One of the standout features of these tours is the collaboration with the University of the South Pacific to create authentic stories around the locations visited.

Tamanitoakula mentioned working with Dr Paul Geraghty on the Ancient Trails tour to ensure the historical narratives presented to tourists are accurate and engaging.

“We have been working with Dr Paul Geraghty on trying to release a story, and then we have a full-day tour for Navala,” he said.

Looking ahead, Rosie Holidays has ambitious plans to expand these tours further into the Highlands and even across the main island.

Tamanitoakula revealed that the company is exploring the possibility of a multi-day expedition of up to a week.

“Our main plan, sort of like a long-term plan, is to actually create an expedition to go across the main island,” he said.

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