By Sera Tikotikovatu-Sefeti
Kila Eco-Adventure Park is a destination that caters for thrill seekers as well as visitors who prefer gentle strolls and immersing themselves in Namosi’s verdant rainforest.
The adventure park boasts luscious green vegetation, botanical gardens, mini waterfalls, picnic bures, a thrilling obstacle course, eco-walks, and a zip line. It is owned and run by Pleass Global Ltd., which acquired 427 acres of land in Namosi and is developing it into an integrated, multi-use community known as Kila World .
The adventure park is the vision of company director, Warwick Pleass, who with his team started developing the site in 2009.
“We have over 420 acres of land, so we developed a small section of it for our factories Aquasafe and Vaiwai, and we were thinking, ‘What can we do with this land that will benefit the people of the community nearby, the people of Suva, and tourists?’” Cate recalls.
“We used to come out here before the factory was built and go for walks in the rainforest. We thought so many people in Suva never get to experience this area, yet it’s so beautiful, and it would be a wonderful thing to have a health and fitness activity for people to visit on weekends and holidays,” she adds.
Cate says it was important they created a destination that aligned with their principles of sustainability and did not jeopardise their organic certification and protection of the water sources deep underground.
So what can you do at Kila Eco-Adventure Park?
The site has intensive high and low rope courses which are designed to help teams co-operate and bond and draw upon individual strengths.
The ‘Giant Swing, a sort of bungee-jump from a 12-metre-high platform, is both a crowd favourite and one of the most feared challenges for many visitors. The adrenaline starts building as you climb to the platform. Once securely attached to two cables, you take a leap of faith, and swing like a pendulum to the ground.
One of the pioneer instructors at Kila, Navitalai Tiritabua, says: “Sometimes we receive our guests who have a fear of heights, but after jumping off and facing their fears, they leave here with a totally new view on life and what they can accomplish.”
Cate agrees: “I think sometimes, people lack the confidence for a variety of reasons to do certain things, either through a lack of experience, a lack of confidence, or a lack of exposure. So when people achieve stuff that they’re terrified of, it’s such a heartwarming thing to see them feel so pleased with themselves.
“I’ve had rugby players sweating and looking anxious and scared. It’s not just the everyday person who’s fearful of heights, a lot of people are, but when you are in a full-body safety harness with safety lines and capable instructors, you have nothing to fear.”
Cate says she is often in awe of visitors. “I take my hat off to them. I have come across people who have had very low fitness levels get up there, go around the course and on the giant swing, screaming their heads off, and I think it’s a wonderful experience for people.”
The safety lines, ancillary equipment, poles, and every element of the park are regularly inspected, and the instructors are trained by international experts from New Zealand and Australia.
Senior instructor Lemeki Toma Jr—who has been with Kila since 2009—says this included “two weeks of training by an ex-ACS (Army Cadet Staff) military officer from Australia. It started off with learning about each other and ended with high rope, low rope, obstacle course, and other training.”
Pleass and Kila Eco-Adventure Park partner with the local community, helping neighbouring villages through scholarship schemes, employing staff from local villages and more.
Tiritabua says, “I used to stay at home in the village, go fishing, go to the farm. When this job came up, it gave me an opportunity to improve my daily life and give back to my mom and dad.”
Future plans at Kila include a bike track through the park so visitors can enjoy the simple pleasure of biking in the Namosi rainforest, breathing in its fresh air, taking in its natural sites and exploring the farm and botanical gardens, which are filled with vanilla, pepper and many other interesting plants.
If you would like to plan a visit to Kila Eco-Adventure Park, call 679-9990883 or email [email protected] as the park does not take walk-in guests.
Once you confirm your booking, don’t forget to:
- Wear closed shoes
- Dress comfortably
- Expect rain (it’s a common occurrence up in Namosi).
This article first appeared in Fiji Traveller, July-September 2023.