Still standing as guardians against a Japanese invasion that never came, the concrete bunkers and huge naval guns at Momi Bay, just south of Nadi, are some of the very few ghosts of war left in Fiji.
Even if you aren’t a war buff, the site is quite interesting and offers a magnificent view of the bay, the reef and the dark blue of the Pacific Ocean.
During the Second World War, New Zealand was given the task of safeguarding Fiji, the vital link in the communication chain between the United States of America and Australia, against the possibility of a Japanese invasion.
It was decided that any invasion on Fiji’s western shores would have to come through the break in the reef off Momi Bay.
And so, with the Royal Fiji Navy patrolling the waters of the bay, New Zealanders set about constructing the Momi Bay Gun Site.
The first effort in the establishment of the gunnery was the installation of two, six-inch British guns recycled from the Boer War.
The weapons, built at the turn of the century, were quickly named Queen Victoria and King Edward by the men who laboured long and hard to haul the large guns up the high cliff overlooking Momi Bay.
Though the Japanese forces never made it to these islands, the guns were fired once. It was a simple case of mistaken identity that called the guns into action to fire across the bow of what turned out to be a friendly New Zealand ship.
The Momi Bay Gun Site, long forgotten and sadly in need of repair, came into the hands of the National Trust of Fiji in 1980. Following a long process of repainting, repairing and research, the old bunkers and guns were opened to the public as a national historic site and now plays host to thousands of visitors each year. The Momi Bay turnoff from the Queens Road is 16km south of Nadi and well marked. Once off the highway, the gun site is located 8km along a reasonably smooth dirt road which offers good scenery as it winds through a number of small cane fields.
Buses from Nadi will get you to the turnoff from the highway where you can either walk, hitch or wait for the bus which goes all the way to Momi Bay.
The National Trust of Fiji keeps an attendant at the site to answer any questions you have which can’t be answered by the extensive documentation on site.
There is a small entry fee charged but the...