A couple of years ago I took a bus tour of Nadi and one of the places we visited was the Garden of the Sleeping Giant. This garden exhibits the largest collection of orchids in Fiji; unfortunately we had less than 30 minutes, which was not enough to absorb the unique atmosphere of this beautiful place, so I promised to visit this beautiful garden in Fiji again…
Second Visit to the Garden of the Sleeping Giant
We recently stayed in Nadi, a few miles down the road from the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, what’s so special about this lodge is the view. The first time I stayed here, I arrived on a hot, humid, dark night. Tired and a little run down after a busy day, I went straight to bed wishing I was back home.
First light reveals paradise in Fiji
Opening the curtains and the balcony window to get some fresh morning air, I was stunned by what I saw. I felt like I was in Jurassic Park and at any moment a T Rex would emerge from the tree line. The Nausori Highlands stretched out before me in all their splendor, mysterious and veiled by low clouds. When the cloud finally lifted the mountain range that looked like a sleeping giant, you can come to your own conclusions about which part of the body it features. It is like interpreting clouds, different shapes and images revealed with the changing light. This is where the Garden of the Sleeping Giant is located in these majestic highlands located in the Sabeto Valley, about 6.5 km/4 miles north of Nadi Airport.
Watch out for the Wailoko Road sign
As you travel along the Queens Hwy toward Lautoka, you could easily miss this sign. You can distract yourself by avoiding the potholes, although during my last visit they were improving the road.
Turn onto Wailoko Road which is a dirt road; take it easy though, the trail is bumpy and sections are full of big holes. It is very picturesque to a photographer’s delight; each turn reveals an interesting scene;
- local Fijians
- mountain cliffs
- New and dilapidated buildings
- Animals – goat herders
Garden of the Sleeping Giant to your left
It’s only a couple of kilometers down a dirt road to the entrance. After passing through the gates of the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, the entrance path to the garden whets an appetite for things to come. Upon arrival you will see the reception area which has dozens of high backed white wicker chairs with deep red and green cushions, for a moment you might think you have stepped back in time. My thoughts turned to Raymond Bur, this portly man who was wandering around admiring his beautiful garden full of orchids.
The garden invites you to follow
The warm and humid air tells you to start walking, no matter if it’s raining, a garden nestled in the beautiful Sabeto Valley adds to the mystique of this place. There is a path covered in shade cloth, laden with rainforest leaves. On both sides of the walkway are beautiful orchids arranged on shelves in all colors, shapes and sizes, a must for orchid lovers. The boardwalk winds through the rainforest, there are lily ponds and benches where you can sit and enjoy the surrounding gardens, and the bird life is prolific. Once you have completed your walk, return to the reception area and enjoy a refreshing complimentary fruit drink.
If you are visiting Nadi, the Garden of the Sleeping Giant should be on your to-do list. We traveled further down this dirt road past the garden and the scenery was captivating; however, the weather, weather and road conditions did not allow us to continue.
I hope you get a chance to go further along Wailoko Road. Let me know if you do!
See you next time.