When most people think of Fiji, it’s hard not to let your mind drift to thoughts of white sand beaches and crystal clear water. While that scenario obviously exists, Fiji is also one of the greenest places I’ve ever seen in my life. To get a better feel for the ecological wonderland that is Viti Levu, the main island of Fiji, we were taken to the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, located at the foothills of the Nausori Highlands.
Located about a half hour from Nadi, The Garden of the Sleeping Giant originally started as the private tropical orchid collection of actor Raymond Burr, and has now become a popular public attraction. The gardens are home to more than two thousand species of orchids, many indigenous to Fiji, covering over 20 hectares. I tried my best to capture as many of the gorgeous flowers as possible, but to be honest there were just too many! Guests can also partake in a “jungle walk” through a large forest area and lily pond. The garden is also a popular place for weddings, complete with a leaf-covered bure (the Fijian word for hut) perfect for an idyllic ceremony.
If you happen to be a huge Raymond Burr fan, the late actor’s holiday shack is right next door to the gardens and still contains a few of his personal items including photographs, his favorite chair and his walking cane. The entry fee to the holiday shack is $8 Fijian, and includes afternoon tea. The entry fee to the Garden of the Sleeping Giant is $10 Fijian, and guests are welcome to bring their own picnic to enjoy in the peaceful garden. Garden of the Sleeping Giant is open Monday – Saturday from 9am to 5pm.