Fiji's Garden of the Sleeping Giant is a peaceful oasis at the foot of Nadi's Sabeto Mountains. Its pathways take visitors through the dense tropical jungle, offering a glimpse into one of the country's beautiful rainforests. The garden was originally purchased by the Hollywood actor Raymond Burr, whose love of the flowers inspired him to grow more than 1,000 new orchid hybrids. Now 4 decades later, the 20 hectare garden is open for all visitors and residents of Fiji to enjoy.
The garden is named after the Sleeping Giant mountain that towers over it, which got its name from a local legend about a giant who ate so many locals that he fell into a deep sleep. As you drive towards the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, see if you can make out the ridges that inspire its legendary name.
Visitors to the Garden of the Sleeping Giant have the option to take a free guided tour. We weren't told about this, so we explored the garden on our own. It was nice to walk through at our own pace, although it would have also been good to get some information about the plants and flowers around us as there was unfortunately no written information or map for us to refer to.
You'll want at least 2 hours to walk around the garden. As mentioned above, there are no maps, but as long as you stay on the path you should be able to see everything within that time. There is also a viewpoint that offers fantastic views of the surrounding area, which I highly recommend checking out.
At the end of the walk, make sure you stop by the admissions desk again for a refreshing glass of tropical juice. There are plenty of tables and chairs here where you can relax in the shade.
Walking through the garden doesn't require any special level of physical fitness, and it is a fantastic attraction for children. There are plenty of benches along the path, and even a hammock to relax on. Be aware that the garden is not wheelchair accessible, and those with mobility issues will need to use caution on the uneven wooden planks and forest pathways.
WHEN TO VISIT THE GARDEN OF THE SLEEPING GIANT
The Garden of the Sleeping Giant is a great year-round attraction, but the best times to visit are around June/July and November/December, as this is when the flowers are in their peak blooming seasons. The summer months in Fiji are the wettest, and you may experience an unexpected rain shower, particularly if you visit between November - March. This is also when the dense tropical foliage is the greenest and most vibrant.
WHAT TO BRING
Though the garden path mostly weaves through the thick jungle, there are quite a few areas where you'll want sun protection, particularly if you want to walk to the viewpoint. Make sure you have sunscreen, water and decent walking shoes (we wore flip flops and wished we had better shoes). You may also want to bring insect repellant, especially in the summer months. There are no places on-site to purchase food or drink, though the garden is a lovely place to bring your own picnic lunch.
HOW TO GET TO THE GARDEN OF THE SLEEPING GIANT
Tour: There are plenty of tours leaving from areas around Nadi that include a visit to the Garden of the Sleeping Giant. Rosie Tours is the main tour company, offering full- and half-day excursions.
Car: If you're driving your own car, take Queens Road north from Nadi and turn right onto Wailoko Road (about 5 km from Nadi Airport). There is a small sign pointing to the turnoff on Queens Road just after you pass over the creek, but watch carefully as it's easy to miss.
Taxi: This is perhaps the easiest way to get to the Garden of the Sleeping Giant if you don't have a car. A cab from Nadi will cost around $30 each way. Metered cabs are the best, or you can agree on a fare before leaving. Try to avoid Airport and Denarau cabs as these are the most expensive. Many taxi drivers will be happy to negotiate a round trip fare.
Bus: You can take the Nadi-Lautoka bus ($2) and get off at Wailoko Road. From there it's about a 2km walk to the entrance of the garden. Make sure you bring a hat and sunscreen as there isn't much shade, and you'll want decent shoes since the road is unpaved. Also keep in mind that the busses run on "Fiji time" and may not keep to a schedule.
HOURS & RATES
9 AM - 5 PM, Monday - Saturday
9 AM - 12 PM Sunday
Children (6-15): $9
*admission is cash only; no cards are accepted at this time
NOTE: I am not affiliated with the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, nor do I get compensated for promoting it. Views expressed here are my own.
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