Fijian Highlands

What does a Pineapple Tart have to do with Fiji?

Fiji and a pineapple tartIn a word lots! We all have our triggers, they can be a smell, a taste or perhaps a scene that takes you back years to an event.
In my case it’s a ‘pineapple tart’.

A sweet Pineapple Tart takes me back to the Fijian Highlands

During a business visit a few years back, I arrived in Nadi a day early and decided to take a four wheel drive tour into the mountains overlooking Nadi Bay

The weather had been wet for a few days and there had been some local flooding, however the tour operator decided to risk one more trip.

While on route he informed all of us of his morning adventure with his brand new vehicle having tangled with a tree!

Well I was up for an adventure and being the last to be picked up, was put in what felt like the kids seat at the back of the vehicle, because I was the smallest and most agile of the group – that was my fate.

Fijian Highlands

I was unfamiliar with Fiji so I’ll not sure where we turned off, however I believe it was the road leading to Mt Batilamu or ‘Sleeping Giant’ and through the fertile Sabeto Valley.

The dirt track quickly turned to mud and we started climbing, or should I say slipping and sliding.

I was sure I was in the worst seat in the vehicle and my occasional glance out of the back window confirmed it.

The cloudbank was heavy and obscured the view, which was such a shame, nonetheless it was beautiful; the tour operator stopped and we all climbed out of the vehicle for a break.

We stopped to take in the view

We eventually arrived at a local village for a quick tour. The ground was a quagmire and I wondered how the local villagers coped with these wet conditions.

One couple refused to leave the vehicle, the wet muddy ground was just too much for them.

Mud from recent rains

We arrived at the end of the track to a waterfall which was the villager’s clean water source and the location where the driver had slid into a tree.

Back to the point of the story and the Pineapple Tart

While pointing it out and communicating the details of the morning’s event he starts to move off slowly. However the vehicle combined with the muddy ground had a mind of its own and started sliding towards this same tree he was pointing out and hits it again!

Well I’m having a ball, but some of the passengers weren’t happy, it is Fiji after all one of the last frontiers.

On the way down the rain soaked track we reached a small plateau to stop for afternoon tea, the air was damp and cool, the cloud bank had lifted revealing a breathtaking view and the Pineapple Tart was exquisite.

The view eating a Pineapple Tart.

Whenever I eat a Pineapple Tart I’m back in Fiji having a hot cup of tea, a Pineapple Tart on a high plateau overlooking Nadi Bay, it may not sound like much but that scene is etched in my brain.
Leave a comment and tell me about your Fiji moments?

Garden of the Sleeping Giant – Nadi Fiji My Second Visit

Garden of the Sleeping Giant Visit

A couple of years ago I took a bus tour around Nadi and one of the places we visited was the Garden of the Sleeping Giant.

This garden displays Fiji’s largest orchid collection, unfortunately we had less than 30 minutes which wasn’t enough time to soak up the unique atmosphere of this beautiful location so I vowed to visit this lovely garden in Fiji again…

Second Visit to the Garden of the Sleeping Giant

Recently we stayed at the Novotel Nadi a few kilometres down the road from the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, what’s special about this accommodation is the view.

The first time I stayed at the Novotel Nadi I arrived on a hot, humid and dark night. Tired and a bit over it all after a busy day I went straight to bed wishing I was back home.

First light reveals paradise in Fiji

Nausori Highlands view from the Novotel

Opening the curtains and balcony window to get some fresh morning air, I was astounded by what I saw. I felt like I was in Jurassic Park and any moment a T Rex would emerge from the tree line.

The Nausori Highlands were laid out before me in all their splendor, mysterious and veiled in low cloud. When the cloud eventually lifted the mountain range resembled a sleeping giant, you can come to your own conclusions about what body part it features.

It’s like interpreting clouds, different shapes and images revealed with the changing light.  This is where the Garden of the Sleeping Giant is in these majestic highlands nestled in the Sabeto Valley around 6.5 km/4miles north of Nadi Airport.

Signage Wailoko RoadWatch out for the sign Wailoko Road

While travelling along the Queens Hwy heading towards Lautoka you could easily miss this sign. You can be distracted avoiding the potholes, although during my last visit they were upgrading the road.

Turn into Wailoko Road which is a dirt track; however take it easy the road is rough and sections are honeycombed with large holes. It’s very picturesque a photographer’s delight every turn reveals an interesting scene;

 

  • Local Fijians
  • Mountain cliffs
  • Buildings new and in disrepair
  • Animals – goat herders

You never know what might appear, I just loved the place.

Garden of the Sleeping Giant on your left

White high back cane chairs in the reception areaIt’s only a couple kilometres along a dirt track to the entrance. After entering the gates of the Garden of the Sleeping Giant the driveway to the garden wets your appetite for things to come.

Upon arrival you will see the reception area which features dozens of high backed white cane chairs with dark red and green cushions, for a moment you might think you have drifted back in time.

My thoughts turned to Raymond Bur that large man wandering around admiring his beautiful garden full of orchids.

The garden beckons you forward

The humid warm air signals you to start walking, it doesn’t matter if it’s raining it adds to the mystic of this location a garden nestled in the beautiful Sabeto Valley.

There is a shade cloth covered walkway, heavy with leafage from the rainforest. On both side of the walkway are beautiful orchids perched on shelves in every colour shape and size a must for orchid lovers.
The boardwalk meanders up through tropical rainforest, there are lily ponds and benches where you can sit and enjoy the surrounding gardens, birdlife is prolific.Covered walkway where the orchids are housed
After you have completed your walk, return to the reception area and enjoy a complimentary refreshing fruit drink.

If you are visiting Nadi the Garden of the Sleeping Giant should be on your to do list. We did travel further along this dirt track past the garden and the scenery was captivating; however time, weather and the condition of the road didn’t permit us to continue.

Entrance to Wailoko RoadHope you get an opportunity let me know!