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!

 

 

A Trip to Ba Fiji– local Bargain Gold Jewellery

We had arranged a trip to Ba about one hour drive west from Lautoka, rumour has it that Ba is known by the local Fijians as the place to go if you are looking for gold jewellery much cheaper then Lautoka or Nadi.

Unfortunately it was only going to be a quick trip because our local guide Renee was flying to Melbourne Australia that afternoon.

We left our accommodation in Nadi and commenced our journey along the Queens Hwy, we headed for Lautoka where we picked up Renee from her comfortable suburban home.

The entertainment begins…Suren sitting in the front seat with Gary

When we arrived instead of Renee joining us for this quick trip alone, we had her father Suren and a young boy who was a friend of the family, this addition of Renee’s father quickly changed the whole dynamics of the day as we were soon to find out.

Suren wanted to sit in the front seat and started coughing; Renee scolded him reminding him how he wanted to sit in the front like the Prime Minister!

The views are breathtaking

Beautiful views - Kings Road

The trip along the Kings Hwy is very scenic the rolling green hills down to the sea are spectacular, and the Yasawa Islands off shore breathtaking.

There were a few spots where we could have pull off the road and take photos, however time was limited on this trip to Ba.

The van was alive with incessant chatter and smiling faces, at this moment I really felt I was in Fiji, we were one of the noisy vans racing down the Kings Highway with heads and arms moving with festive joy.

Nothing like local knowledge…while visiting in Fiji

Renee is a hive of information, knowing every building and seemingly everything about the area and it soon became apparent she knew more than most because she was born in Ba and her family had a farm in the area for decades.

Suren constantly continued to amuse us and the wonderful relationship between father and daughter obvious. Whenever she felt he was getting out of control with his high-pitched chatter in Hindi she would pinch his ear lope and he would immediately stop as if she had pulled the key out of a robot.

However this chatter was virtually impossible to control once we arrived in Ba, he called out the window at his old friends that he hadn’t seen for a couple of years.

Ba a hive of activity

Saturday morning and the town of Ba is alive with activity, it seems like the whole town is out to shop at the markets, music blasted from the shop fronts and drifted across the street producing that familiar carnival atmosphere which seems to be the custom here and there was Suren calling out from the van to his old friends.

Ba Town the place for gold jewelleryBeautiful gold jewellery

We all bundled out of the van and headed for the jewellers, the variety is amazing and the range and price met our expectations.

If you are looking for beautiful gold jewellery I recommend Ba.

Shopping where the locals shop for gold jewellery is always good advice, there didn’t seem to be any tourist around and judging by the way they kept staring at my blonde hair, this may indicate that not many make their way here. Renee and her father Suren

 

The retailers are polite and helpful, not pushy which can be common in the bigger towns.

Unfortunately we were unable to stay too long; we finished our visit at the Ba Markets where Suren insisted on leaving the van despite his daughter’s protest to visit an old girl friend at the local supermarket.

After everyone returned to the van we were on our way back to Lautoka, but not before Suren did a little more greeting from the front seat. The trip back was hot, no air-con means windows all open, it’s always a bad hair day in Fiji with the humidity.

Fijian experience..

'Fijian experience’ Bu a young coconut

‘Fijian experience’ Bu a young coconut

Time to stop at one of the roadside stalls and enjoy a drink, Suren was out of the front seat running across the road for a bu.

This is the ‘Fijian experience’ a young coconut (Bu in Fijian) cut in front of you with a straw inserted, the taste is refreshing! After drinking the juice you can eat the tender flesh.

We arrived safely back in Nadi, to our cool rooms with the mountains of the sleeping giant watching over us.

Thank you Renee and Suren again, for a wonderful morning in Ba Town one of the best places to visit for gold jewellery in Fiji.Suren wishing his daughter a safe journey home

 

 

 

See you next time…

Queens Hwy – Nadi to Suva – Fiji

Nadi Fiji

 Leaving Brisbane for Nadi Early..

it was best described as everyone has turned up let’s get this show on the road and we were flying out of Brisbane Airport!

The only downside was that we arrived in Nadi 45mins early and our ride wasn’t going to show until 6.00am after custom etc. The flight was around 3½ hours no real time to sleep!

We arrived at Nadi Airport in beautiful Fiji 45 minutes ahead of schedule….

After going through immigration we felt like a cup of tea, nothing like it to give you a lift in the morning. The only problem was it was prepared not with hot water but hot milk, not sure what they were thinking but the taste was ghastly.

Potholes Queens Hwy, Fiji
Our lift finally arrived it was a whirlwind of chatter, Fijian Indians associates and the next door neighbour excited at our arrival and quick to hand over the van for our working adventures.

Gary (my boss) takes the wheel cautiously and the rest of us pile into the back.

Stay away from ginger sweets in the morning!

First mistake… they hand him a sweet which he accepted eagerly without questions before I could say stop! You see Gary can’t take anything that remotely resembles any type of heat in food or drink form. These sweets were ginger and they were hot.

His mouth open trying to cool the flames of heat coating the back of his throat not a pretty sight first thing in the morning. After dropping off our passengers we were off to Suva.

The Queens Hwy – Travel advice

Horses on the Queens Hwy FijiDriving conditions in Fiji are quite a challenge the road changes at every turn from a nice smooth drivable surface to giant potholes where if they were any bigger you could disappear never to be seen again.

There are many spots where you have to circumnavigate these potholes by going on the wrong side of the road.

 

You have to keep your wits about you because overtaking is something accepted but not condoned on dangerous bends with double lines, over speed humps etc but many do it.

Beware approaching a village, these speed humps are not always well marked, if you hit one at 80km you know it!

 If you are approaching a village slow down to 50km.

Did I mention the animals?

  • DogsSlow down when approaching a village in Fiji
  • Horses
  • Pigs
  • Cows
  • Chickens

The list goes on; if they have legs there is a chance they will walk across the Queens Hwy all on Fiji time. (taking there time without a trouble in the world) So be careful and expect the unexpected.

Our transport in Fiji

Suva is around 200km from Nadi and we were starting our journey already tired so this isn’t a good combination. Gary did the driving, I don’t mine but I have a few stipulations, the car needs to be in good mechanical order… no strange noises coming from the steering and get over 80 kilometres an hour in an emergency.

The windscreen wipers shouldn’t fail every time you hit a speed bump especially when it’s raining, I would like air-con but if this isn’t possible the passenger side window should open.Queens Hwy, Fiji

Gary could be thought of as a bit of a legend he is the reverse of MacGyver

MacGyver would fix it with pantyhose or chewing gum, Gary just drives as is! 

I’ll watch carefully my choice of words here there is no way I getting behind the wheel of this van.

Van Fixed!

After going through a teething process with the van we discovered the following:

  • Wind screen wipers did work, a small adjustment required only
  • Child lock on the drivers’ door prevented opening the front seat passenger’s window
  • Unfortunately I will have to live with no air-con, bad hair visit!

Pool area Hideaway Resort

Stopped at the Coral Coast for coffee…

Travelling along the Coral Coast reminds me of the drive to Port Douglas in far north Queensland Australia, every time I travel this way I think of that winding road north of Cairns.
We were both tired after our red eye flight from Brisbane so we stopped at the Hideaway for coffee, I don’t know what the accommodation is like but the pool area is spectacular with iridescent blues rushing to meet your eyes. The gardens are beautifully laid out with comfortable looking bures nestled amongst the palms.

It seems to cater for families… with horse rides along the beach and a wealth of activities.

Lami Bay – SuvaLami Bay Fiji

After a long few hours driving along the Queens Hwy and some pit stops we arrived at the Novotel  Lami Bay, a unique location right on the bay and about 10mins out of Suva.

Catch you later….