The Garden of the Sleeping Giant, a popular attraction in Fiji, is located approximately 30 minutes north of Nadi by car. Situated at the foothills of the Nausori Highlands, the beautifully landscaped garden features native Fijian plants and a wide collection of rare orchids. There is also a jungle, large lily pond, and lush forest. It was built by the late Canadian actor Raymond Barr in 1977.
Raymond Barr is popularly known in the TV drama series “Perry Mason” and “Ironside”. He built a private garden for his personal collection of exotic tropical orchids. He regularly spent time in Fiji and was known to love the islands as much as he loved orchids. The garden then grew to as wide as 20 hectares through the years and became a popular attraction in the area. The garden got its name from a nearby mountain that looks like a sleeping giant when viewed from a certain area in the garden.
Guests, including garden lovers, environmentalists and regular tourists, definitely enjoy taking a revitalizing walk through one of the largest orchid gardens in the world, with beautifully cultivated greenery as backdrop. Tired guests are also treated to a serene and peaceful picnic area. After a walk through the garden and just before a visitor leaves, the garden attendant offers a refreshingly cool glass of tropical fruit juice.
It is difficult competing against Fiji’s amazing beaches and resorts for the attention of tourists. Fiji is home to world-renowned luxury resorts and dive sites. It also has interesting mountains, caves, rainforests and waterfalls. The following statements from past guests to the garden, however, prove that the orchidarium can hold its own. A visitor said, “The trip (to the garden) was worth it for the peaceful surroundings, gorgeous display of orchids and the walk through the adjacent tropical gardens.”
Someone also said, “I found the garden to be pretty, with the orchids and wildlife.”
And also, “I was not prepared for this place. There are hundreds and hundreds of hand-cultivated orchids and the smell is unbelievably beautiful.”
And finally, “I have never seen some of the trees that grow in this garden, and there are plenty of benches when the view is just overwhelming and you need to sit down to appreciate it. This is a remarkable place.”
Located outside the very busy and commercialized city of Nadi, the garden is now home to 2,000 different species of orchids. It’s a huge area that will surely satisfy the curiosity of orchid lovers, enthusiasts and the simply curious. Beside the lush garden is the actor’s private holiday shack that is also now open to the public.
The shack contains Burr’s private items such as old photos, chair, and walking cane to the delight of fans and visitors. Admission fee is $8.00, which includes a soothing afternoon tea. Meanwhile, entrance to the Garden of the Sleeping Giant is $10. It is open Mondays through Saturdays from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The only downside is that it is out of the way, and so tourists wanting to see it should pay about $40 for taxi.