Garden of the Sleeping Giant – Fiji’s Majestic Showcase of Orchids

On a recent trip to Fiji, it was suggested that we visit Garden Of the Sleeping Giant on our way to the villa where we’d be staying for the week. Our guide told us the garden was Raymond Burr’s pride and joy and that he’d cultivated over 2,000 exotic orchids on the property while residing there.

I had a crush on him as Perry Mason, was scared to death watching him act out in Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller, Rear Window and adored him as the wheelchair – bound police officer in Ironside.

But, in Fiji, I fell in love with him all over again, this larger-than-life man who’d spent time cultivating these delicate orchids, reportedly naming one the “Barbara Hale Orchid”, after his Perry Mason co-star. What a guy!

The Garden of the Sleeping Giant spans across the foothills of the Nausori Highlands, only a few miles and minutes outside of Nadi. The driveway was lined with tall, spindly trees. They seemed to fold over each other as they lent shade above us.

We were welcomed in by Fijian men and women. They told us we could wander wherever we wanted, that there’d be a fruity drink (or two) waiting for us on the veranda when we were finished exploring.

The orchids were amazing! They came in every color imaginable, some hanging down from long, thread-like strands, others popping out of little clay pots that had been set on rocks along the pathways. The fragrance was heady and we would stop often to breath in their perfume.


We walked under canopies that sheltered us from the November heat and the garden’s views were more than stunning. Tropical trees and flowers were all around us and the dense, enchanted forest was just ahead.

There were gorgeous lily ponds, with a carpet of yellow flowers and so many big, healthy green leaves, you could hardly see beneath them, to the dark water below.

It was so lush there! With so many varieties of orchids we’d never seen, or even heard of before, it was easy to see why the actor had sought a life here, the peace and quiet was pure paradise.


We walked around for a few hours, exploring every nook and cranny of the gardens.


Then we caught sight of something in the corner; a child’s tree swing! It was big enough for a giant to sit on and we raced to take turns being a kid again. We swung our feet back and forth beneath the old wood, hearts light as a feather. We rose higher and higher, our laughter rang out, loud enough to wake the sleeping giant of Fiji. It’s kind of cool, to think that maybe we did.

Theresa St. John is a travel writer and photographer based in Saratoga Springs, New York. Her work has appeared in many on-line and print magazines. Some of those include Great Escape Publishing, International Living, Discover Saratoga, Saratoga Mama, Farming, Vacation Rental Travels Magazine and Travel Thru History, to name just a few.In March she will travel to Paris, in honor of her Mom, who'd always wished to go, but never had the chance to.Later, in August of 2016, she will...read more

Recently Published Stories

Healthcare in a Foreign Land: Our Experience of Portugal’s Healthcare System as Expats

What cost hundreds of dollars in the states, cost exactly eleven euros. And we have countless examples from x-rays to mammograms, and everything in between…excellent healthcare is just plain cheap here. It is one of the many aspects of life in Portugal that has been positive.

Living A Peaceful Life In Portugal During A Pandemic

After leaving the states in 2016, we noticed the difference in pace instantly. My husband and I joked that it is as if they are living on ‘island time’ in Portugal, even though it is not an island. And though there are times that can be frustrating, for the most part we find that we have adjusted to a slower, more peaceful pace of life.

New Zealand Wine Country; Tour the Beautiful Marlborough Valley With Jade Tours

If you like having a boutique experience, as opposed to a bus with a large number of people, try Jade Tours New Zealand Wine Country tour.