Orchid Falls
Sabeto, Viti Levu, Fiji

 
The weather is always warm in Fiji, and sometimes uncomfortably hot, so it was a relief to find a swimming hole filled with cool, fresh water. True, you will lose a bit of sweat on the uphill walk through the jungle to get here, but once you're in the water it will all be forgotten. The pool itself is about the size of a large backyard pool - you can do a few strokes back and forth and if you're careful, dive in off the rocks. The maximum water depth is just on two metres. Swimming at Orchid Falls near Sabeto, Fiji Above: The main pool at Orchid Falls

Two creeks converge at this location, each with their own waterfall and plunge pool. There are also several smaller pools downstream and on the tier of rock between the upper and lower section of the main falls.

To visit the falls you need to pay a trail fee at the zipline building at the start of the walk. The price varies according to what they think you can afford to pay (there are no prices displayed), but was up to FJD$50 per person when I visited. It is cheaper per person for couples and families, and may also be cheaper if you are visiting as part of an organised tour group or if you are also using the zip line. The price includes a guide who will take you in a small group to the falls.
The trail is paved the whole way and isn't at all difficult unless the river is high, but the guides are friendly and informative and make sure you stay safe. They will also show you the short detour to the gigantic cannonball rock. The guides offer you free insect repellent before you head off and although I didn't notice any mosquitoes, it is a shaded jungle with lots of water around, so it is best to be prepared.

There is also a swimming hole in the river behind the Zip Line building. Some of the locals were jumping and diving into the water off the rocks on the far side, so it must be fairly deep. It started to rain when I arrived, so I didn't get into the water there. A small pool has also been built into the side of the river, so that you can have a quick dip away from the main current. This spot is not as picturesque as the waterfall further upstream, but might be a good option if you are exhausted after your ziplining and can't manage the effort to walk up any more hills. Swimming at Sleeping Giant Zip Line near Sabeto, Fiji Above: The pool outside the Sleeping Giant Zip Line reception area

Here is a video that I took when I visited the falls. It was taken in August after many months of dry conditions during what the locals were calling a drought. You can see that even under dry conditions, there is plenty of water in the main pool. I couldn't swim in the pool below the right hand branch of the waterfall, which had shrunk in the dry conditions and was being fed only by a trickle.

Essential Information Before You Go:
Location: Sleeping Giant Zip Line, off Sabeto Road, 12 km (approx. 20 min drive) north-east of Nadi International Airport
Latitude:-17.714527 Longitude:177.526059 (to the car park)
Getting there: The easiest way to get here is by taxi or with a tour company, but here are directions if you are driving yourself. From Nadi, head north along Queens Road and turn off at Sabeto Road (roughly pronounced Sam-bay-toe). Drive for 8 km, through the Sabeto village, including sections of unsealed road that were passable by 2WD in dry weather when I visited. Turn left through the cane fields at the sleeping giant sign. After going over the bridge, turn left and drive very slowly, right through the middle of a smaller village with its free-range chickens and roaming children, and up the hill until you reach the car park.
Facilities: Toilets, car park, kiosk, picnic tables, zip line.
Entrance fee: Up to around FJD$50 per person, but can be cheaper for couples and families or if you are part of an organised tour group.
Water temperature: Mild
Water clarity: Clear
Under foot: Rock
Maximum water depth: 2 metres
Minimum swimming proficiency required: Experienced (slippery rocks, deep entry, river currents)
Prohibitions: No prohibitions specified on site
Sun shade: Shade available in and out of the water
Opening times: Always open
Wheelchair access: None
Accommodation Options: You can reach the hot spring and mud pool from accommodation in nearby Nadi.
Managing authority: Sleeping Giant Zip Line
Nearby attractions: Sabeto hot spring and mud pool
Before you head out, make sure to read the swimming safety information.
Locality Map:
The marker indicates the approximate location of the pool.
Change of Conditions:
I am not currently aware of any change of conditions reported at this site by the managing authority, or by swimmers on this website. If you are visiting this swimming spot and have any further updates on any change of conditions, let me know via the comment form below.
Comments:
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© Brad Neal 2017. All rights reserved. This work is not to be sampled, copied, modified, adapted or reused for commercial purposes without the written consent of the author.