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.
Above: The main pool at Orchid Falls
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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.
Above: The pool outside the Sleeping Giant Zip Line reception area
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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.
Other Information Before You Go:
Sleeping Giant Zip Line, off Sabeto Road, 12 km (approx. 20 min drive) north-east of Nadi International Airport
177.526059 (to the car park)
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.
Toilets, car park, kiosk, picnic tables, zip line.
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.
Maximum water depth:
Minimum swimming proficiency required:
Experienced (slippery rocks, deep entry, river currents)
No prohibitions specified on site
Shade available in and out of the water
You can reach the hot spring and mud pool from
accommodation in nearby Nadi
Sleeping Giant Zip Line
Nearby attractions: Sabeto hot spring and mud pool
Before you head out, make sure to read the
swimming safety information
and check with the managing authority for any current change of conditions.
The marker indicates the approximate location of the pool.
If you would like to leave a comment about this swimming spot, please fill in the comment box below.
I am particularly interested in your experiences after visiting, and any changes in conditions, etc.
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