With its teeming markets and non-stop activity, Nadi can be a fascinating city for experiencing Fijian culture. Every now and then, however, you simply need to escape the city and drive out into the country. Go to a place with wide open spaces where the pace of life is slow. For travelers who need a break from the city but are still wanting a bit of adventure, the Sabeto Valley offers a nearby escape that is one the most popular day trips from Nadi.
Set 15 minutes north of the city, this lush valley at the foot of the highlands is a journey to rural Fiji. The Sabeto River winds its way down from the densely-forested interior, and along its route it has carved a valley which is peppered with traditional villages. One of the most popular sights in the Sabeto Valley is the Sabeto Valley mud bath. The locals believe that the mud in this pool has natural healing properties, and you immerse yourself in a pool of mud and let it cake your body. Somewhat of a natural spa experience in a rural Fijian pasture, it’s best to visit later in the day when the air is refreshing and cool.
Prior to visiting the Sabeto Valley mud bath, you can also make a stop at The Garden of the Sleeping Giant which is tucked in the depths of the valley. This 50-acre sanctuary features the largest orchid collection in Fiji, and over 2,000 species of the delicate flowers provide color to the valley of green.
While not exactly in Sabeto itself, many travelers combine Sabeto Valley with a visit to the Vuda Lookout. This lofty promontory offers a 360-degree panorama that is one of the best views on the west coast of the island. Looking east, you have the rugged topography of the forested Nausori Highlands. Looking north, you gaze on the buildings of Viseisei village which is the site of the first Fijian landing. To the south, Nadi airport and the outskirts of the city are a reminder of how much Fiji has grown. Finally, to the west, the Yasawa Islands float on the horizon like verdant pinnacles from the sea.
While it might not be located very far outside of Nadi, there are enough things to do in the Sabeto Valley to warrant a day of exploration.