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Hoot Blog

Spice up your life in Fiji

How the Fiji Spice Garden began

Dr. Ronald Gatty is passionate about plants. His father is Harold Gatty, the first man to fly an aeroplane around the world and went on to be the founder of Air Pacific. Ronald was raised in Fiji, and even from a young age, knew he had a different passion.

After pursuing his interests in horticulture and botany, Ronald started the first spice company in Fiji more than 20 years ago. He brought new and fragrant spices from many distant tropical lands, such as Sri Lanka, India and Guatemala. The spices of vanilla, nutmeg, cardamom, green peppercorns and cinnamon were now available in Fiji, and used in dishes across the islands.

Today, Ronald runs the Spice Garden, and also teaches people, particularly kids, how to care for plants. The Spice Garden has recently expanded into the Nature Garden, which boasts an array of plants.

Why you should visit

Vanilla is a primary spice of the Fiji Spice Gardens, but you'll also see pepper, nutmeg, turmeric, ginger and more. As you walk around, you'll see how these spices are cultivated and cured by the locals, see demonstrations, get a taste and learn more from friendly guides. Learn more about how the plants grow, the different methods used for growing and harvesting, and how the flavours are used in cooking.

The new Nature Garden is a place full to bursting with indigenous and exotic plants. Here a guide will inform you about the fruits and vegetables native to the islands, while also learning about Fijian dishes, dying, weaving materials and medicines created by plants. You'll also have the opportunity to taste the seasonal produce.

If you're holidaying with your family, this is a great chance for your kids to learn more about this key aspect of Fijian culture.

The garden is 22km west of Suva on Viti Levu, the main island of Fiji. It's open seven days a week, Monday to Saturday 9am-4:30pm. The cost of family admission is $25. If you're planning to visit, it's a good idea to call or email ahead.