We discovered this tucked away paradise garden on a recent visit to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. Whilst taking the lovely old bus around the island (there are only two routes, clockwise and anti-clockwise) we spotted a sign for the Marie Nui garden.
Tucked away down a track, almost hidden from the road, the approach to the garden heightens the expectation of what lies beyond.Then a breathtaking avenue of heliconia comes into view, each tree dripping with flowers. Well the entrance certainly had a WOW factor. The path leads to a small clearing where the visitor prepares for the next assault on the senses….the garden does not disappoint. A mass of giant torch gingers some 15ft tall, the flowers of rich deep red surround tables of the Hidden Spirit cafe.
We worked our way slowly around the 7 acres of lush planting not wanting to miss any small part of this magical place. A white arch smothered in fragrant jasmine led into the wedding garden. Two bridges over a small stream provided approaches for brides and their grooms to the heart-shaped lawn where the ceremony would take place. Heavily perfumed Frangipani trees surrounded the area.
A herb patch contained rosemary, fennel, and Siam basil all growing abundantly and looking very much at home. Vivid leaf colour from croton, coleus and dracaena almost took over from the flowering plants. One came across many secluded little corners at which the scene was perfected by Buddhist style ornaments.
The Marie Nui garden is owned by Kira and John, an Australian couple who came upon the piece of land some time ago and had the vision to plant this beautiful garden. The Cook Islands are just about as far away from the UK as it is possible to go, a four hour flight from New Zealand, crossing the international date line. If you are in this part of the world, visit this hidden gem, Cook Islanders are wonderfully welcoming people.