We often want it all with family holidays – somewhere easy to reach yet culturally diverse; with plenty of activities for kids but relaxing for Mum and Dad; where fussy eaters won’t starve but parents get to sample fine dining. And we want it all in a simple bundle where we don’t have to worry about anything – we’ve got enough to do every day!
Asking too much?
Well, maybe not. Because nestled in the heart of the Pacific is the jewel of the family holiday crown… Fiji.
Fiji consists of 332 islands, of which 106 are inhabited. A multi-cultural tapestry of Fijian, Tongan, Indian and European, the people are some of the friendliest you could meet.
Just a 3.5-hour flight from Brisbane, this tropical paradise couldn’t be simpler to get to. And with resorts that are specifically designed with little ones in mind, this is family-friendly travel at its best.
The main island of Viti Levu, home to the airport and main cities of Suva and Nadi, is a great mix of activities and beaches. Vitu Levu is home to a range of resorts and hotels. One of the more popular resorts with families is the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort in Sigatoka, situated on the Coral Coast side of the island.
Within an easy transfer from Nadi airport, this 16-hectare multi-award winning resort is designed around the architectural style of a traditional Fijian village. Offering everything a family could ever want, the resort makes holidays really easy. And from the moment you arrive, greeted with a hearty ‘Bula’ at the entrance, every experience leaves you loving the islands more and more.
Accommodation comes in a range of styles, from your own beachside bure to modern hotel rooms. The bures are perfect for families and a standard bure can comfortably accommodate four people.
The resort includes a tropical swimming lagoon for all ages, a fabulous kids’ club, activities centre, boutique shops, fitness centre, spa, flood-lit tennis courts, private beach and golf training facilities. There are also five adult-only zones including the serene Vahavu bistro and lounge, and sparkling adult-only pool with a swim-up bar (mojito, anyone?).
But what Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort is most famous for is its exceptional nanny service. Whether you want to enjoy a romantic meal, a kid-free swim, or need some serious bliss time at the world-renowned Bebe Spa Sanctuary (the Signature Massage is heavenly), the nannies remove all the challenges of a normal family holiday and leave you with the best of both worlds – holidaying with the kids whilst also having chance to reconnect as a couple.
As well as the facilities, there are stacks of restaurant and bar options on site. The family-friendly Vale Ni Kana is located at the heart of the resort and serves weekly themed dinners with live entertainment that will keep even the fussiest of kids happy. Or for a fine dining experience try the award-winning Ivi Restaurant, recently awarded Fiji’s ‘Best Visitor Dining Experience’ at the 2017 Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards (try the Fijian Kokoda and the flambéed orange crepe – seriously yum!). For a romantic sunset cocktail, head up to the idyllic Kalokalo Bar perched on the hill overlooking the resort, or for a relaxed drink try the beachside Sundowner Bar.
Just a five-minute hop from Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort is the Kula Eco Park. Perfect for younger families, it’s easy to get around and you can get up close and personal with a host of tropical creatures – hold an iguana, pet a snake, feed a turtle, and wander through the bird enclosure where parrots fly freely overhead. The wildlife park has a great splash-and-play zone and waterslide in the centre, perfect for little ones to cool off. There is also a fabulous zip-line (minimum weight for riders is 35kg) which takes riders on an amazing ride through the rainforest canopy, gliding from the top of the park to the valley floor.
For an excursion with a difference, Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort offers a unique village tour, which includes a visit to a local school that the resort supports. This day trip is particularly poignant for families as it allows children to experience the school environment for kids in Fiji, a country that still has a significant amount of poverty. Many families say this excursion is the most memorable of their holiday, and when they return home children are often inspired to undertake their own fundraising efforts to send equipment back to the school.
The smaller islands dotted around Viti Levu range from high-end luxury private islands to budget backpacker resorts. A firm family favourite is Castaway Island Resort, just a short boat transfer from the main island. Offering everything you want in an island escape and much much more, this little slice of paradise has families returning year after year.
The island’s 70 hectares are covered in rich tropical rainforests and surrounded by pristine white sandy beaches, vibrant coral reefs and the azure waters of the Pacific.
Accommodation is in beautifully appointed air-conditioned thatched bures that comfortably sleep four, and there is nothing more tranquil than stepping out of your bure in the morning, straight onto the sand.
There are several restaurant options on the island including the Water’s Edge restaurant and the picturesque the Sundowner bar (with amazing pizzas). For a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience, book a nanny and dine at the award-winning Restaurant 1808. Located on the beach, dine barefoot in the sand as the chef prepares a mouth-watering selection of Fiji-Asian fusion cuisine from the open-air kitchen.
Being surrounded by stunning reefs and tropical waters, Castaway Island’s main offering is its array of water activities. Explore the reef straight off the beach, take a day trip to visit the beach where Castaway was filmed, head out dolphin watching or PADI scuba diving, or simply sit in a hammock and watch the waves gently lap the beach. For something a little different, catch a boat out to Cloud 9, a super-cool floating bar in the middle of the turquoise ocean. For those wishing to take it easy, there are two sparkling freshwater pools (one family friendly, one adult-only), an impeccable nanny service and a world-renowned kids’ club that offers a range of fun daily activities with a Fiji flavour. So, you can enjoy both the family-friendly aspect and the romantic offerings of this enchanting destination.