Paradise uncovered: Fiji with kids
Updated: Jan 1
Okay, so right now travel is definitely not proving very easy, but if this covid-crazy has taught us anything it's that we definitely need something to look forward to! As such, we're turning our mind to beefing up the 'travel section' on London for Kidz with some vacay inspo and fam-friendly holiday ideas, including this rather far flung but oh-so-darn-special pocket of the world. Yep, Fiji, we're talking about you and we're totally putting you on the 'living in hope' radar for 2022...
We won’t lie to you: the journey to Fiji is pretty EPIC and you can expect it to take almost 24 hours to get there (and that's without factoring in a stop: you won't be able to get there directly from the UK). Our advice? As this is likely to be a holiday of a lifetime, stop somewhere on the way AND on the way back for a few nights to explore more of that side of the world. We went via Singapore, where Fiji Airways fly from, and although we might be a tad biased when it comes the Lion City (we lived there for 12 years), Singapore is an awesome place to visit with kids. Seoul, South Korea (Korea Air) and Hong Kong (Fiji Airways) also have direct flights to Fiji and are both adventure-packed places to visit either on your way there or back too.
Where to stay
With 330 islands making up Fiji, over 100 of which are permanently inhabited, there are plenty of picks for a fam-friendly, dream vacay that suits your budget and lifestyle. We went for the three-star Plantation Island Resort, on Malolo Lailai, just an hour’s ferry ride from near the airport through the cleanest air we ever did breath.
This is a resort that has everything a family could want (including a giant, inflatable sea playground, mini golf and water sports) and more. And while it's not five-start decadence, what it lacks for in luxe it more than makes up for with cool activities aplenty on offer. The drop-in, free kids club was a big hit with our younger two where they were constantly busy trying their hands at tie dye t-shirt making, crab racing, treasure hunting, races and coconut smashing. Kids can be left on their own with the supervising, super friendly staff if they're over five-years, but younger tots will need a resort nanny to chaperone them whilst they are in the club which is chargeable. There's also a teen club with a great activity schedule, but whether your teen actually joins in or not is another matter (ours didn't!).
The beach is, quite simply, stunning and is where you'll find sea kayaks, paddleboards and snorkelling gear all available for free, as well as chargeable activities such as parasailing. That water playground is also just off the shoreline and guaranteed to be the highlight of the hollibobs for the kiddos. www.plantationisland.com
A smaller scale but still top family destination, while we didn't actually stay on Castaway Island, we did visit there as part of an island-hopping tour. This pick is a tad more decadent than Plantation, and while it doesn't have a Ninja Warrior kinda ocean playpark here, it does have a fab, daily kids' programme for young castaways age four to 11 years. Sandcastle building comps, coconut toffee making, coconut husking and traditional dancing are all part of the fun here. Have a look at its live webcam to see for yourself just how stunning this place is, but if you're expecting to see Wilson and Tom Hanks then you'll be disappointed.
Treasure Island Resort
Another island resort straight off the paradise wishlist, Treasure Island is big on luxury and the perfect pick for families (and couples if you want to ditch the kids altogether!). There's that all-important kids' club - Little Treasures Kids Club - for mini holidaymakers age three years and up, and the programme is jam-packed with Fijian cultural activities including basket weaving and meke traditional dancing. There's also a babysitting service on site if you fancy a romantic, chicken-nugget free meal washed down with a cocktail or two. www.treasureisland-fiji.com
Aquarius on the Beach
If budget is the name of this tropical getaway game, then we hear good things about Aquarius on the Beach, which is a small hotel just a short drive - no boat required - from Nadi International Airport. While it doesn't have the big resort feel of other picks, it's got its own boutique charm and has the all important swimming pool and palm-fringed beach elements of your vacay wishlist. You'll also find free sea kayak rental, beach volleyball, restaurant and an entertainment programme.
DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hotel Fiji - Sonaisali Island
Overlooking the Mamanuca Islands, this beachfront hotel is less than 30 minutes from Nadi International Airport and has all the perks synonymous with a Hilton hotel experience. Expect a lagoon-style pool overlooking the beach, tennis courts, jogging track and fitness centre as well as cultural activities, sightseeing tours, horseback riding, watersports and paintballing. In other words, plenty to keep you busy with.
What to do
If you’re looking for a holiday spot that involves a lot of planting poolside and/or beach side on your butt supping cocktails on dream beaches, then Fiji is a definite winner, but there's also plenty of family fun to be had if you do want to get off the sunbeds for a while! We had the best time on a sand bank tour (pictured above) where we found conch shells and star fish galore, but there's also diving, snorkelling, island hopping, cultural excursions, sea kayaking, parasailing, surfing, jet-skiing, zip-lining and even sky-diving to keep busy with.
When to go
We made the arduous journey in June when it is winter-time in Fiji, but Fijian winter is a whole different ballgame to British winter! We had glorious blue skies and perfect temperatures for the whole of our stay. Typically the weather is driest from May to September, and their summer months are November through to March when it’s warm but also wetter, and obviously if you head over during the school summer break, or at Xmas-time, then it's going to be busier and more expensive too. Ugh.
That's that then: a quick Fiji with kids guide in a nutshell. All that's left to do is start saving, booking, dreaming and getting there for yourselves: feel free to bring us with you!
Top image credit: Tracy Tristram, London for Kidz
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