This is a guest post by Kirralee Baker who write Escape with Kids. Today she is sharing her top things to do in Fiji with kids.
Kirralee is a Sydney-based mum of two squeezing her love of travel in between making lunch boxes and picking up Lego. She dreams of holidays where everyone has fun, nothing goes wrong and her suitcase is filled with fabulous outfits and tacky souvenirs.
Fiji is my favourite holiday destination with little kids, and to show our dedication we’ve been 4 times!
Firstly, the weather is awesome. Being around the same latitude as Cairns means lovely warm tropical days. The temperature ranges from 26 to 31°c year round, with the wet season in summer and the dry season in winter. Anytime from around April to October is ideal, but I recommend giving November to March a miss due to the occasional cyclone.
A big part of the attractiveness of Fiji is having an international experience with a short flight time – only around 4 hours from the east coast.
It is a quiet, relaxing place, with very little nightlife outside the resorts, specialising in romantic and family holidays. Many resorts clearly market themselves as either one or the other, so there’s no surprises. There are adults-only resorts, which would be perfect for a honeymoon or babymoon, and then there are the resorts that we’ve been to. These are filled with pools, waterslides, family-friendly restaurants, kids clubs, nannies, playgrounds and rooms that will accommodate a family.
The Fijian people are what make the country truly unique. This is an incredibly family-focussed culture. Children are doted upon here. They are relaxed, happy people who seem to find such joy in life. It is a pleasure to be around them. Visitors are very welcome and they are proud to share their country and culture with you.
The most popular areas to stay are Denarau Island (a 20 min drive from the airport and only separated from the mainland by a short bridge), the Coral Coast (south coast of mainland, about 1.25 hour drive from the airport) and the Mamanuca Islands (about a 1.25 hour boat ride from Port Denarau).
My top things to do in Fiji with kids
Have a resort day
Fiji does resort-style holidays better than any other location I know, and, as a result, most people spend a large portion of their holiday at their resort. There are some great day trips or half day trips to do. And if you stay on Denarau, then you might take a walk to a neighbouring resort or catch the Bula Bus to the shops and restaurants of Port Denarau. But the main attraction of Fiji is the relaxing resort holiday.
Inside your resort your kids are superstars. Everywhere you go staff will greet them and be more interested in talking to them than to you. Fijians just looooove kids. They are a never-ending source of smiles and cuddles to any and every child. They will give a tantruming child an indulgent smile, try to convince your pre-schooler to eat more of their dinner and cuddle your toddler while they nap in kids club.
A love of water seems to be universal to all children, so while you might find a day by the pool or beach a bit boring and culturally-lacking, it will likely be your child’s favourite part of the holiday. Look at it from their point of view. It’s warm and sunny and they can splash in the water with the people they love most in the world. What’s not to love?
The resort kids clubs are universally great, so we found spending the morning with the kids in the pool or at the beach, then putting them in the kids club for the afternoon worked well. This way the kids got the best of both worlds. They spent quality time with us plus met lots of new playmates at kids club. And hubster and I got some alone time.
Visit Kula Eco Park
The Coral Coast is home to several large, affordable and very family-friendly resorts, like Outrigger on the Lagoon and Shangri-La. If you’re based down this way, then Kula Eco Park is an easy outing for kids of all ages. This is a wildlife park which specialises in birds and reptiles. It may not have the excitement of lions and tigers, but it is a very peaceful, lush environment, which the kids will love. While the attractive boardwalks through the forest have some stairs, if you stay around the animal enclosures the paths are quite pram-friendly.
Tour a local school
Many resorts sponsor at least one local school and guests are encouraged to bring stationary or books from home to donate in person. This is greatly appreciated and the school is likely to have an assembly for the donations to be presented in front of all the students and teachers. When you see the basic facilities you will know that you’ve done something really worthwhile.
Not everyone has shoes and they play netball and rugby with balls made from screwed up newspaper, but the students are joyful and excited to have you visit. You will feel so welcome and they will love to talk to you. Not such a bad thing for our privileged kids to be exposed to.
Get out to an island
While you may go for the convenience of Denarau for your accommodation, the islands are very beautiful and well worth exploring on a day trip. I highly recommend the Savala Island Day Cruise and will rave about it endlessly if you let me. We waited until our most recent trip to try it because our youngest had dropped his day sleep, but there is no minimum age and you can take your pram onto the boat and the island. The incredibly helpful staff will make it easy for you.
There are heaps of activities you can do while on the island, like snorkelling, feeding baby sharks in the shallows and kayaking, but equally you can find yourself a shady spot and relax.
See how the locals live
Resort staff generally live nearby and there will often be tours available of their village. This is a fabulous opportunity to get an insight into their culture and history. You can support them by shopping at their jewellery stalls, appreciate their customs and rituals by taking part in a kava ceremony or just have a chat to a local and let the kids play together.
Have you been to Fiji?
What’s your favourite thing to do there?
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