With more than 50 resorts spread across its islands, Fiji is a perfect family holiday destination.
With flights from Australia arriving at Nadi International Airport on the main island Viti Levu – often referred to as the mainland – its resorts are easily accessible
OUTRIGGER FIJI BEACH RESORT
On a calm lagoon ideal for introducing kids to water sports such as kayaking and stand-up paddle-boarding, Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort is designed like a Fijian village, with thatched roof bures and palm trees dotted throughout. The five-star resort, which has more than 200 hotel rooms and 47 bures, is just over an hour’s drive from the airport at Sigatoka, on the Coral Coast. During the day girls sit by the pool having their hair braided while watching their siblings swim, and at dusk staff blow conch shells (and often let the kids – or their Dads – have a go). Daily activities include coconut bowling, coconut husking demonstrations, guided reef walks, storytelling sessions and spear throwing for teenagers. The Vale Ni Kana restaurant has themed dinners and live entertainment each night, with a special lovo night one night a week where you can watch a traditional performance and dine on tender chicken and pork cooked in an underground oven, kokoda (raw fish) and the starchy root vegetable taro.
The poolside restaurant Bavari is ideal for a relaxed meal of Asian offerings such as curries and Pad Thai, and the kids can play in the pool while their parents eat. There are a variety of room types, ranging from oceanview hotel rooms to family bures (bungalows) that sleep up to six people. It’s also just across the road from Kula WILD Adventure Park, where you can see green Fijian crested iguanas and exotic birds, go ziplining through the rainforest canopy and play on water slides, including the 106m-long Splash Jungle Mountain Slide.
SHANGRI-LA’S FIJIAN RESORT AND SPA
This recently-refurbished resort is on its own private island, Yanuca Island, which is connected to the mainland by a causeway, less than an hour’s drive from the airport. The 443-room resort is spread across more than 100ha and boasts the largest inflatable water park in the South Pacific. As well as an indoor and outdoor kids’ club, it has a separate entertainment zone for tweens and teens. At the Little Chief’s Club, activity coordinators entertain children with a variety of fun experiences. Many of the activities also take place at the children’s pool, located in the main pool area, on the beach or at the playground. They include collecting shells, origami workshops, Fijian dancing and dress-up, basket making, climbing contests, crab hunts, grass skirt making and fish feeding, as well as movie nights and disco nights. Its Marine Education Centre is a great place for kids to learn about the environment, with activities such as mangrove and coral planting. It has six restaurants and bars. The Lagoon Terrace is the resort’s main dining restaurant, with a huge variety of a la carte and smorgasbord options that change daily, as well as the casual Beach Bar & Grill and Asian and Italian offerings.
FIJI MARRIOTT RESORT MOMI BAY
Opened in 2017, this five-star resort is the only one on the main island to offer overwater villas. But there is still plenty to entice families! As well as its 22 overwater bures it has 136 Deluxe Rooms, which can be interconnected. It has a designated children’s pool with water guns, and its Turtles Kids’ Club has indoor and outdoor play areas where children can enjoy slides, swings, climbing and a sand pit.
Activities include a mini-Amazing Race, Fijian language lessons, pirate ship making, coconut husking, basket weaving, crab races, a talent quest and marine life education. Dine on the terrace at Lagoon Lounge and Bar, try Fijian-Indian fusion dishes at Goji Kitchen & Bar or indulge in seafood at Fish Bar. Or grab a sandwich to take on tour from on-site deli/café Fiji Baking Company. The resort is around 45 minutes’ drive from the airport on Viti Levu’s west coast.
NANUKU AUBERGE RESORT
A luxury boutique resort near Fiji’s adventure capital Pacific Harbour, on Viti Levu’s southern coast, Nanuku offers a range of experiential experiences for kids. On a 222ha estate with a 3km-long beach just over two hours from Nadi International Airport, or 90 minutes from Suva, it has 37 spacious suites, villas and residences. It can also claim its own white-sand island only a 20-minute boat ride away, which is great for day trips and overnight camping. As well as offering complimentary babysitting from 8am to 8pm, every child under six is allocated a nanny for the duration of their stay (including newborns). Children six to 14 years are allocated a nanny or buddy per family. Children under eight also stay, play and eat for free, while children aged nine to 14 pay half the price of normal children’s meal plans.
Nanuku’s Lailai Adventure Club has a focus on nature, mindfulness, education and cultural experiences. Activities include traditional cooking, dancing, moonlight cinema nights, water sports, sandcastle building, zip-lining, crab racing, volleyball, rock climbing and crafts. The resort also has an on-site marine scientist who educates children about conserving the local ecosystem with activities such as coral planting to build up the local reef and mangrove tree planting to improve water quality.
BEQA LAGOON RESORT
See village warriors walk across hot stones at a sacred fire walking ceremony on the island where the ritual originated at Bega Lagoon Resort. After a 2.5-hour drive from Nadi International Airport, it’s a 45-minute boat ride across the lagoon to the 15sq km island, which has no roads or towns. The resort has 25 air-conditioned, open-plan bures and a large open-air restaurant at Bure Kalou (spirit house). It has an excellent school holiday program as well as tours to waterfalls, villages, schools, Suva and the Secret Island atoll. There are also a range of activities including cooking and mat weaving, snorkelling tours, stand-up paddleboarding, fishing charters, surfing, kayaking and beach picnics.
Around 25 minutes’ drive from the airport, this man-made island is attached to Viti Levu by a short causeway. It has a row of resorts lining the beach you can easily hop between dining at different restaurants. Port Denarau, which is home to more restaurants and shops, is a short walk or shuttle bus ride away.
SOFITEL FIJI RESORT & SPA
This five-star resort hotel revealed its new Waitui Beach Club for kids – the first of its kind on the mainland – in time for the July school holidays. The club is part of a major refurbishment the property is currently undergoing. For children over three, the Nui Kids Beach Club has six interactive play areas. They include Wet & Wild, Splash & Play, Artist in Residence, The Chill Zone, Simple Pleasures and the Islander Cabana, as well as a climbing wall and trampoline area on the beach. It also has a new children’s cafe within the complex. A new adolescent zone for 12 to 16-year-olds with foosball, air hockey and video games is also set to open later this year or early next year. All five restaurants at the 296-room resort are also being upgraded, including its main restaurant Lagoon; beach restaurant, Salt, and a new beach bar, to be called Rum Shak, which will serve more than 150 types of rum and Fijian tapas. Its family pool and waterslide will not be impacted by the renovation, which is set to be complete in early 2020.
RADISSON BLU RESORT FIJI DENARAU ISLAND
The fun begins as soon as you arrive at Radisson Blu Resort Fiji Denarau Island, with the Blu Banana Kids Club activities team checking children in with their new Blu Banana passports. The resort has four climate-controlled lagoon pools and Fiji’s only white-water tunnel slide. It has 135 spacious hotel rooms with either a balcony or courtyard overlooking the tropical gardens, lagoon-style pools or 18-hole golf course. The kids’ club is located near the resort lobby on the ground floor. The morning Roroqo Club for littlies aged one to three provides fun and engaging activities for toddlers along with their own nanny. Babysitting charges apply. The kids’ club is divided into age groups: four to seven and eight to 12 (seasonal). Three sessions are offered daily as well as a torch-lighting ceremony at sunset and three themed nights a week.
Less than an hour’s boat ride from Port Denarau, the Mamanuca Islands are the closest group to the mainland. The Tom Hanks movie Castaway was filmed at Monoriki Island and can be visited on day trips from its many resorts
MALOLO ISLAND RESORT
With its teenage retreat, complete with bean bags, music, table tennis and entertainment, this resort is ideal for adolescents. The Fijian-owned property has beautiful colonial and plantation-style architecture and two pools. It was awarded the Best Quality Accommodation for 2018 award at the ANZ Fiji Tourism Excellence in Tourism Awards. Dine at the main eatery Terrace Restaurant, the thatched roof Beach Bar or at signature restaurant Treetops if your kids are aged 13 or over. Malolo’s Kids’ Club program Yanu Yanu – Fijian for ‘island’ – lets children live like local islanders during their holiday. Run by the Malolo Kids Club, which is free for children aged four to 12, it’s a seven-day program with each day focusing on a different theme. Marine Environment Day teaches kids about coral reef care with snorkelling lessons, fish identification and fish feeding, while the Coconut Tree Day teaches kids to husk and scrape coconuts and build and race traditional Niu boats.
Other activities include Fijian food preparation, traditional arts and crafts, herbal medicine and endangered species tours, traditional costume making, meeting the local iguanas, face painting and Fijian language lessons. Children keep a daily pictorial and written diary of their activities for show and tell back home and there are daily competitions. Visits to the local primary school and neighbouring islands can also be arranged. There are only 46 bures in five categories including 10 Island Bures, 18 Oceanview Bures, 12 Deluxe Oceanview Bures, four Family Bures (which can sleep up to seven people) and two adults-only Tadra Beach Bures.
SIX SENSES FIJI
This luxurious resort on Malolo Island has 24 spacious private pool villas plus 60 two to five-bedroom residences. Its Grow With Six Senses kids club, which is open daily from 9am to 9pm, is complimentary for all children aged four to 12. A weekly activity schedule outlines the activities for each day, including kids yoga, solar oven making, tree planting, bracelet weaving, zumba, tie-dye t-shirt making and a pizza making class. Nanny services are also complimentary for Residence guests between 9am to 5pm each day and are available to villa guests at a cost. Families can organise picnics, take part in cooking classes and water sports such as sailing, jet-skiing, kayaking, snorkelling, water-skiing and stand-up paddleboarding. Other options include village tours, island hopping and sunset cruises. Junior spa treatments are also available. Set in the middle of the resort overlooking the ocean, Tovolea Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Guests at TeiTei Pizzeria, near the outdoor cinema, can interact with the resort’s chefs as they prepare their dinner. RaRa Restaurant and Bar has views of the marina and offers classic cafe dishes and ASEAN specialties, while RaRa Café is a great place to grab a coffee and a pastry.
PLANTATION ISLAND RESORT
On the second largest island in the Mamanuca group, Malolo Lailai Island, accommodation at Plantation Island Resort ranges from poolside rooms the kids will love to beachfront bures. As well as the Coconut Kids Club, it has a creche and indoor activities centre and two new outdoor playgrounds – one for children aged up to five and the other for six to 12-year-olds. Activities include pineapple cracking, coconut boat making, toy weaving, limbo, talent quests, crab hunting, crab races, dance lessons, tie-dye t-shirt making, scavenger hunts, beach soccer, shell and necklace making, fish feeding, nature walks and face painting.
Families can enjoy a meal by the water at the Ol’ Copra Shed, dine on Pacific Rim cuisine at a la carte restaurant Black Coral or grab a burger, hot dog or pizza at the beachfront Snack Bar. The Cocohut Espresso & Frappe Bar also sells fresh coconuts and there’s a mini-mart selling ice-creams and snacks. Babysitting services are also available.
Fiji’s second largest island, Vanua Levu is just a one-hour flight from Nadi but gets significantly less tourists than Viti Levu
JEAN-MICHEL COUSTEAU RESORT
Previously a dive resort favoured by French explorer and film producer Jean-Michel Cousteau (son of ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau) this resort is near Vanua Levu’s largest island Savusavu. Designed like a Fijian village, it has just 25 bures made from natural materials, with thatched roofs and timber louvre windows. The waters that surround the resort are part of a marine reserve, so the marine life is impressive. Each week it hosts a charity crab race to raise money for the Savusavu Community Foundation, set up to improve health, education and transport for locals. Each child five and under is assigned a dedicated nanny during their stay, while children six to 12 are in groups of five led by a ‘buddy’. The resort’s kids’ club Bula Club is open from 8am to 9pm daily. It has two pools with waterslides and a toddlers’ pool, as well as a jungle gym, zipline, trampoline, sandpit and arts and crafts centre. Parents are encouraged to participate at any time. The Lei Lei program is for children up to five while the Marau program is for those aged six to 12, who are also encouraged to take part in the Junior Chef’s Program in which they visit the resort’s organic garden to pick vegetables and help make lunch or dinner. There’s also lots of fun games and educational activities.
KORO SUN RESORT
Stay in one of 50 air-conditioned villas or bures overlooking the garden, lagoon or rainforest at this resort, which is a 15-minute drive from the airport at Savusavu. There are two pools (one with a waterslide) and stays include continental breakfast daily, the use of non-motorized water sports and cultural activities. The Jungle Kids Club offers a complimentary Bula Buddy service for children aged four to 12, as well as a nanny service for children three and under. Activities include rainforest hikes, Fijian arts and crafts, tidal pool exploration, snorkelling (for children seven and older), t-shirt painting, coconut leaf weaving, hair braiding, sandcastle building, shell collecting, coconut bowling, sulu tying, balloon dancing, crab races, fish feeding, t-shirt painting and a disco. There’s also educational games including quizzes and games about Fiji’s history and native plants.
The Palm Grove Restaurant in the central clubhouse is the main place to dine. The casual Edgewater Beach Club offers burgers, sandwiches, pizzas and other light bites directly from the infinity-edge pool. Waterfront restaurant, Latitude 17, specialises in Asian-fusion cuisine and is adults only after 7pm.
Known as the Garden Island, Fiji’s third largest island is the place to go to immerse yourself in nature. The island is to the east of Vanua Levu, less than 1.5-hour flight from Nadi.
Owned and operated by Australian couple Allan and Terri Gortan, whose three children love playing with younger guests, Paradise Taveuni is a great option for scuba divers and adventure lovers. It’s a one-hour scenic 4WD drive from Taveuni Matei Airport – half on sealed roads and half unsealed – to the resort at the southern end of the island. Or you can book a speedboat transfer! There are 16 bures and vales to choose from – all with outdoor showers in a lava rock garden – and a lovo feast is held every Friday night. Activities include hikes to a cannibal cave and waterfalls, fishing charters and island hopping day trips, as well as snorkelling, kayaking, villages tours and the opportunity to attend church services.
Fijian Airways, Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia are among the airlines that fly to the capital, Nadi.
WHEN TO GO
The dry season coincides with Australia’s winter, when temperatures are in the mid-to-high-20s, low rainfall and little chance of cyclones. The wet season is from November to April, when you can expect short tropical downpours. Accommodation is usually more affordable, but it is still hot and a great time to see waterfalls flowing.