If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed that recently my feed was filled with all things sunshine, palm trees and beaches. For our family fled the cold Canberra winter, and took a holiday to Fiji. Our first time to this amazing country, and one that we will no doubt return to again. I managed to fill a whole memory card with photos, but here’s my best attempt at keeping our story ‘condensed’.
The girls travelled really well – even when we discovered that the Virgin flight over offered no in-flight entertainment (?!) and the hostess would not even give me a pillow when Little J fell asleep on my lap (and therefore and so did my arm!). Thankfully the flight back with Fiji Airways was far more pleasant – with lots of entertainment to keep us occupied during the 4 hours flight.
After arriving in Fiji, we took a private transfer to what would become our home away from home – The Warwick Resort. Located on the Coral Coast, and a 2 hour drive from the Nadi airport.
We were given a warm welcome, and the generous and kind hospitality only grew from there. I’d heard that the Fijians love kids, and this proved so true. Every staff member we passed greeted us with an energetic ‘Bula’, but the real warmth came when they interacted with the kids. For most often they scooped Charlotte and Josie up for cuddles or gave them a high five as we passed. Needless to say, the girls loved the attention!
It didn’t take us long to settle into a holiday routine. Generally I would get up before the kids, and take a walk along the beach. Most mornings I had company in the form of a dog (or dogs) from a nearby village, who were quite happy to trot along beside me as I explored the area.
From there – we headed off to breakfast at the Buffet. A decent selection of all the usual breakfast items – with hot and cold selections on offer. Perfect energy for the morning ahead, which usually consisted of swimming and exploring.
The Resort also offered a Kids program (for ages 2 and up) – which Charlotte LOVED. Filled with lots of activities – including fish feeding, arts and crafts, cooking classes, games, face painting and the like.
We usually ate lunch by the pool, where a Bar and Grill offered a variety of meal options. From burgers, to salads, or heartier meals for bigger appetites – there seemed to be something for everyone. Washed down with a cocktail, or two.
The Grill also had ‘kids meals’ – a lunch box including a hot treat (toasted sandwich, fish, chicken etc), plus fruit, vegetables, crackers and cheese.
As Josie still has a lunch nap, we used the middle part of the day to rest and relax. Most days Charlotte fell asleep too, and we savoured the quiet time.
After lunch, however, the adventures continued. We spent time at the beach, paddling in the water and building sand castles.
Although Josie was too young to go to the Kids Club, the Resort has a Nanny service (for a modest fee) which we took advantage of most afternoons for a few hours. During this time Mr BBB and I headed off for a game of tennis or squash, or out kayaking, and indulged in another cocktail in the lounges overlooking the beach.
And while we certainly loved the resort-life, I couldn’t help but book a few extra things for us to do during our stay. The first was a horseride with Charlotte – something I had been promising her since her last birthday. A hut next to the resort had beach rides on offer, so one morning we did just that. An hour spent riding along the beach together, chatting with our local guide about all things Fiji. (ps. he was horrified to learn that we live 2 hours from the beach!)
Another nearby business also offered a ‘Waterfall tour’ and a visit to the nearby Biausevu village. We booked this for our final day – and it turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip. We were collected from the Resort in the morning, and driven to the village, where we were met with big smiles, participated in a kava ceremony and language lesson.
From there, we hiked up to the Waterfall (about a 30-40 minute walk), making 9 shallow river crossings along the way. Realising that the walk was probably a little far for Charlotte, we accepted the offer of a horse ride, and she rode the entire way up and back with a young villager – smiling the whole time!
The waterfall was gorgeous, as promised, and we wasted no time in cooling off with a swim. We also feasted on freshly picked wild grapefruit and coconut.
After our afternoon adventures, we usually freshened up and headed to the pool-side for a pre-dinner drink and to watch the beating of the ‘Lali’ as well as the torch lighting. This was definitely a highlight for the girls, who got to have a go at beating the drum.
Then it was off to dinner. Some evenings we dined at the Buffet – which usually had a theme (Fijian, Tex Mex, Indian etc). One night we went to the on-site pizza restaurant, which was rather delicious, while another night we indulged in an enormous seafood platter at another restaurant on site – the Wicked Walu.
Most evenings had some sort of entertainment on offer too. Be it dance and song demonstrations, or games on the beach, lots to fill in our time before we fell into bed to get some rest before doing it all again the next day.
Some other highlights from our trip?
* Watching the Fiji Sevens take Gold at the Olympics – particularly as many of the players were from a nearby village.
* Being disconnected from the pressures of work and home life, and spending some great quality time together as a family…
* Managing to somehow miss the heavy rain from the week before, and be blessed with gorgeous sunsets over the water every evening.
But as they say, all good things must come to an end. And it was definitely with a touch of sadness that we said goodbye to this beautiful country and made our way back home. Bringing with us, though, so many memories and a yearning for more overseas travel.
I’d certainly say that Fiji is a “family friendly” holiday destination, with lots on offer for all ages.
But a few tips we picked up along the way:
* Fiji time is definitely a thing. There is no sense of urgency, so be prepared to wait a while for meals and drinks etc.
* Reef shoes were really handy – as the beach was quite studded with rocks and dried coral.
* Snacks and drinks are available were available for purchase at the Resort – however they were quite expensive. Next time we would probably stock up with water, snacks, beer etc from a supermarket on the way.