Mar­vels of Malolo

Snezana belevska-ben­nell dis­cov­ers the joys of dis­con­nect­ing to re­con­nect with her fam­ily in a trop­i­cal Fi­jian par­adise.

Holiday with Kids - - Fiji -

Imag­ine a place where the hard­est de­ci­sion you and your fam­ily will face all day is whether to ditch the ham­mocks for a dip in the pool, or whether to dig your toes into the pris­tine white sand, and slip into shal­low turquoise wa­ters ringed by a coral reef and framed by softly sway­ing co­conut palms. That place is real.

Malolo Is­land Re­sort, lo­cated in Fiji’s pic­turesque Ma­manuca Is­lands, ticks all the boxes. Azure wa­ters, golden sand, mouth­wa­ter­ing food, warm staff, loads of ac­tiv­i­ties for every mem­ber of the fam­ily, and lux­u­ri­ous bu­res with all the com­forts you need. It is a place where you can kick back and do noth­ing or get out and do ev­ery­thing. The choice is yours.

“It is a place where you can kick back and do noth­ing or get out and do ev­ery­thing. The choice is yours.”

Is­land es­cape

Dot­ted along the wa­ter's edge and sur­rounded by lush trop­i­cal gar­dens and sway­ing co­conut palms, each of Malolo Is­land Re­sort’s pretty white plan­ta­tion-style bu­res is lux­u­ri­ously ap­pointed and fea­tures high­vaulted ceil­ings ac­cented with tra­di­tional Fi­jian de­sign el­e­ments.

Malolo Is­land is not, how­ever, your typ­i­cal lux­ury re­sort as the is­land’s mantra is to “dis­con­nect to re­con­nect”. The be­lief is that to truly re­lax, it helps to leave the com­pli­ca­tions of ev­ery­day life be­hind you. Malolo’s bu­res de­lib­er­ately ex­clude tele­vi­sions, phones, ra­dio and in­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity, en­abling you to switch off and un­wind and truly see the beauty in your sur­round­ings and the peo­ple you are en­joy­ing it with.

And they’re right. The op­por­tu­nity to en­gage with our fam­ily free from the in­tru­sion of tech­nol­ogy and the dis­trac­tions of day-to-day life is a rare treat. But, if your kids dis­agree, they can ac­cess Wi-fi in the pub­lic ar­eas of the re­sort.

A feast of Fiji

The re­sort of­fers a va­ri­ety of ex­cel­lent din­ing op­tions. We en­joy ca­sual meals and snacks by the wa­ter at The Beach Bar and in­cred­i­ble themed buf­fets in the colo­nial-in­spired Ter­race Restau­rant. The Tree­tops restau­rant over­look­ing the pool and gar­dens of­fers a more adult vibe and a pri­vate babysit­ting ser­vice can be ar­ranged for just a few Fi­jian dol­lars per hour, mean­ing mum and dad can en­joy a ro­man­tic meal sans kids.

When it comes to food, Malolo’s phi­los­o­phy is to stick with fresh, lo­cal Fi­jian pro­duce wher­ever pos­si­ble. Nowhere is this more ev­i­dent than in the re­sort’s clever kids’ menus, which fea­ture pop­u­lar chil­dren’s sta­ples such as fish fin­gers made from the fresh­est catch of the day, hand­made burger pat­ties and freshly baked breads and pas­tries, re­sult­ing in some very happy lit­tle bel­lies.

Play time

Kick­ing back and re­lax­ing might have been our first agenda dur­ing our stay at Malolo Is­land, but we dis­cover an enor­mous se­lec­tion of ac­tiv­i­ties that make our ex­pe­ri­ence even more mem­o­rable. Snorkelling, kayak­ing, stand-up pad­dle­board­ing, div­ing and fish­ing are just a few of the many wa­ter sports avail­able to guests. A sub­lime sun­set cruise or an is­land-hop­ping ad­ven­ture is a must for fam­i­lies. It is not all just about that mes­meris­ing blue wa­ter, ei­ther, with land

ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing walk­ing trails, vis­its to ex­plore lo­cal vil­lages, and learn­ing the tra­di­tional Fi­jian ‘Meke’ dance.

Kids be­tween the ages of four and 12 can head to Tia’s Tree­house, a fab­u­lous kids’ club of­fer­ing plenty of fun and en­ter­tain­ment with games, toys and a large fully fenced play­ground sur­rounded by trop­i­cal trees. Mum and dad can use the time the kids are at play to re­lax by the adults-only pool or head off on scuba div­ing or snorkelling ad­ven­tures, safe in the knowl­edge that Malolo Is­land’s warm and friendly Fi­jian staff are su­per­vis­ing all the chil­dren’s ac­tiv­i­ties.

One of the most in­no­va­tive pro­grams on of­fer for chil­dren is ‘Yanu Yanu’, which al­lows kids to ex­pe­ri­ence what it is like to live as a lo­cal. Yanu Yanu in­tro­duces kids to Fi­jian cul­ture in a fun and im­mer­sive way as well as teach­ing them about the im­por­tance of car­ing for and pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment, some­thing in­te­gral to the is­lan­ders’ be­liefs.

For kids un­der the age of four, the re­sort of­fers an op­tional pri­vate babysit­ting ser­vice. Lit­tle ones are wel­come to par­tic­i­pate in some of the ac­tiv­i­ties at Tia’s Tree­house, pro­vided they are ac­com­pa­nied by a par­ent or a nanny. Teens have the free­dom of the is­land and their own spe­cial space, Khail’s Club, equipped with games, bean­bag lounges and satel­lite TV and free Wi-fi.

Get­ting cast­away

Ever won­dered what it would be like to be a cast­away? Grab the kids and take a pri­vate boat from Malolo Is­land to nearby Mo­driki, the is­land made fa­mous as the lo­ca­tion for the movie Cast­away, star­ring Tom Hanks. Luck­ily, on this cast­away ex­pe­ri­ence you’re not likely to start be­friend­ing vol­ley­balls or chat­ting to co­conuts. In­stead you can sim­ply en­joy a sump­tu­ous packed brunch or lunch, take a dip in the pris­tine wa­ters or just re­lax un­der the sway­ing palm trees, un­til it’s time to be fer­ried back to Malolo and all the lux­u­ries you could need in a Fi­jian re­sort.

Fiji Re­port Card

Info fiji.travel Get­ting there Fiji Air­ways of­fers reg­u­lar flights from ma­jor Aus­tralian cities to Nadi In­ter­na­tional Air­port. fi­ji­air­ways.com Stay mal­olois­land.com Do cap­tain­cookcruis­es­fiji.com 03 Wa­ter won­der­land 04 Cast­away ad­ven­tures on Mo­driki 05 Malolo fea­tures colo­nial-style ar­chi­tec­ture. Im­ages 03–05 © Dave Ben­nell

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03 Watch a video of the fam­ily’s cast­away ad­ven­tures on Mo­driki Is­land by scan­ning the code here or go on­line to hol­i­dayswith­kids.com.au/fea­ture_s­to­ries/malolo-is­land-re­sort

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01 Jump­ing in © Dave Ben­nell 02 The re­sort’s pools. Im­ages 02 © Hamil­ton Lund 04

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