Play­ground in par­adise

A fam­ily hol­i­day in Fiji need not break the bank, writes Christina Pfeif­fer

Sunday Mail - Travel/Escape - - FRONT PAGE -

AS A hol­i­day desti­na­tion for the fam­ily, Fiji has a lot go­ing for it. Think sway­ing palm trees, beau­ti­ful beaches, trop­i­cal weather and plenty of fun ac­tiv­i­ties for the kids.

Fijian cul­ture is a nat­u­ral match for fam­ily travel.

The kids will be en­thralled by lo­cal tra­di­tions such as ‘‘ meke’’ danc­ing and learn­ing to pre­pare din­ner in a tra­di­tional earth oven, or ‘‘ lovo’’.

It’s ob­vi­ous that Fi­jians love kids and it doesn’t take long for most par­ents to feel com­fort­able leav­ing their lit­tle ones in a kids club or with a babysit­ter.

An­other big plus is it doesn’t take long to get there, about a three-hour flight from Aus­tralia’s east coast, and flights are af­ford­able.

But the best news of all for fam­i­lies on a bud­get is the range of in­ex­pen­sive ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions on of­fer.

Here are a few to con­sider. A Fijian-owned re­sort on the south­ern tip of the Ya­sawa Is­lands is an idyl­lic base for reef snorkelling trips, vil­lage tours and guided treks. Other ac­tiv­i­ties are beach vol­ley­ball, fish­ing and sail­ing. And there are on-site scuba div­ing fa­cil­i­ties and cer­ti­fied PADI cour­ses. The re­sort is op­er­ated by the vil­lagers of Way­alailai Is­land and prof­its are used for school, church and vil­lage im­prove­ments. Tra­di­tional Fijian-style beach-side bu­res come with ocean views, dou­ble beds, linen, mos­quito nets and bath­rooms. Bu­res are F$200 ($109) a night for two adults and in­clude meals and af­ter­noon tea. Kids un­der six years of age stay free other­wise it costs F$70 ($38) each child. bcdi.ca/way­alailai Snorkel, dive, kayak or fish; Lawaki Beach Re­sort on Beqa Is­land is south of Viti Levu and a one-hour boat ride from Navua.

The re­sort has a pri­vate beach and a coral reef just 25m off shore.

Other fam­ily ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude star-gaz­ing, moun­tain trekking and fire-walk­ing.

Ac­com­mo­da­tion is in tents, beach bu­res and a large fam­ily bure with five sin­gle beds and a fold­able camp­ing bed.

The fam­ily bure costs $F130 ($71) an adult, $F70 ($38) for kids be­tween four and 14 years old, and in­cludes break­fast, lunch, three-course din­ner, tea and cof­fee. lawak­ibeach­house­fiji.com Watch the kids build sand­cas­tles on the beach from the deck of a beach­front bure. Other free ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude snorkelling, kayak­ing, beach vol­ley­ball and tramp­ing.

Funky Fish Re­sort is also in a per­fect lo­ca­tion for kite board­ers and surfers (July to Oc­to­ber), with boats run­ning daily to some of Fiji’s best surf­ing breaks.

A Grand Grouper two-bed­room beach­front bure costs $F350 ($184) a night for four peo­ple and $F50 a night for each additional per­son. Bu­res are equipped with fridges, cof­fee and tea­mak­ing fa­cil­i­ties and bath­rooms. Meal pack­ages are $F68 for adults and $F45 for kids un­der 10. funky­fishre­sort.com

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