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