BULA, BULA, BULA! I have just returned from the most beautiful Fijian holiday with my hubby Shaun and two teenage children, Holly and Dylan. Fiji Airways flew us direct from Adelaide to Nadi International Airport in just under 5 ½ hours, and we were welcomed with shell necklaces and beaming smiles from the Fijian locals.
After a short ride from the airport we arrived at Port Denarau to board the South Seas Catamaran transfer to Castaway Island; a small island paradise located in the Mamanuca group. As we held pre-paid tickets, we were welcomed into the Captains Lounge and cruised to Castaway Island in air-conditioned comfort, whilst the kids caught up on social media thanks to the free Wi-Fi.
An hour later we were receiving a warm and friendly welcome as we stepped on to the beach from our tender. We were serenaded by staff members singing and playing guitars, finishing with “welcome home”. It was such a pleasant start to our holiday and we really felt welcomed in to the community as we were brought a refreshing cold towel and cocktail to enjoy while we waited for our Bure.
Our Garden Bure was less than a minute walk from the beach where we spent most of our days. I cannot put into words how clear the ocean was - it must be seen to be believed. The snorkelling was amazing allowing us to experience the vibrant sea life and abundant coral just metres from the beach. From cocktails on the beach to scuba diving, this divine island had it all. We truly felt at home with the staff greeting us by name daily.
Serenaded again on our departure we cruised back to Port Denarau where our driver (Tijo) was waiting to transfer us to the Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa on the Coral Coast. Tijo was happy to detour to a local market so we could stock up on snacks and after an informative hour drive through the countryside we arrived at the resort.
On first impressions the resort was massive in contrast to Castaway, but once we worked out the quickest routes between our rooms and the restaurants the distances were not far at all. We booked inter-connecting rooms which allowed our children to have their own space while still being close, and the view from our balconies was breathtaking.
There is plenty of restaurant and bar options - from casual dining to the adults only restaurant - and the resort was cashless which made for a convenient stay. Holly and Dylan kept themselves busy at the floating water park, which made for hilarious entertainment for me back on the beach. Plenty of activities were on offer including jet skis, hair braiding, scuba lessons and para-sailing to mention just a few.
Fiji has plenty to offer outside the resorts as well. Some of our highlights included Holly and Dylan flying through the tree canopy on a zip-line and getting up close and personal with iguanas, sea turtles and rays at Kula Wildlife park. If you are looking for a tour that showcases the local environment and wildlife, I highly recommend Eco Trax. We rode electric bikes on the old sugar cane railway through villages where we were greeted by children and able to glimpse the local culture and way of life. The landscape was rural, and we were constantly keeping an eye out for wildlife that would casually stroll across the railway line. At the end of the line a refreshing swim at a secluded beach awaited, followed by fresh fruit and coconut water before the return journey.
Fiji is a fantastic choice for a family holiday and we came home with plenty of memories and a new passion for Fijian life.
A few tips about holidaying in Fiji:
- ‘Fiji Time’ is a thing. Embrace it and the “no hurry, no worries” lifestyle
- ‘Bula’ will become your most commonly used word
- Rugby is a religion. If Fiji is playing in an international match you can expect the streets to be deserted
- Fiji is the happiest country in the world
- Take lots of sunscreen
If you want to find out more about our family holiday to Fiji, please pop into the office or give me a call on 8632 2955.