We’ve just got back from a wonderful mid-winter break to the South Pacific islands of Fiji. For us it’s a relatively short 3 hour hop to get there, but as these things tend to go it was the first time we’d been to Fiji. We stayed at Denarau Island, which is a complex of different resorts and apartments available for rent. There are five resorts side-by-side, we chose the Radisson Blu resort as so many people had recommended it to us due to it’s great pool complex.
We weren’t disappointed. There are 3 pools in total – a massive one right by the main restaurant complete with swim up bar, one that links through to it and has a waterslide and the luxurious adults only pool (pictured above).
The main pool is perfect for kids and toddlers. It has a gently sloping “beach” around the outside that leads into the pool. Our kids spent hours playing on the beach and splashing into the pool.
As this was a true holiday with the main objective being pool-time and sun, we didn’t do too much sightseeing which is a bit unlike us! The main extent of it was wandering along the beachside paths checking out the other resorts (Wyndham, Sheraton, Sheraton Villas, The Westin, Sofitel and Fiji Hilton).
We went down to the Denarau marina a couple of times, once on the touristy and expensive open-air “Bula Bus” that goes between all of the resorts (but the kids love it), and once on the local bus which was a fraction of the price!
We stayed in a standard guest room, which consisted of a HUGE king-sized bed and a sofa bed that the two kids shared. It was fine for our two being 3 and 5, but it would be a tight squeeze to put a couple of tweens in there. The room had a small balcony which looked out over the road and across the Denarau golf course.
There are a lot of different eating options on Denarau which were ok, but fairly standard resort fare. The Radisson has a big generic restaurant that we only ate at one evening as we thought it was expensive and a bit ho-hum. They also have ‘Chantara’ Thai restaurant which was pretty good so we had that a few nights, and ‘Neptunes’ a casual fish-chip-and-pizza takeaway beside the water.
We also visited Mamacita a couple of nights, which was a great Mexican restaurant next-door at the Wyndham resort. Probably the worst choice was the coffee shop at the Westin resort, where we ended up spending around $40 NZD for 4 milkshakes and a slice of dried up cake!
Our favourite place to eat was Indigo restaurant at Port Denarau where we had a couple of amazing curries, and the kids lapped it up too!
One night we had giant pizzas at the club house at the Denarau golf course. It was super casual and not too expensive. The kids had a great time running around outside hunting for frogs that seemed to be everywhere.
I also attended the ‘Flavours of Fiji‘ cooking school, where we learnt to make some tasty traditional Fijian and Indian specialities and a bit about each culture. I’ll write more about the class in a separate post soon, but here’s the result of some of my handiwork:
It was an amazing revelation to me how easy it is to make roti. I’m never buying it again!
The Fijian people are so warm and welcoming, and they absolutely adore kids which makes it such a great family destination. There was loads for the kids to do at the resort, and they enjoyed a couple of sessions at the kids club where they were well taken care of.
A particular highlight is the torch lighting ceremony, where all of the kids dress up as mini-Fijian warriors and help the staff light the flame torches for the evening. The kids also went to a disco, participated in fish feeding down on the beach, t-shirt painting and decorating and making endless sandcastles. They were in heaven.
We had a bit of a hiccup on the last afternoon when we were due to fly out later that night and S came down with severe vomiting 🙁 We decided to go out to the airport anyway and see if she came right but literally throwing up right in front of the check-in agent resulted in her getting a ‘not fit to fly’, and re-booked on another flight the next day. The boys flew home to New Zealand while S and I had a late night adventure visiting an A&E in downtown Namaka for a medical certificate and drugs – quite a dodgy area and not the nicest place to be I have to say! Then it was back to the hotel for a girl’s night in before she was well enough to fly out the next day. Moral of the story is ALWAYS carry travel insurance and have some spare money/credit card to fund it if things don’t go according to plan!! Luckily we had both, but that little incident cost us close to NZ$1000 which our travel insurance company has since promptly reimbursed us for.
So all up we had a great family holiday. While we enjoyed Denarau, next time we’d love to visit one of the outer islands as well and see a bit more of the ‘real’ Fiji. It’s great to know that this amazing piece of paradise is only 3 hours away for us though and we’ll surely be back.