Fiji – a myriad of blue lagoons, dense rainforests, lush pine forests, colourful reefs, picturesque mountains, super friendly locals and miles and miles of white sandy beaches. It is no wonder that Fiji is a must-visit destination for many families.
Fiji has over 320 islands and 500 small islets, however only 110 islands are actually inhabited; in fact 87% of the population live on the two largest islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Fiji thrives on tourism but with a temperature of between 26 and 31 degrees all year round – they don’t have to try too hard.
Fijian cuisine is influenced by Indian dishes and spices and is balanced with fresh tropical fruit, vegetables and seafood. It shouldn’t be too difficult to please the kids with the variety of menu items on offer. Definitely try the Kokoda to tantalise your taste buds – fresh fish marinated in lemon or lime juice with coconut milk, tomatoes, spring onions, chillies, salt and pepper.
The Mamanuca Islands
If you fancy scuba diving, snorkelling, dolphin watching, a relaxing boat ride or other such water based fun, then this chain of 20 islands (pronounced ma-ma-nutha) is definitely for you. Paradise it is and the beautiful resorts will make it difficult to leave. Staring off into the rich blue waters is definitely a noted pastime here.
Fun fact: “Castaway” starring Tom Hanks and “Survivor: Fiji” were both filmed here.
The Yasawa Islands
Those of a certain age will remember the young Brooke Shields in “Blue Lagoon” and despite the success of the film back in 1980, it still remains a relatively commercial-free zone. Accessed from Port Denarau, if you are after fancy malls and shopping strips you will need to go elsewhere. This is the island where time stands still.
Fun fact: Visiting Yasawa Islands was once limited to only cruise ships – passengers have only been able to set foot on the island since the 1950s.
Vanua Levu and Taveuni
Nature reserves in abundance are the main feature on Vanua Levu and Taveuni (also known as the Garden Island). Stop at the Snake Temple, go for a hike, opt for horse riding or take in a spot of bird watching – apparently there are over 100 species which are home to the Garden Island alone. This is definitely a destination for those who love to be close to nature.
Fun fact: Initially knows as Sandalwood Island, Vanua Levu had its time as a wild colonial outpost with sailors and escaped convicts from Australia calling it home.
The Coral Coast
The Coral Coast, with its extremely captivating name, offers an 80km stretch of beaches and bays between Nadi and Suva. Whether you stay in a resort or opt for a more traditional homestay, it’s all here. From national parks to archaeological sites – the kids will enjoy exploring what the coral coast has to offer. And with a world-class golf course, need we say more?
Fun fact: Korolevu, situated on the Coral Coast is the birthplace of Fiji tourism and is the first place where individual bungalow-style units were called “bures”.
For those looking for a spot of pampering, you have found your destination. Boutiques, spas, golf courses, tennis courts, fine dining – no wonder it is one of Fiji’s most popular destination points. Leisure activities, stunning white sandy beaches and kid’s clubs will ensure that everyone in the family is kept entertained.
Fun fact: Denarau is home to the Fiji International Jazz and Blues Festival and the South Pacific Food and Wine Festival.
The Sun Coast
The Sun Coast enables travellers to explore and experience Fiji’s rich and diverse culture. Cane fields, volcanic outcrops and quaint villages enable you to get a feel for the ‘real’ Fiji. There are also many opportunities for nature walks and bird watching or perhaps you would like to hike to the summit of the highest mountain in Fiji.
Fun fact: The Sun Coast contains historic sites of early settlement sites such as Navatu Rock and Vuda Point.
The sunny isles of Fiji are calling your name and regardless of your budget, there are options for all kinds of travellers. It’s just a matter of choosing which destination is best for you.
Kelly Winder is the creator of BellyBelly.com.au, a doula, writer and mother to three awesome children. Currently she's travelling the world for 12 months with her partner and three children, and hopes to inspire more families to do the same.