Personal travel manager Belinda Hackett rates Fiji as the best holiday destination for families. She has been selling holidays to Fiji for over 18 years, and has personally travelled there over 35 times. She’s booked to go again in May 2017 to renew her vows for her 10th wedding anniversary… so we guess you could call her a bit of a Fiji expert! Here she explains her breakdown on where to stay.
Sometimes the hardest part is knowing what region of Fiji to stay in! There are three main tourist areas:
Denarau is a 25-minute drive from Nadi Airport. It is a man-made island so all the resorts are beachfront properties. Many of the major hotel chains are found here, including the Radisson, Sheraton, Sheraton Villas, Westin, Sofitel and Hilton. They are all in a row and all within walking distance of each other. There are also apartment-style accommodation options available for those with larger families or those that want the opportunity to prepare their own meals. Denarau Marina is nearby and houses a supermarket, deli, bakery and a number of popular restaurants.
Getting around Denarau is simple. They have the “Bula Bus” that is a jump-on, jump-off open-air bus servicing all the resorts and the marina. It runs all day, every day for a nominal daily fare.
Denarau set is on a grey, sandy beach but the resorts all have great swimming pools. You are also right at the marina, where day trips leave from to service the surrounding islands. If you choose to stay at Denarau , book at least one day trip out to the islands to see Fiji’s real beauty. My favourite resorts in Denarau for families, particularly those with young children, would be Radisson Blu and Sofitel, as they have waterslides, and we all know kids love waterslides!
The Coral Coast is the coastline between Nadi and Suva, and a popular area for families. The beaches are lovely but they are tidal. When the tide is high you can use the beach, and when the tide is low the resorts make up for the lack of beach time with amazing pools and activities.
My picks for favourite family resorts on the Coral Coast are the Outrigger, the Intercontinental, Warwick and the Shangri La Fijian. These resorts tend to be very reasonably priced, so are probably the most economical option. Remember, the resorts are mostly in isolated locations (the resorts can be a 45 min – 2 hour drive from Nadi Airport) so you will have to have most meals at the resort restaurants. We suggest you take a breakfast inclusive or package with meal plan if available
The Mamanuca Islands are considered the ‘real’ Fiji – the white-sand islands you see on all the advertisements and in the glossy brochures. The Mamanuca islands are serviced three times a day by South Sea Cruises – they offer a large catamaran which departs Denarau daily at 9am, 12:15pm and 3:15pm. The boat is licensed so you can buy drinks and snacks on board, there is an outdoor seating area and an area inside with air-conditioning. The round trip from Denarau takes around 3hrs, but your journey will be shorter or longer depending on the island resort you stay at.
You can also choose to arrive in style to most of the Island Resorts. Pacific Island Seaplanes offer seaplane scenic flights from Nadi Airport which take anywhere from 10-30mins. Island Hopper Helicopters offer graceful scenic flights on their choppers. Sea Fiji and Mamanauca express offer 24 hour water taxi service to the Islands.
My favourite island resorts for families are Vomo Island, Castaway Island and Malolo Island.
Resorts according to budget:
- Vomo Island, Mamanuca Islands
- Yasawa Island Resort, Yasawa Island (they have special family weeks each year when kids are permitted)
- Nanuku Resort, Pacific Harbour
- Jean Michele Cousteau, Savu Savu
- Intercontinental, Coral Coast
- Castaway Island, Mamanuca Islands
- Malolo Island, Mamanuca Islands
- Sheraton Tokoriki Island, Mamanuca Islands
- Outrigger, Coral Coast
- Sheraton, Denarau
- Radisson, Denarau
- Sofitel, Denarau
- Hilton, Denarau
- Mana Island, Mamanuca Islands
- Treasure Island, Mamanuca Islands
- Musket Cove, Mamanuca Islands
- Shangri La Fijian, Coral Coast
- Warwick, Coral Coast
- Naviti, Coral Coast
- Hideaway, Coral Coast
- Plantation island, Mamanuca Islands
- Bounty Island, Mamanuca Islands
- Liku Liku – Mamanuca Islands
- Royal Davui- Beqa Lagoon –Pacific Harbour
- Yasawa island Resort – Yasawa Island
- Qamea Resort- Taveuni Island
- Tokoriki Island Resort – Mamanuca Islands
- Lomani Island – Mamanuca Islands
Fiji is the ultimate destination for families, and just a 4 hour flight from Sydney.