It’s the North Shore Mums destination of choice – Fiji. And to make the must-visit islands even more appealing, North Shore Mum Sharon Mitchell has written a handy guide to having your holiday on a budget, featuring every low-cost activity from traditional dancing to frog-catching.
Who doesn’t love a 5 star tropical resort where buffet breakfast is included?! But, a holiday can very quickly become expensive when you remain within the resort for lunch/dinner and all activities. On a recent 5 day holiday to Denarau, Fiji, our family of 4 (including 2 teenage daughters) found some wonderful activities and food options outside the resort, that were free or cost less than $5!
Catch the west bus (yellow local bus) – catch the mini bus with locals to Nadi Town Centre. The 15 minute trip costs FJD $1 (AUS 70 cents). This bus is also a far cheaper alternative if travelling to the Port than the ‘tourists’ Bula Bus which costs $8.50. For the “Scenic Drive” – take the large yellow West bus from Nadi ( as we did by accident!) It’s a bumpy 40 minute trip down dirt roads where locals live, cows and horses feed on the side of the road and children play barefoot soccer. If you ever wondered if all Fijians are as happy as those working in the resorts – take this bus! Fijians truly are the happiest and friendliest people on earth.
- Get a haircut! When in Fiji, get a haircut! It is a tradition in our family, for my husband to get a haircut in every country we travel to. He’s faced the clippers / scissors in; Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Macau…… and now Fiji. It was done at a walk-in local barber in Nadi at a cost of FJD$5 (AUD$3.50) and the cut is perfect!
- Traditional Cultural Dance & Kava Ceremony– Within the resorts, a dinner show would have cost our family FJD$400 (AUD$280). The FREE alternative is a nightly show at the Port. It is a 90 minute high energy, fascinating, Traditional + Cultural show which includes numerous costume changes, Fire dancing, sword performance, and audience participation. A fabulous family-friendly outing. There are numerous restaurant options at the Port, significantly less expensive than the resort restaurants.
- Street Food – a simple folding table set-up near the taxi rank at the Port from 6:30am. This local Fijian sells her freshly baked goods to taxi drivers, local boat workers….. and us. On offer – Vegie Curry Roti Wraps FJD$1 (AUD70 cents), Giant Banana Muffins + large Scones – all FJD$1 and taste amazing.
- The Bread House –A great lunch option that won’t break the bank and the food is fresh and tastes just like home. The Bread House bakery @ the Port. It’s an easy 15 minute walk from the Hilton, the Sofitel and 20-30 minute walk from Westin, Sheraton Villas and The Raddison. Open early (6am) you’ll say “Bula” numerous times to locals and tourists out for their morning walk/run before it heats up. The bakery has pies, quiches, sausage rolls, bread rolls, mini pizza, lamingtons, muffins, and prices from $1-$3.50
- Catching Frogs Yes, Frogs, Frogs everywhere! If you have daring teenagers or amphibian loving kids, catching frogs in the evening is fun to watch. It’s sure to make some squeal in delight or terror!
One more money-saving tip….
- Pack plenty of snacks for yourself and kids in your suitcase before leaving home. Whilst the small supermarkets within the resorts stock some known Australian brands like Arnott’s shapes Biscuits and Rice Crackers it frustrates every shopping savvy mum to pay $8 for Shapes Biscuits, when the same costs $2 in Coles or Woolworths
What’s your best money-saving tip when traveling?
More on travel…