If you are like many parents, you might be hesitant to travel with your children and international? Out of the question till they are much older…or adults. But if you are wanting to test the waters to traveling with your kids, go to Fiji!
Not only is Fiji family friendly but they are “kid crazy”! Whether you have a TINY tot or teenagers your children will be welcomed in Fiji, this is a culture that values family almost as high as they do rugby. The unofficial mantra of Fiji is that “kids are to be seen, heard, smooched, and hugged at every chance available”. The local culture doesn’t understand shyness, the children you meet while in Fiji with your family will instantly want to run off and play with your kids, while the adults of the village will invite you and your family into the village and their families.
There is never a lack of fun fill actives for kids around Fiji! Even on a rainy day, there are always local activities that you can partake in, like weaving, drum classes, painting coconuts and all of these things can be found either at your resort or in small shops all around Viti Levu when the rain is coming down outside.
Now, be sure to pay attention to when you are booking your hotel. Some the resorts can be designed to suit adults-only traveling alone or on a romantic getaway, so they discourage children from staying in the resort. You won’t find many of these, speaking from experience we stayed at a rather high-end resort on Denarau and not only did they have a babysitting service if you and your loved one want a date night but they also have a kids club, multiple playground areas, a menu designed for ages 5 and younger and even give you a crib free of charge for your room if you don’t want to travel with your own!
Beaches are always an option for something to do for your little ones. There are countless beaches you can visit while in Fiji and most of them are very family-friendly and are safe for “not strong swimmers” to be out splashing around in the water. If your kids are like mine, then you know how valuable it is to have a nice safe beach for your kids to burn out all their energy (makes nap time all the better).
A few things that you should always keep in your backpack and this is whether you are traveling with kids or not.
- Insect repellent
- Light jacket for evenings
If you are traveling with babies or toddlers (like I was) you might be thinking about getting the lightweight fold-up stroller. However, I would recommend having a baby carrier instead if you are able to manage it. Trust me, it will make your life much easier in the long run, but if you do this also keep a fan in your backpack to keep you and your little one cool. Two bodies pressed against one another in tropical weather…yeah, that will get sweaty quickly.
Top activities for families to enjoy with kids in Nadi:
Arts Village – Pacific Harbour
This is like the Fiji version of Disney land but Fiji style! There is a temple, a cooking area, and a weaving hut. The actors are all dressed in traditional clothes (just like Disneyland has characters in costumes), kids are able to see mock battles, live demonstrations of traditional art. There is a canoe tour, island temple tour and Arts Village show that your kids can partake in. Don’t worry they also have a location where you can sit down and get some food and even a few souvenirs as well while you are here. Depending on your kid’s attention span you could spend two hours or a full day here wandering about.
Big Bula Water Park – Denarau
This activity you can book through your hotel (if you are in Nadi) and the Bula bus will pick you up and drop you off (if you are staying on Denarau). There are waterslides, surfing areas, obstacle courses, and climbing walls. This is fun for the whole family! When I went with my family, our ages ranged from nearly 70 to nearly 2 and we all had a fantastic time. When we finished for the day, we hopped on the Bula bus again and went down to the Denarau Port to get dinner. The staff was FABULOUS, so friendly and helpful. The whole place is packed with fun and lot of rides that will really get your heart racing! The food was good, there’s plenty of seating, massages, hair braiding and caters for all ages. We stayed the entire day! I highly recommend this place if you’re looking for fun, quality time with the family!
Blue Lagoon – Nanuya Lailai
This is it, parents! Blue Lagoon is the MOST famous beach in the Yasawas’ islands. This is a full family fun location, you can snorkel, swim, paddleboard, scuba dive – whatever your water interest is, this beach has it! Snorkeling here is rich with corals and marine life and the crystal blue water is easy for babies and toddlers to see fishes safe from the shore too.
One place I would highly recommend is the Sawa-I-Lau Caves. When you approach the cave the coastal views of Nacula are dramatic! The main cave/ pool is quite large and one end of it opens to the sky so there is a good amount of light. The cave has a very high ceiling. If you used a torch the light makes beautiful colors to dance on the walls and echo is strong when you shout BULA! (you’ll learn about Bula when you get here). The dive back to the main cave is beautiful with daylight and light blue water leading your way. When you are all done playing in the water you should stop and get some food. One place you must visit while here is for lunch at Lo’s Tea Shop. The food is inexpensive and delicious.
Viseisei Village & Vuda Point – First Landing (near Nadi)
According to the local folktale, Viseisei village is the oldest settlement in Fiji. The Mataqali family are descendants of the first ocean-going Melanesians who landed here around 1500AD. Fiji’s first Methodist missionary also landed here in 1835. There is a tiny craft market here, but this is one of the most genuine markets you’ll find around Fiji. The only catch is that you must pay the ladies to walk around the market, it is like $5 but it is totally worth it. The prices are better than you will find in most places and the ladies are fun to chat with while you are shopping.
Colo-i-Suva Forest Park – Suva
This forest is a 2.5-sq-km oasis of green and lush rainforest bursting with life. There is a ton of nature trails that kids and families of all sizes and ages can enjoy. Trails that lead you to beautiful pools, so bring your bathing suit! Believe it or not, this park is surrounded by Suva’s urban hub it just risen above all the noise by 180m. You will see posters all over Suva about the Waisila Creek, this creek’s bed has become so water-worn that it makes a natural slide that leads you into a beautiful and refreshing pool and swimming holes! This is still a forest so plan ahead and pack a lunch for you and the family. We went here with no expectations and it was beautiful, the walk from the first waterhole to the last waterhole with the swing was probably 40 minutes but it took us longer because we stopped off and swam at each one. There were probably about 6 or more waterholes to swim at. The last one was the most fun because it has a swing that you can swing off into the water. Locals were very friendly and let us have a go on the rope many times.
Visit the Gardens of the Sleeping Giant
This peaceful, shady orchid garden is an easy Fiji tour with kids from Denarau. The kids will find plenty of space to run around and the beautiful scenery is a tranquil environment to lie in a hammock and relax on a hot day. Have a wander along the boardwalks through the rainforest. Garden of the Sleeping Giant is a nice place to visit, even in the heat and humidity. There are many hanging orchids, lots of tropical plants, all along meandering pathways throughout the forest. There is whimsical clearing about halfway through where you can swing on a giant swing. In the end, your hosts treat you to a nice, cool tropical drink. Bring a camera and wear comfortable shoes. Plan on spending 1-2 hours here.
Donate School Supplies to a Local Village
Many of the resorts around Fiji sponsor at least one local school, they share with their guests and are encouraged to bring stationery or books from home to donate in person to the schools. When you see how basic the school facilities are, you will know that you’ve done something really worthwhile in Fiji for the kids. Many children don’t have shoes, and they are running around barefoot or with newspapers wrapped around their feet. You’d never be able to tell when you see the faces of the students. They are happy and excited just to have you come to visit. You will feel so welcome and they will love to talk and play with you. Not such a bad thing for our privileged kids to be exposed to – even for my little one it helped give her perspective to how much she has in comparison to these kids.
Coral Coast Railway – Sigatoka
CHOO CHOO! This is a great way to take a ride along the beautiful coastline railway track that winds through beautiful green forests and even makes a stop at the famous Muka Caves. My husband kept singing the Indiana Jones theme song, it really does feel like you are able to take a trip back in time while riding the train. Heads up and little tip – don’t stick your head or hands out of windows or the shrubs or tree branches slap you on your faces! The station master tells everyone to buy packets of lollipops to throw through windows as the train passes villages. But after spending some time in Fiji and seeing the lack of teeth in a lot of the children and adults I would encourage people to bring clothes or school supplies instead. Great scenery along the way, I really enjoyed the stopping at the school and spending time with the kids. Also, make sure you have insect repellent. You’ll need it!
Kula Wild Adventure Park – Sigatoka
I had so much fun at the Kula wild park, we actually ended up revisiting it the next day, because there was so much to do and see! Great zip lining! Not only is there a lot of fun activities like hanging out with the iguanas and Kula birds, also turtles and the aquarium there’s so much to see and do there and not just for the little kids but fun for all ages. If you are brave you get to handle some snakes (if that’s your thing), feed the baby turtles and see lots of other cool animals. Then cool off and enjoy a drink and a play in the little water park – which was a great way to cool off before getting back in the van to head back to Nadi.
Robinson Crusoe Island
Robinson Crusoe Island recreates that perfect tropical island rhythm, where you’ll experience the beautiful Fijian customs, culture and cuisine. A secluded Fiji Beach Resort with very affordable Fiji Island Accommodation. Truly a paradise, complete with an incredible assortment of free activities for you to enjoy. Live the life with fantastic Fijian traditions like fire and knife dance shows, basket making, dancing under the stars, bonfires, and kava ceremonies – and take in even more of the incredible local culture via the freshest of island feasts. So much to do! You don’t want to forget the majestic beauty of the ocean, so hit the water with free snorkeling and sea kayaking, take a jet ski tour or head for the exciting water park. Get cultural and learn to make coconut jeweler or pick up island dancing or why not cast out a line for some amazing sports fishing.
Malamala Beach Club
Malamala Beach Club is surrounded by Fiji’s famous crystal-clear waters and welcomes you to the world’s first beach club located on its very own island. If you are staying in Nadi you will see billboards for this beach club. This island isn’t very far away, only a 25-minute boat ride from Port Denarau. I experienced this beach club on a day pass, I didn’t want to spend the day at our resort but still wanted to do something around Fiji. It was totally worth the cost of the day pass. The kids got to run around the beautiful white sand beaches, splashing in the pool, beachside cabanas, an infinity edge pool which was so much fun for the babies in our group, and amazing ocean views from Fiji’s best located island. There is food available, either a full menu or a tappas like menu with small dishes if you just need something to nibble on. I would highly recommend spending a day at Malamala Beach Club – you won’t regret it.
Tavoro Waterfalls – Tavenui Island
Want to experience a postcard-perfect moment in Fiji? Take the hike to Tavoro, and then swim in the falls! This is especially good if your kids are tweens and teens. The views are simply amazing. This place is magical. People of ANY physical ability level can get to the main waterfall, which is truly the best one. I have bad knees and decided to try to get to the second waterfall, but that was a little more difficult. One tip before you go traipsing off – GO WITH A GUIDE if you plan to go past the first waterfall. Either way, don’t miss this spectacular sight!!
There are endless things to do with kids in Fiji – so if this is a trip you are wanting to take and you’ve got kids, DO IT! I went with my daughter who wasn’t even two yet and we saw brand new babies there too. The people of Fiji will treat you and your family with honor and great respect.