Seeing as it’s November, and I had the fire on last night, I thought that I would cast my mind back a few months when we travelled to Fiji with the kids for my Birthday. It was a last-minute (ish) kind of trip, just 5 nights away with Rob and the girls so we could completely drop out, do nothing, and spend some great family time together. For me the trip was about disconnecting from ALL devices – no phone, no internet, no messages, no email, no Facebook or Instagram or blog…nothing! And yes, even on my Birthday. Not one call. It was perfect. We spent our time watching the girls in the pool, or the beach, swimming together, eating together, sleeping together…it was a whole lot of together time I must say!
We stayed at the Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa and so did every other family from Australia or New Zealand it would appear! We were recommended this place from one of the School Mum’s (who also happens to be a travel agent) and had been with her own family a few months before. They often have great deals – kids club free, a certain amount of $credit towards your room etc and we got a great price for the 5 nights. Doing the trip on the (relative) cheap we decided to all share a room together – with twin double beds – and it actually worked out fine. The rooms were spacious (we had a ground floor room with direct side access to the beach, close to the kids pool). The kids were so exhausted at night that they took no time to get to sleep, and each room has a spacious balcony space with lounge, bath and other chairs so we spent our nights out there reading and chatting which meant we had our own space at night.
There was a kids pool and an adult pool (that no one aged under 16 could go in). A few times we made use of the Kids Club and Nanny (Harps was under 4 and so had to have a nanny accompany her to the kids club) so Rob and I could spend some time by the adult pool, pretending to read our books while we people watched. The girls had a good time at Kids Club – but I did have the dreaded long term day care vibe when I dropped them off – I was happier using a Nanny (that cost NOTHING) to hang with the girls down by the beach or the pool, going on adventures rather than being stuck inside kids club. They did get meals at kids club though – so you could cross off having to feed them for lunch or dinner depending on what session you put them in for.
The resort is located about 45 minutes from Nadi airport on the beautiful Natadola Beach. We grabbed a taxi from the airport, rather than the airport transfers that the hotel runs as they are about double the price and a taxi is reliable, friendly and CHEAP. The beach itself was beautiful – you could snorkel or surf or swim and if you could bags one of the cabanas down by the beach early enough (most kids were in the pool in the morning) you are SET. We spend some of the best mornings laying in those, reading while the kids played in the water, making sand castles and only coming up to show you their latest piece of coral or shell. Having a pristine beach on your doorstep was a huge drawcard for us choosing this place rather than the lagoon of some of the other resorts on Denarau Island (where we stayed before). Don’t forget with these resorts though – the eating and drinking can add up – and you don’t realise how much you can eat and drink in a day when you have to pay for EVERYTHING. Stop at a supermarket on the way to the resort, or grab a taxi to one when you are there and get some cheap snacks for the kids and some cheaper booze for you. Duty Free Vodka is a must – that way you just need to grab some soft drink from the room.
Food & Entertainment
The highlight for the girls each night (and for us) was watching the sunset over the ocean. The girls were entertained by singers, drummers, fire shows, dancers while Rob and I had a chance to have a chat, have a cocktail or two and enjoy the view. Fijians ADORE children and are perfect hosts – always making a fuss of kids and making them feel very special and important. I have always found the food in Fiji a little ho-hum. You’d expect amazing seafood fresh food but it’s just never translated for me. Kids are inevitably given a choice of chips with fish or chicken, chips, chips or um, chips. We were better off giving the girls an adult meal shared – that way they had better choices and something much healthier. Daisy discovered the pure JOY that comes with a buffet when we were away. She felt so grown up able to choose her own stuff (as random as that was) and kids ate for free in this restaurant. It wouldn’t normally be my choice, but the kids were happy and we got to eat some pretty good seafood and food, have a chat and a glass of wine and be back in the room ready for bed by 8.30pm. You can always save fine dining for time away from the kids right? You need to embrace all the cheesy resort things: crab racing, dancing to dodgy cabaret singers – kidds love it and just quietly, so did I.
If you’ve been to Fiji, you’d know all about ‘Fiji time’. If are someone who likes good, fast service, then Fiji probably isn’t for you. You can wait and wait and WAIT to be served, then wait some more time for it to come. Being on holidays means that you are a little more relaxed, but whether you are staying in a 5 star place or not, service can be slow. FRIENDLY but sloooow.
What to take with you
Books, books and books. Some kids DVD’s for the room, and even some colouring in books and textas but that’s IT. Our girls watched us read and read and when they wanted some down time I wish I had some more books for them (but you have to carry that right?). I did get the girls a crappy magazine each at the airport and that became their entertainment for the 5 days. I would also take your own headphones if you had them for the plane trip over. We flew Jetstar and while they had iPads that you could hire, they had those little headphone buds and the girls could just NOT use them – they fell out a gazillion times.
Remember that just because you are away on holidays, your kids won’t necessarily change into holiday mode straight away. We finally got into a good routine by the last day – everyone finally relaxed and chilled out. Before that? Well the girls still had fights, still complained about SO MUCH and rolled their eyes. This doesn’t do great things for a Mother who has to put out said fights and just really wants to have a holiday themselves. Remember that nanny service? UTILISE.
Fiji can be such a great escape for families. It’s just 4 hours away – feels like a world away, friendly people, beautiful surrounds and resorts that do all you’d expect them to do all at a pretty good price too.
Have you been to Fiji?
Got any hotel recommendations or tips for travelling with kids?
Why is it so cold in November?