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Fiji family holidays

Local children outside a templeLocal children outside a temple© ihml.com
Beach bar Beach bar © ihml.com
Rafting Rafting © ihml.com
Aerial viewAerial view© ihml.com
Local men in traditional costumeLocal men in traditional costume© ihml.com
Flying Time 23.5hrs
Timezone GMT +11
Currency Fiji Dollar

Today

Overview

This gorgeous smattering of islands (more than 300) in the South Pacific is no longer just the land of the newly-weds, and you’re never too young to be introduced to a piece of paradise! Fiji is the kind of place where you can be as busy or relaxed as you like, choosing to be pampered at a resort with childcare or exploring a deserted island for the day, complete with picnic and kids in full-on Robinson Crusoe mode.

With its miles of white sandy beaches and stunning coral reefs making it the embodiment of everyone’s idea of tropical heaven, Fiji also has a rugged interior with remote villages, a rainforest hinterland, and small but bustling multicultural cities with thriving markets on the two main islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Other island groups are the Mamanuca and the Yasawa, both popular with tourists, the Lomaiviti, and the remote Lau.

Fiji’s position at the high end of the market is changing, making it more achievable as a fortnight’s family fling destination. Though all-inclusive resorts remain the stalwart, there are now far more options. You won’t be able to do Fiji justice in family holidays of any duration, but you’ll all have a good time trying!

Fijian culture places family at the centre of most things and your kids will both delight and be delighted with the attention they receive. The friendliness is apparent everywhere, although after the 2006 military coup and with the interim government in place, it’s best not to debate politics over a cocktail at sundown.

Things to do with kids in Fiji

Be energetic – there’s a vast array of activities on offer, including horse-riding, trekking, swimming, sailing and kayaking. If you take the kids hiking on a trail, make sure you know exactly how far it is you’re going, that it’s something they will be able to cope with, and that you have a good supply of water and sunscreen. Horse-riding along the beach is a popular activity on family holidays and can normally be arranged through resorts. For snorkelling, you’re best off going to some of the small off islands: Tavenui and Mana Island are recommended.

Take a river cruise from Sigatoka jetty, visiting traditional villages and experiencing kava-drinking ceremonies and Fijian craftwork. An overnight stay in a Fijian village in the Nausori Highlands is an unforgettable experience – you may baulk at the idea of a ceremony put on purely for tourists, but you’d be missing out and the children would thoroughly enjoy it.

Discover Fiji’s urban life, if only for a day. In Suva, a bustling city with fantastic architecture and great views, kids enjoy wandering around the municipal market with its eye-catching local produce. The Fiji Museum is full of interesting things, including a unpopular missionary’s boot that was cooked along with his body parts.

Head for Pacific Harbour with its good range of places to eat and great beach. Its Arts Village (Cultural Centre and Marketplace) has historical re-enactments, dances and a Lake Tour where kids can learn about canoe-making, pottery and weaving, although the venue has seen better days.

Discover Nadi and its major attraction, the new Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple, the largest in the southern hemisphere, built to a 1000-year-old design. Thrill-seekers can organise a jet-boat trip from here, with boats staying afloat on less than 10cm of water and able to turn, at an alarming speed, on a sixpence!

Eat

The food on offer takes in native Fijian and Polynesian and also Indian, Chinese and Western influences, so even the pickiest of eaters will be able to find something to their taste on family holidays here. Seafood, tropical fruit and meat all feature heavily, and many resorts have kids’ menus.

Bottled local and mineral water are easily available and most of the milk is long life.

When to go to Fiji

Fiji’s warm tropical climate can be enjoyed year-round, though May–Nov is the best time for family holidays, as it is cooler (around 27ºC by day), less humid and less prone to rain and storms.

Dec–May is Fijian summer, and temperatures can rise to 32ºC+, although these higher temperatures are usually followed by cooling late-afternoon showers on the larger islands (the smaller offshore islands generally get much less rain).

Cost

Fiji is probably a once-in-a-lifetime family holiday destination for most people, with flights alone costing about £1000–1500pp. All-inclusive deals may help you keep accommodation costs down.

By Rachelle Keyes

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