Fiji is a fantastic spot for a family holiday, couples retreat, wedding package or conference location. It’s a three and a half hour flight from Brisbane, so easy to access and the climate is very similar to Cairns, so a warm, sunny, tropical paradise awaits you all year round.
The main island – Viti Levu – is a lot bigger than most people realise, and the main holiday areas are on the left hand side of the island, within easy reach of Nadi, which is where you will fly into. There’s really not much to see and do in Nadi itself, so your resort choice is important as this is where you spend most of your holiday so that you can relax by the pool, rest and rejuvenate and Fiji is the perfect location to do this.
Denarau Island is twenty minutes drive from Nadi and is home to all the major, well known hotel chains, including the Sofitel, Radisson and Sheraton. I love the Sofitel and have spent my last two trips to Fiji staying at this terrific resort. It’s perfect for families, with a large pool area, Kids Club and amazing Spa. I’ve also run a conference event at this hotel for over 500 people, and it’s a great location to do this and you don’t feel like you are taking over the whole resort as there is plenty of space (so ideal for any type of group), and fantastic conference facilities.
Denarau is also home to the Denarau Marina which is the main point to access the island resorts, and also great for shopping and dining. There is also a great 18 hole golf course on Denarau.
The Coral Coast is just under two hours’ drive from Nadi and is a secluded area, renowned for its unspoilt beaches and lush forest area. The Outrigger on the Lagoon is a fantastic and popular resort on the Coral Coast with a first class Spa (is there a trend here?!) and the Shangri La Fijian Resort & Spa is the best place to stay if you are travelling with small children.
If not staying on the mainland, the Mamanuca Islands offer a range of island resorts to suit all tastes and budgets. I’ve never met anyone who does not fall in love with Castaway Island and its stunning white beaches and clear blue water (they usually return on a regular basis and it sells out months and months in advance). It appeals to couples, families and honeymooners but you have to get in quick! Beachcomber Island Resort is the ‘party island’, popular with the U35’s.
Plantation Island Resort is great value for money and is mainly a choice for families as it offers two bedroom bures at a great price. But there is also Treasure Island, Mana Island… the list goes on. There are also a number of exclusive and secluded islands too, so if you want to indulge and treat yourself, Vatulele Island Resort and Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort are amazing, and something really special. Not all of the ‘exclusive’ islands cater for children, so best to check in advance!
One of my best tips when travelling to Fiji is to pre-book and pre-pay for your meals – breakfast, dinner and/or lunch. All of the resorts are ‘eating out’ prices so a package will save you money and most of the resorts have a number of restaurants/eating options to choose from.
And again, make sure you book in advance… especially if you want to head to Castaway, as this resort is always sold out months out (we are now booking June/July 2015 time as Christmas/Easter has been sold out for a couple of months in all room categories).
Fiji – a perfect, relaxing holiday with resorts/locations to suit all budgets and tastes. Definitely worth thinking about if you need to take some time out to relax and rejuvenate….