Ultimate guide to things to do in Fiji with kids
Reset your body and mind to ‘Fiji time’. Fijian people are some of the warmest, kind (and relaxed!) people in the world. The Fijian philosophy is of a slower pace of life and no stress – everything is done without a rush and with a friendly, welcoming smile. Fijians love and cherish children, making this island nation the perfect destination for a family holiday!
Choose from countless kid-friendly resorts, or for a more authentic experience opt for a villa or homestay. All are surrounded by coconut palms and are a short stroll to idyllic sandy beaches. The natural sounds of frogs, quiet bird calls and soft rolling waves will lull you to sleep.
Most resorts offer ‘Kids Clubs’ for free where the kids will be involved in an exciting array of group and some traditional Fijian activities, as well as offering Fijian babysitters and nanny services for younger children.
Embrace the culture of ‘Fiji time’ – put away your watch, be greeted by the locals with a wide smile and a welcoming “Bula”, and truly immerse with your kids in the refreshing island life experience – kids will love the freedom and adventure and, guaranteed, you will come away with a great appreciation for the memorable ‘Fiji time’ philosophy.
The kids will love
The Mamanuca and Yasawa group of islands, hosting some of the most kid-friendly resorts and hotels on the planet, are the best options for young children’s snorkelling. Encounter colourful corals and fish, sea turtles and even friendly sharks!
Most resorts offer a range of group water-sports activities or equipment for hire. Kiteboarding, paddle-boarding, windsurfing and boating trips around remote islands are fantastic way to spend the day with older kids – Nananu-i-Ra is a great island for these. Water diver courses are also available for the adventurous (ages ten and up) – head to www.padi.com for more information.
Kula Eco Park is a wildlife sanctuary featuring all native Fijian animals, including the Fijian flying fox, rare iguanas and giant aviaries of kula parrots and other native birds. Children can learn about the park’s vital breeding programs for Fijian wildlife. Swim with manta rays on islands Kadavu, Lau and Moala and visit Treasure Island for unforgettable turtle and iguana feeding!
Kid friendly resorts, particularly at Denarau and Robinson Crusoe Island, host a number of traditional cultural shows and live interactive entertainment. Arts Village, described as ‘Fiji in a theme park’, features mock battles and performances with traditional arts and costumes in a Disneyland-like atmosphere.
Best time to travel
Fiji is a vibrant and family-friendly destination all year round. The middle part of the year, May through October, is the most comfortable time to travel, with low rainfall and milder levels of humidity. The ‘wet seasons’, February to April and November, have higher humidity levels and sporadic heavy rains. However, this low season boasts competitive discounts unavailable at other times of the year.
The two high seasons, June to September and December to January, coincide with school holidays for Australia and New Zealand. Prices can hike up to 20% in these periods, peaking in June and July.
Things to do in Fiji with…
Children are cherished by the Fijian people and will be warmly welcomed by locals throughout the islands. Beach activities, animal experiences and plenty of safe swimming will keep toddlers and young children well occupied!
Water and adventure sports galore, older kids will be never at a loss for something engaging to do. Snorkelling, island boat trips, kayaking, windsurfing, day hikes, waterfalls and even sea trampolines are among top things to do.
Sprawling beach resorts, banana boat and jet boat rides are among what’s on offer for older kids. Water diving courses are available for children over ten, as well as advanced hikes and breathtaking advanced snorkelling experiences.
Surrounded by mountains, northern Thailand holds an almost mystical appeal. In Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second largest city, you’ll find heaps to see and do. The city is home to more than 300 fascinating temples and eye opening traditional practices, plus the fascinating Walking Street Markets, where teens can stock up on trinkets and cheap clothes. And while the pretty moated city offers rich history, culture and tradition, it is also home to some of Thailand’s most teen friendly resorts. It is also an excellent base for visiting the mountains and for exploring neighbouring forests, rice fields and national parks for bamboo rafting, white-water rafting and trekking.
Not too far from Chiang Mai is Chiang Rai, a culturally diverse region that is home to Thailand’s minority Hill Tribes. Here you’ll find a more traditional Thailand, and visiting families can even enjoy a homestay with a hill tribe family for the ultimate in cultural immersion.
Getting around Fiji
Car: Renting a car is a terrific way for getting around the islands on your own time. 4WDs are great for the adventurous, enabling families to venture on out-of-town explorations. The majority of the islands have completely paved roads suitable for cars and are safe for the whole family to explore.
Ferries and boats: There are regular ferries between the main islands, including Nadi, Viti Levu, the Mamanuca and Yasawa island group. Gaze upon the gorgeous dark blue seas and lush green islands – this is one of the most picturesque ways to get around! Be sure to check the returning schedules for remote islands, as some only run once or twice a week.
Bus: Fijian buses truly embrace the iconic concept of ‘Fiji time’ – friendly, windowless and affordable, they are a great way to get around the islands, particularly for long distances – and you’ll have a memorable experience riding them! Again, be sure to check the timetables – sometimes erratic, but all a part of the Fiji experience.
Air: Fiji Airways and Northern Air, both friendly and affordable airlines, fly from Viti Levu to most outer islands. Alternatively, take a helicopter ride for unparalleled panoramic views of the sprawling green islands and beaches – a fun and fearless way to get to your destination!
More about Fiji for families
- Essentials include swimming costumes and beach gear, a good hat, sunscreen, insect repellent and rain gear for travelling in the rainy season. Inflatable floaties, snorkel masks and binoculars are great additions for kids as well.
- The islands have a very relaxed atmosphere, so light beach and walking clothing for the daytime and some warmer layers for the evenings will suit.
- A portable change mat is essential for babies as there are limited baby-changing facilities. A lightweight fold-up stroller or baby carrier are also a good option, particularly for beach resorts and day hikes.
What to pack
- Renowned for its spectacular beaches and year-round weather, beach gear and quality sun protection is a must.
- Being a wonderfully family-friendly location, all baby essentials left at home are available for purchase from supermarkets and pharmacies.
- Baby and toddler essentials – nappies, wipes, baby food, et cetera – are easily available from supermarkets and pharmacies on the main islands, but not always on the smaller islands and more remote areas. Be sure to stock up on the essentials before travelling to these areas.
- Pre-trip vaccinations for children include Hepatitis A and Typhoid (for children over 2 years old). Consult your GP for these vaccinations before travel.
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Janeece Keller is the founder and editor of Family Travel. She mostly travels with her husband and two young kids. She has a large blended family that lives in Australia and Europe. She has visited 52 countries and lived on 3 continents. From camping to luxury resorts Janeece tries to make sure her family has diverse holiday experiences each year. She is an avid hiker and ocean swimmer who loves good food, margaritas and heading off the beaten path.