Images of being warmed by the sun, snorkelling in turquoise water and lazing on a palm-fringed beach with a good book filled my head as we flew to Fiji with Air Pacific. Undoubtedly my wife Monique and three daughters aged 10, 12 and 19, had similar thoughts, but I wondered whether we would be able to please everyone.
Island songs and shouts of ‘Bula’ greeted us as we passed through customs. Big smiles accompanied us to Rosie’s shuttle bus, taking holidaymakers to the various resorts. We were heading to Denarau Island, a unique island paradise with several huge resorts, residential villas and a premier tennis and golf complex. We were cheerily dropped off to the Sheraton Denarau Villas, and before bags were unpacked found ourselves sitting at the famous Flying Fish Restaurant on the beach. We instantly relaxed as the band played, and we enjoyed a superb dinner under the stars.
The two-bedroom villa was beautifully appointed and set in a quiet location adjacent to one of the Sheraton’s six pools. One of the benefits of staying at the Sheraton Villas on Denarau is the fact that you can swim in any of the pools at the Sheraton Fiji and Westin Denarau next door. Our girls spent the next few days testing out every pool on offer and were not disappointed.
The Sheraton is a huge resort set right on the water. There are loads of activities to keep you and your kids busy, including windsurfing, volleyball or touch rugby. There are also cultural activities like basket weaving, wood carving and Fijian language but for me just lazing by the pool was a great start to an awesome trip. The resort has a terrific kids’ club where kids stay, play and dine for free. The Fijian people are the friendliest people on the planet so children are guaranteed a fun-filled time.
We tore ourselves away from the pool and headed to Port Denarau for a jet boat ride with Adrenalin Fiji. The smiles on the kids’ faces told the story as the boat dipped and spun spraying water at every turn. Adrenalin Fiji offers everything from fishing charters to diving – even hot air ballooning! Back at the resort, we swam and swam some more enjoying the warm Fijian weather and pools set amongst tropical gardens by the beach.
The all you can eat breakfast at the Sheraton was the perfect start before our day cruise out to Mystery Island on board Captain Cook Cruises. We had an incredible day of swimming and I joined my 19-year-old daughter Tiarne for her first tank dive. She loved every minute of it and Fiji has some of the best coral reefs available making it perfect for an introductory dive. Lunch was provided and we enjoyed an afternoon of snorkelling straight off the beach.
We were fortunate to experience the incredible Fijian Fire Walking and Cultural Show at the Westin Resort and Spa. The whole family was blown away with the cultural dancing and the finale of the Fijian men walking across burning stones.Ouch... The show followed a huge banquet of meats and vegetables cooked amongst the burning coals and wrapped in banana leaves. The food was delicious and all the kids had a great night.
Time to treasure
For the second part of our trip we headed off to Treasure Island with South Sea Cruises. The weather was perfect for the hour run and all too soon we were offloading at Treasure to a warm welcome.
All the bures are located 30 metres from the water so every room has an ocean view. The rooms were large with king-size beds, en suites plus fans and air conditioning. Hammocks were strung between coconut trees and from our room we could see the local church being set up for a wedding. Lots of Aussies come to Treasure Island to get married as their friends can bring their kids and have an extended family holiday.
The main resort complex has been well designed to cater for family groups. A large bar and dining room looks out over a spacious deck surrounded by huge trees and lush tropical gardens. The views are glorious and at sunset it is just perfect looking out over the aqua blue water. The pool is only a couple of years old and is the feature of the resort facility. It curves around an ancient tree, its canopy acting as the ultimate umbrella.
For kids under 12, the island is truly a treasure. The kids’ club runs daily activities and while we were there Sienna (10) and Matiese (12) had a ball joining in the fun. There were loads of kids and it didn’t take long before they made friends. The main beach was beautiful white sand with lots of deck chairs and umbrellas to laze under. The water temperature was around 28 degrees and with the sun beating down we were in the water more than out.
The most awesome thing we found was the snorkelling straight off the beach. You can hire snorkel, mask and fins from the watersports centre for a small charge. The gear was in good order which is very important if you want to enjoy viewing the abundant coral and marine life. We snorkelled around for hours checking out this undersea paradise.
Treasure Island has something for everyone and the nightly Fijian entertainment was as warm and welcoming as the friendly Fijian people.
A great place to take the kids with enough activities to keep them occupied giving mum and dad a much needed break.