Retreating in Fiji

We just got back from a magical week in Fiji. It was my first time there and our first international trip since arriving in Australia 1.5 years ago (thanks, Covid). Juliette is now almost three and Ariana is now just over one year old. By this time in Juliette’s life, she had been on 26 flights and to six different countries. Before this trip Ariana had been on just two flights, and this was her first international adventure (sorry, kiddo)…but what a great adventure it was!

Why it’s worth it to go to Fiji

Fiji was beautiful! We were there during the rainy season so while there was on and off rain each day, we also got sun every day and the humidity was delightfully tropical. There was something in the air that made Fiji feel so relaxing. But the best part was definitely the people. They are SO warm and friendly — and they LOVE kids! Our hotel had a kids club (included free in our package) for ages 3-12 and babysitters readily available. It’s also one of the closest tropical countries from Australia (~5hrs) so it’s an easy getaway.

Tips for getting there

If you are traveling without kids — easy peasy…watch a movie, sleep, enjoy life.

If you are traveling with a one and three year old…proceed cautiously.

  • Beware of red eyes. We thought a redeye would be great for the girls, but with a slight delay, we left after 1am, which meant girls who usually sleep at 8pm, were wired until after 1pm. Then Fiji Airways served food (why??) and kept the lights on for 2 hours…so we had two crying kids (and one crying adult) still awake at 3am. BUT, they finally fell asleep for a few hours and we all survived. On the way home, we had a 6pm flight so the girls could eat dinner on the airplane, Ariana dozed off, Juliette fell asleep as we were landing and they were home in bed by midnight. We let them sleep in an hour later the next day but then were back on track.
  • Bring food. I was like a grocery store in my tote bag. Pouches. Cheerios. Pretzels. Puffs. Lots of bread…in other words: carbs, carbs, carbs (and food that is very clean). We also had their water bottles filled which they drank during takeoff and landing to help their ears.
  • Bulkhead is great for crawlers. On the way home we paid for the bulkhead row which was amazing. Since Ariana is crawling, it gave her more space to crawl without going under seats in front of us. It was hugely spacious and even though Ariana didn’t sleep in the bassinet, we used it as an amazing storage bin. Well worth it!

Where to stay

If you’re traveling with kids, we’ve got the hotel for you. But be warned, there are A LOT of kids there (there is an adult-only section of the hotel with their own restaurant and pool, but you have to sign up for that package…which, if you’re traveling without kids, you might want to do).

We ended up going with the Sofitel in Denarau since we wanted a room with two bedrooms and options for meals included. We got a special package that included half board (breakfast and dinner), free access to the kids club and they threw in a free 60-min massage (thanks). We were so glad to have chosen a ground floor room which had a really spacious outdoor area (vs a small balcony), saved us from schlepping up and down stairs with the girls and let us come and go through two entrances. It was also pretty magical to open our curtains and look out at the ocean.

They had two portacots for us — one in the small bunk bed room and one in the main room. Juliette figured out how to reach the sliding door in the bunk bed room, so we put Ariana in there and Juliette in the bathroom. Other than trekking out to the pool toilet before bed, this worked great.

The pool here is amazing for kids — so many shallow areas, places to climb and sit, fountains and a water slide.

It was awesome. We’d wake up, go get our buffet breakfast, go for a family swim, put Ariana down to nap, go strolling on the beach to watch sunset, go for a buffet dinner, stroll back to our room for bedtime/Netflix.

Buffets are the best

When traveling with kids, buffets make everything so easy. I think our girls ate more than we did and they loved smiling and waving at EVERYONE who passed by.

Vinaka!

Juliette got very good at saying, “Bula” (hello) and “Vinaka” (thank you) to everyone we passed — to which she would always get some very sweet smiles.

This was the perfect getaway with kids this age. Vinaka for a great trip!

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