Fiji: The secret to a great family holiday – Stuff.co.nz

Posted: January 23, 2020 at 8:45 am

Wasn't it great to be a kid? We had no idea what stress was, could eat whatever we wanted, and had more energy than the average power station.

Then adulthood hit - alongside a tsunami of stress, the metabolism conked out, and energy costs $5 a cup.

In other words, when we go on a family holiday - we're after different things. Kids want action; parents want to unwind. And finding that perfect mix is the secret to unlocking a great family holiday.

The answer is two-fold: a beach or pool for relaxing - sprinkled with activities that adults and kids will equally enjoy.

In Fiji, I found four day trips that do precisely that.

BROOK SABIN

Malamala Beach Club is for day-trippers only.

READ MORE:* Inside the world's coolest pizzeria floating in the Pacific* Move over NZ: Fiji's the new adventure capital* Stuff's Monday Escape: Swimming with sharks

Private island paradise

Many families head to Port Denarau to base themselves for a Fiji escape; it's an artificial island packed with big-name resorts like Hilton and the Sheraton.

There's one problem, however. The island isn't surrounded by dreamy turquoise waters; you're not getting that tropical holiday the brochures sell you.

There's now an easy solution. The world's first private island beach club has opened a 20-minute ferry ride from Denarau - and they'll pick you up from your hotel.

It's called Malamala Beach Club; the island is a perfectly-round sandy paradise with loungers for adults, while the kids can enjoy the beach, kayaking or snorkelling.

Get the heart racing

BROOK SABIN

Malamala has great places for parents to relax, while kids head to the beach.

For a day out the whole family will never forget, try a shark snorkelling tour.

Kids as young as five are welcome, and from what I experienced - parents are more scared than the younger ones.

The day trip from Denarau whisks you out to the idyllic Yasawa Islands on a high-speed ferry, before being met by a longboat to head out to a small reef - home to white and blacktip reef sharks.

This is not some sanitised aquarium visit; the sharks are very inquisitive - and will come right up for a look. You get to spend about 45 minutes swimming with the friendly locals, as they dart around the reef. While a few of our fellow day trippers were a little hesitant to get in the water at first, we all ended up not wanting to get out when it was time to go home.

Coolest pizzeria on the planet

BROOK SABIN

Shark snorkelling is not as scary as you think.

Floating on crystal clear water, on the outskirts of a magnificent lagoon, is the world's most beautiful pizzeria.

Just a warning: Cloud 9 is also a bar, with live music, so it can get a little loud. But it's still packed with families, enjoying a pizza and diving in for a snorkel. Children under seven aren't permitted.

BROOK SABIN

Cloud 9 is a 45 minute ferry ride from Port Denarau

Fly through the trees

BROOK SABIN

Kids will love jumping off Cloud 9s second storey - while adults enjoy a drink.

Zip Fiji has a 16 line course that zigzags through the jungle, joined together by boardwalks that squeeze through boulders, have sweeping views over the coast, and even lead to one of the biggest caves in the Pacific.

The ziplines require you to slow yourself down which involves a bit of practice with a specially designed glove. Don't worry if you brake too late; the guide will give you a big Fijian hug at the end to slow you down.

MORE INFORMATION:

Malamala: $120 for a day pass, includes hotel transfer, ferry, entry to the island and non-motorised water activities. See: malamalabeachclub.com

Shark snorkelling: $230 per adult, or $136 per child. This includes transfers from hotels in Nadi or Port Denarau, a return scenic cruise on the Yasawa Flyer to Barefoot Kuata Island, lunch, the shark snorkel trip, and snorkel equipment. See: ssc.com.fj/day-cruises

Cloud 9: $160 for bus and ferry transfers, including a $40 food and beverage credit.

Ziplining: $166 per person including transfers and lunch. See: zip-fiji.com

Getting there: Air New Zealand flies daily from Auckland and seasonally from Wellington and Christchurch. See: airnz.co.nz

Carbon count: A return trip to Fiji from Auckland flying economy class would generate0.31 tonnes of CO2.

The author's trip was supported by Fiji Tourism and Air New Zealand.

This article was produced as part of a partnershipwith House of Travel. Read more about our partnership content here.

BROOK SABIN

There are 16 zip lines to go down at Zip Fiji.

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Fiji: The secret to a great family holiday - Stuff.co.nz

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