Elisa Elwin explores the magic of a Fijian holiday for teenagers with her two almost adult daughters Sam and Tori, exploring the northern Yasawa Islands and the colourful Coral Coast.
It had been eight years since our last family holiday to Fiji and it was simply fabulous. My two Amazonian teenagers were happy, compliant, snuggly kids way back then. On our latest holiday, the configuration of mother and two feisty daughters was new and I was concerned how the time away would work for us. It was enough of a challenge to drag them away from their heavy study schedules and hectic social lives. I should not have worried ... the tempo, climate, beauty and people of Fiji worked their mellow magic. We all agreed it was our best mother/daughter holiday - ever. Fiji is for families … of any age. And here’s why.
Fijians really are happy people. Their relaxed energy calms everyone, while their laughter and good humour is infectious. Every Fijian we met smiled and looked us in the eyes. There was laughter and music everywhere we went. At our first fantastic overnight at the Sonasali Island Resort, we were friends by check in, addressed by name and treated as family by our first fantastic dinner. From toddlers to teens every child we met had the same look of happiness, and every parent was peacefully watching their kids being enjoyed and cherished.
Fijians don’t just like kids, they love them. Babies are whisked away into safe and loving arms, toddlers are adored and cosseted, school-aged kids are talked to and included. In fact I would go as far as saying if you don’t holiday with kids in Fiji you are missing out. It is the most family-friendly destination we have ever been to. And my lucky girls have travelled with me – a lot. The first day had exactly the right calming effect, slowing the pace. All was going to plan for our mother/daughter getaway.
The Fijian people are beautiful and the Fijian Islands breathtakingly so. The northern Yasawas with all their small, inhabited village islands and palm trees beckoned, and Captain Cook Cruises Fiji gave us a taste. There is nothing quite like a cruise to take you away from the pressures of every day. Facebook and iPhones are forgotten with the daily parade of divine islands, for snorkelling, swimming, visiting and spending time getting to know the villagers. Each island is more beautiful than the last and every child is treated as a valued guest. Laughter and joy is a part of every gorgeous Captain Cook Cruise day. Each evening, watching the dramatic sunsets, we felt our connection and harmony returning.
Fiji time really is just time slowed down. Nothing is a problem. From day one, the ‘we must do everything’ vibe starts to fall away. Walking more slowly, spontaneous smiles and laughing more easily, we slowed down and relaxed into Fiji holiday mode. The Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa helped this along perfectly. We all shared a lounge by the pool and had laidback pool time, swam in the turquoise waters of the aptly named Coral Coast, watched the sundown fire-lighting ceremony, ate at a selection of the many fine restaurants and then I spoiled the three of us with a massage and spa session. Pure bliss.
Not too far
Fiji is no big deal for travel or jet lag. Fiji Airways fly to Nadi every day in around four hours from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. It’s an easy trip and there’s only a two-hour time difference. There was no stress in our travel plans and no down time needed to recover from the journey home.
Put that 'fab four' together and you have your dream holiday with kids. The motto from Tourism Fiji, 'Fiji, where happiness finds you’ is just simple truth.
It found us, in bucket loads. We have already booked our next mother/daughter holiday there in 2014.
Fiji Airways operate daily flights from most Australian capital cities to Nadi.
The currency is the Fijian Dollar (FJD). At the time of writing, AUD$1 buys you FJD $1.67
Where to stay
Images: Elisa Elwin