We first went to delightful Castaway Island in 2010 and were a little unsure about how our two teenage sons would take to it… my husband and I love Fiji, but our last visit was when No 1 son was only 16 months old and we hoped that two very ‘connected’ teenagers would find a way to relax into Fiji’s unique pace of life.
Our concerns flew out the window as soon as we boarded our water taxi transfer to Castaway and both boys (then 14 and 16) were charmed by the island’s beauty and slow pace of life.
Fast forward two years and we were thinking of another holiday. When a school trip to Europe for our younger son fell through, his suggestion that we put the money towards another holiday on Castaway met with unanimous approval.
So we found ourselves once again being welcomed to this beautiful island, a couple of weeks before Christmas – and just days before tropical Cyclone Evan hit.
The traditional Fijian welcome never gets old and the welcome cocktail/mocktail is always just that! There are three different types of bure – beach, ocean view and garden. We chose ocean view on our first visit and a garden bure this time, but it still came with a gorgeous view of the ocean as well as the lush tropical gardens – and all just a matter of steps away from that astonishingly clear water.
Both boys immediately threw themselves into the ocean and then marked out their hammocks for the rest of the week. There are plenty of hammocks strung between the palms and more than enough comfortable beach lounges on both the north and south beaches, so there is never any difficulty finding somewhere to laze.
Castaway has long been a favourite escape (my parents loved it, too!) but never looks old, thanks to continual investment in refurbishments, such as new beds in every bure in 2012 and all the behind-the-scenes upkeep necessary in a tropical environment. Nearly $4 million dollars was spent in upgrades and improvements in February 2012. Cyclone Evan saw the resort closed until 31 March, while all the bures were re-thatched, the gardens replanted and other repair work undertaken. The island is looking better than ever.
Other improvements include a dedicated kids’ pool, leaving the main pool – with its new swim-up bar, for older kids and adults to enjoy. The Kids’ Club is fabulous, giving parents some time together, while the younger kids have a ball.
The kids’ pool, along with its new dining area ‘Nuku Marau’ bar and grill, is a great place for families to spend their time, while the ‘Malua’ quiet pool is perfect for those who didn’t bring the kids along.
Castaway has a well-known chef, Lance Seeto, who provides wonderful healthy options, using locally grown and caught ingredients. Aside from the Nuku Marau Grill, there is the gorgeous Water’s Edge restaurant and the Sundowner Pizza Bar. The best way to eat on Castaway is with one of the meal packages – they are great value and it’s really the only way to keep two teenage boys fed!
There is plenty to do aside from lazing around… snorkelling, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, volleyball, sailing, fishing, diving, parasailing, trips to the outer reef … the list goes on. Many of the activities are free and provide a wonderful escape into island life.
For those who do need to stay connected to the outside world, there is free Wi-Fi at the Lali Bar, but what chance does Facebook have, when you could be snorkelling with Nemo and myriad other tropical fish?
So is Castaway the right sort of holiday for families with teenagers? Absolutely yes … we spent time together and time apart, and we all came home planning our next escape to Castaway.
– Lisa Monk
Lisa is a writer and editor who has travelled extensively with her husband and sons, both when her boys were small and now they are grown!