The Lover Dreamers tribe loves an adventure! We had a small window of opportunity before our house build starts. It was a very last minute trip that we booked only a few weeks ago (while out on a local adventure day) and last week we tripped off for a week in Fiji.
We are fortunate enough to have visited this beautiful country several times before, so we never hesitate in heading back there. We searched around online and our favourite Fiji island resorts were all booked up for the week we had a available to travel. We found an amazingly cheap package deal on Expedia and jumped on it! We flew over and back with Fiji Airways and stayed at the Shangri-La Fijian Resort on the mainland. Now, we aren’t overly crazy for huge resorts but we were going on this trip to RELAX and the Shangri-la does an amazing job in catering for families. A lifetime ago we had family trips up to the islands and they are some of the best times of our lives when we were young… A side story here is that Mr Lover and Mrs Dreamer actually met in the islands of Fiji, but that’s another story, for another day.
Fiji offers so much for a family getaway, especially at this cold time of year. The weather, scenery and ease of access are just a few of the reasons to visit Fiji. But what makes this place so special, is the people. They are so unbelievably friendly and accommodating to anyone holidaying around their country. You haven’t even stepped off the plane before you hear the traditional greeting of BULA! This continues throughout and they will do anything to make your stay an enjoyable one.
This time around we stayed down the coral coast which only Mrs Dreamer has visited before, but a long time ago as a kid. The aim of our week away was to recharge the batteries and spend some quality time with our kids. We also wanted to show our little lover dreamers some cultural aspects to a country so different to the one they are being brought up in.
We had a lot of fun throughout the whole week which included swimming, playing and dancing in the pool, soccer and rugby with the locals, water park fun (located at the hotel), kids frog hunting and discos, clay sculpture creations, fish feeding and ice cream a plenty!
The hotel offered tours of schools and local villages but we chose to create our own little tour so we could go at our own pace and have the flexibility to stop and visit what we wanted to look at. We hired a car for the day and ventured to an amazing waterfall situated in the middle of a forest called Biausevu waterfall, which was about a 45min drive from our hotel. To get here, we went to a local village where we were welcomed with an official kava ceremony in which they then treat you like a local. It was a great way to start the day. We then met Emily, one of the local Fijian ladies. Emily guided us through the forest along a 2km track and through 9 streams. She is a beautiful young lady! Emily taught us about their natural medicines and their flora and fauna. She showed us the village fruit and vegetable plantations and told us about her family homelife. We saw the local village men out hunting for wild pig at that time of day. Listening to Emily talk about the local way of life was really educational and a real eye opener, not only for us but our kids as well. The waterfall itself was like something out of a movie and we’d highly recommend going to see it if your in Fiji.
On our way home we navigated our way down a few random dirt roads to make our way to Natadola beach which is a beautiful long beach with only a few other people and horses dotted along the sand. The sun was setting and it was a great way to end the day!
As we booked our trip to Fiji, we both agreed that a must do for all of us was to visit a local school to show our kids. Again there were tours available but after talking to the locals, they said we could just turn up and any school would be accommodating to us coming in for a look (they are just so friendly!).
There was a primary school at the end of the road which we were introduced to the kindergarten teachers who welcomed us and pointed out what was where in the school. We weren’t even there for 5mins and the principal spotted us and immediately approached us, introduced himself and insisted on showing us around his school, an amazing man with a heart of gold. We took the kids into several classrooms and of course the teachers waved us in and all the kids smiled, it’s just such a warming feeling. We found the Year one class and the kids gave our a daughter a huge BULA GRACE! She was a little shy but she understood it was pretty special. Something we did notice all around the school were placards with positive affirmations written on them. Nothing complicated, just words that everyone can abide by. A couple of examples were “Try your best, every day”, “You never know until you try” and “Be kind to one another”. Simple things, but something we noticed as influential as well.
We only spent around 45mins at the school but it was an experience that none of us will ever forget.
Our TOP tips for a family trip to FIJI
1. Ask the drivers for local tips – they know everything and are very honest. They won’t try and sell you a tour.
2. If you have never been before, take a trip out to the outer islands. They are the jewel of Fiji.
3. Venture out of your hotel and into the local villages and country side and experience the real Fijian culture first hand.
4. You can take packaged snacks for your kids from your home country i.e Chips, muesli bars, crackers, biscuits etc.
5. Shop around online for package deals. You can save thousands by doing a bit of shopping around.
Now that we are back home, we are always quick to remind our 2 little ones of their adventure to Fiji but also to remind them just how lucky they are to not only travel to other countries, but to also appreciate that there are different ways of life outside of their current one.
Planning for our next adventure has already begun, but we’ve got a house to build first.