Back in 2010 we had two kids, 2 ½ and 6 mths, and I was dreaming of a family holiday that felt like a holiday. I hadn’t used a babysitter/nanny/kids club while on holiday so far and I was desperate keen to try it. I kept reading about how fantastic Fiji was for kids, so I investigated. I had never been to Fiji, never even thought about it, but the more I looked, the more I found that I liked. So we tried Fiji, we tried the Outrigger, and I had one three of those dream holidays. Yes, we loved it so much we went back again in 2011 and 2012.
Fiji is truly a brilliant destination for young families, because it is warm, tropical, a bit more exotic than Queensland, not too far from the east coast and is filled with great quality resorts with wonderful pools and staff who adore kids. Like Far North Queensland, summer is the wet season and cyclone season, so it is in winter that the weather is relatively dry, which happily coincides with when a lot of parents are keen to break the year up with a holiday.
Kids club/Nanny service
* Note that photos are a mixture from our 2010, 2011 and 2012 trips.
The Outrigger kept drawing us back because of the Mei Mei nanny service. The Mei Meis care for children from 6 months old. If they need to sleep, they have cots for them, if they need to be pushed around the resort endlessly to try and get them to sleep in a stroller, then they will do that, or if they’re awake with energy to burn, there’s a playground, sandpit, organised activities, toys and games that the Mei Mei will play with them. These ladies are fantastic at their jobs. They are extremely laid back and relaxed with the kids, appear to have endless patience and really seem to get attached to the kids. I was grateful that my kids were being cared for by people that have so much love for children.
And once the kids are 3 years old, the kids club is free! Seana’s got more info here about the kids club.
The costs and info about the nanny service are here, but basically, even though the prices have gone up a fair bit since 2010, it is very affordable. Yes the kids may not always be thrilled. They would probably rather spend 24 hours a day with you. But it’s not just about them. Spending time alone or with your husband is invaluable. Unlike getting a babysitter and going out for dinner, you can have up to 8 hours a day here. I don’t know about you, but even 4 or 5 hours to do whatever we wanted (as long as you don’t leave the resort) was heaven! We spent time apart at the spa, having a nap, people watching, sport watching, reading, exercising, internet surfing, and time together eating, chatting, planning the future, drinking cocktails and generally reminding ourselves how much we love each other. Reliving those heady early days of being young and in love. So fun.
The family swimming pool is the other big plus at the Outrigger (there is a separate adults-only pool). It is ideal for young kids because there are large areas of shallow water with rocks for climbing on, jumping off and general exploration. I did not expect to spend so much time in the water! Hubster and I had to buy rashies for ourselves, because once we had those, we could spend endless hours in the pool playing with/supervising the kids and they couldn’t get enough. They were never bored, they were outside in the fresh air working off lots of energy, and they were surrounded by endless playmates.
There are plenty of things to easily fill up a week or 10 days here, including a couple of short excursions to the local village and Kula Eco Park (small wildlife park), which are each only 10 min away by shuttle. The accommodation is good – I would call it 4 star. The food is good, there are a lot of options for kids meals – we were happy having every meal in the resort. The staff are lovely. The beach is pretty average, but I believe you generally need to go to an island to get a decent beach in Fiji. It does take quite a long time to get here. After surviving the flight, the last thing you want to do is sit in a car for 1 1/4 hours to get to the Coral Coast (south coast). We choose to pay extra to go by private car, so at least you leave the airport as soon as you are through customs and don’t have any extra stops along the way.
In your suitcase
With its excellent facilities for young kids and the proximity to Australia, Outrigger on the Lagoon is filled with lots of young Australian families. Being there feels like you are still in Australia, but with a cool laid-back South Pacific vibe. Going overseas and feeling like you are still in Australia is not something that I would have wanted before kids, but now it just equates to a super easy holiday where the basics of food, language and accommodation are much the same as home.
Relax and enjoy!