Kid-friendly fun in Fiji beyond the resorts

There’s loads of family-friendly fun to be had in Fiji outside of the resort experience.

Two native girls of Fiji on a crowded people.
  • Janine Eberle
  • October 2018

Fiji has a great reputation for being a family-friendly destination and your resort will have plenty of activities to keep your kids entertained. If you want to be a little more adventurous, there are plenty of rewards for those willing to venture outside the resorts.

Take an island or river cruise

If you’re staying on Viti Levu, there are many companies set up to whisk you away on day or half-day cruises, giving you the chance to see more of Fiji. Most tours include pick-up and drop-off to your resort and all equipment is supplied, so you can adventure the easy way!

Cruises set sail (sometimes literally, on old-school tall ships) to idyllic, private or uninhabited smaller islands – South Sea Island, Tivua Island, Malamala Beach Club. Often you’ll be free to soak up the tropical atmosphere as you like – snorkelling, canoeing, volleyball or beach lazing – and a buffet lunch spread or barbecue will be included.

Or you could explore Viti Levu’s inland waters. An action-packed Navua River cruise takes you for a swim under the Magic Waterfall, a bamboo raft ride and a lovo lunch at a local village.

Get dirty at Sabeto Hot Springs and Mud Pool

Forget your resort’s luxury spa: get back to basics at the geothermal hot pools and mud bath at this natural spot near Nadi. Locals claim the mud has healing, age-defying properties – whether that’s true or not, it’s a fantastically relaxing sensation and the kids will love slopping thick mud all over themselves, taking loads of swamp-monster selfies and then washing it all off in the relaxing warm-water pool.

Local villagers are here offering massages, and the admission fee is actually a contribution to the local village that owns the pools. It’s a no-frills experience (which makes it all the more fun) that will leave the whole family with glowing skin and zero stress.

Go where the wild things are at Kula Wild Adventure Park

On the Coral Coast is Kula Wild Adventure Park, where Fiji’s fauna has been brought together into a handy one-stop-shop for you and the kids to discover. It’s a must for reptile and bird lovers with stunning bright-green Fijian iguanas (an endangered species) and colourful Kula birds, along with the flying fox, Fiji’s only native mammal. The ‘behind the scenes’ tour is a fascinating insight into the captive breeding program in the country’s only wildlife park.

Kids will the love the chance to hold iguanas and hand-feed sea turtles, and once they’ve seen all the creatures they can fly along the zip line and frolic in the waterslide or kiddies’ splash pool. The park is surrounded by five hectares of lush forest, ripe for exploration.

Discover traditional village culture

Your resort will probably offer local village tours and a night-time cultural show, but to give the kids a more solid education in the local culture, visit the Fiji Culture Village in Nadi. The cultural centre (not a real village) shows aspects of traditional village life and culture, including carving, fishing, canoe making and pottery.

The visit’s highlight is the traditional kava ceremony and meke song and dance performance (renowned as one of Fiji’s best). As an optional extra, enjoy a traditional lovo banquet, cooked in an earth oven.

Take a local bus adventure

For older kids with a bit more staying power, a scenic trip on a local bus is a great way to experience local life and shoot the breeze with Fijians. Open to the air (i.e. no windows), smoky and noisy, the buses are a slow but practical way to get around Viti Levu and Vanua Levu.

The buses stop whenever a passenger wants to get on or off – don’t use them as a form of transport if you’re in a rush. Most drivers crawl uphill and speed downhill – if your kids like rollercoasters, they’ll love this. It’s the best way to learn to live on ‘Fiji Time’ – just chill out and enjoy mixing with the friendly locals, who love chatting on the bus. (Just don’t sit over the rear axle on the driver’s side, or you may get an unhealthy dose of diesel fumes.)