Child snorkelling in Fiji

Why Fiji's Coral Coast Is Tops For A Family Holiday

12 March 2018

If you’re considering a family trip to Fiji, the options of where to stay can be overwhelming. For a holiday that appeals to all ages and offers plenty of things to do – in and out of your resort, take the whole tribe to Fiji’s Coral Coast. Located on the southwest coast of the main island of Viti Levu, the Coral Coast is a one- to two-hour drive from Nadi International Airport and most Coral Coast resorts will offer return transfers.

Holding white coral There's plenty of coral for little hands to collect on Fiji's Coral Coast. (Image: Cassandra Laffey)

As its name implies, the Coral Coast is an 80km stretch of white sandy beaches and hidden bays with a large coral reef off the mainland. Close proximity to the Sigatoka River and the South Pacific Ocean means this whole area is primed for watersports, plus the abundance of local villages along this stretch will show littlies the traditional side of Fiji life, too.

Fijian crested iguana The crested iguana is one of Fiji's native creatures and can be spotted at Kula Wild Adventure Park. (Image: Getty)

Kula Wild Adventure Park

Fiji’s only nature park is just across the road from the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort (via an underground tunnel) and not only offers kids the opportunity to say “Bula” to some of the island nation’s endangered species, such as the peregrine falcon and crested iguana, and get hands on with wildlife, they can also play at being a park ranger for a day. There’s also an onsite waterslide and splash pool for littlies to cool down in, plus older daredevils can tackle a zip-line through the jungle canopy. All entry costs go back into the conservation of the wildlife, so it’s fun and philanthropic! Open daily from 10am to 4pm.

Holding a hermit crab Feeding coconut to hermit crabs is one of the many interactive activities on offer at Fiji's kids clubs. (Image: Getty)

Kids clubs

Two of Fiji’s best kids clubs are located along the Coral Coast at Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort and Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa. If you’re staying at either of these properties, take advantage of the great onsite amenities and daily activities for kids – the Outrigger is a great pool resort, while the Shangri-La, which is located on a private island attached by a causeway, has a beautiful family-friendly beach.

Basketweaving demonstration in Fiji Crafts, like basketweaving, are fascinating for littlies. (Image: Getty)

Sigatoka town

For a change from resort life, head into Sigatoka (a short taxi ride of around FJD$5 from Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort) to check out this bustling riverside town. Billboards proudly proclaim the area as Fiji’s ‘Rugby Town’ and when we visited, it was a hive of activity with plenty of souvenir shops to poke around and find a tapa cloth bag, handcrafted necklace or coconut lamp to take home. You can also pick up local savoury snacks or sample a great Indian meal (order the roti and mild dahl and rice for kids, add spicier flavours for the grown-ups!).

Sigatoka River and town The view of Sigatoka River and town. (Image: Getty)

Sigatoka River Safari

Take an exhilarating ride along the Sigatoka River on a custom-built jetboat for an immersive dip into Fijian village life. Leaving from Sigatoka town, you’ll be whisked away for a half-day experience that includes a trip upriver to a village for a meal and cultural activities that the whole family (vuvale) can take part in.

Preparing kava in Fiji Trying tongue-tingling kava (yaqona) on a village visit is a must-do in Fiji. (Image: Getty)

Cultural village visit

There’s also a variety of local villages in the Coral Coast area that you can arrange to visit to get a feel for island life during your stay. Some resorts have initiatives with local villages and schools where guests can visit and get involved in community projects. A yaqona (kava) ceremony is a must – kids will get a thrill to see this tradition – or stop by Malevu, Biausevu or another local village for Sunday church service, market shopping, local medicine walks and other authentic ceremonies. Check with your resort for village access and cultural tours.

Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park, Fiji Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park is a fun day out for the family. (Image: Getty)

Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park

Silty sands have built up over millennia to produce Fiji’s first national park; an unique ecosystem of huge dunes where even ancient artefacts have been unearthed – perfect for any budding archaeologists! Take the self-guided one- or two-hour walk (depending on whether you have littlies that tire easily in tow) or follow along on a guided ranger tour. The national park is easily accessible and open from 8am to 5pm daily.

Father and daughter stand-up paddleboarding in Fiji Stand-up paddleboarding at high tide on the Coral Coast. (Image: Cassandra Laffey)

Snorkelling and kayaking

With the fringing reef and river nearby, watersports are a big plus about staying on Fiji’s Coral Coast. If you’re staying at a resort, take advantage of the complimentary equipment on offer to boot up (to avoid sharp coral) and don masks and snorkels for a look at the underwater world. We spotted bright blue starfish, iridescent fish in the shallows that moved like quicksilver, little blue tangs (Dory!), sea worms, eels and even giant clams in their own nursery (aww!). Parents can also take their mini-mes on the resorts’ double kayaks or let the teens paddle their own canoe or try stand-up paddleboarding in the calm waters. Check for high tide times for the best time to paddle out or snorkel.

Three children jump into a pool in Fiji The most fun? Jumping into the main lagoon pool at Outrigger Fiji Resort & Spa! (Image: Cassandra Laffey)

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Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals on travelling to Fiji.

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Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.