05 Jun 2013

Fiji for Families with Teenagers. Does It Work?

The Poshpacker Family recently started their grand tour of the world with a breathtaking trip to amazing Fiji, but did everyone enjoy it?

There is a big difference between a holiday and a ‘holiday’.  One involves running around like a chook with its head cut off, sightseeing, trekking, skiing, and ensuring you see and do everything a place has to offer in a limited amount of time.  You will almost certainly return from this holiday with a thousand amazing photos and fantastic experiences under your belt, albeit a little tired and in need of the other type of ‘holiday’.

Now this holiday is where time stands still, it usually involves swaying palm trees, sunscreen and cocktails, definitely an awesome book and a few massages, a whole lot of relaxation and really not much else.

What better way to begin our family’s worldly adventures than with a relaxation holiday, well that’s what l thought?  Time stood still for us (or should l say me) when we stepped off the plane, took a deep breath of the balmy thick air and absorbed the magic of arriving in our awe inspiring, tropical destination, Fiji.

What Do You Expect?
It’s fair to say we were expecting big things.  Fiji was the first overseas holiday we took as a family, which is primarily why we choose Fiji, as it is heavily marketed as the world’s most sought after holiday destination for families.  We figured that was enough of a sales pitch for us.  Sold.  We wanted a whole lot of relaxation mixed with some traditional Fijian culture.  We travelled in October, as the climate reports told us that Fiji was in its element from April through to November (December to March is the wet season)

First Impressions.
Bula.  We landed in Nadi and navigated out way through the surprisingly little airport with no trouble at all.  We strolled out through customs and turned our watches onto ‘Fiji time’ literally because from this point on everything seemed to be on the go-slow.  No one in Fiji is in a hurry, ever!

It’s All About Us. What we Chose to do.

Denarau Island
Our driver took us about 20 minutes by car from Nadi straight to Denarau Island.  Now this is not a ‘real’ island in my view, but it is separated from the main land by a bridge so technically yes, it is an island of sorts.  All the gorgeous travel brochures were smack on the money, this is an island of amazing, opulent 4 and 5 star resorts. 

In a nutshell, that is sadly where the awesomeness finished for Denarau.  While we were impressed by the gorgeous resorts and their astonishing swimming pools, the beaches were grey and murky... where was that in the brochures (insert sad face)?  

We had 7 days in Denarau.  We kayaked, kayaked again, swam in the astonishment of every resorts swimming pool, l tried to squeeze in some cocktails and a few more cocktails by the pool, while my lovely young teens decided they were a little bored.  It was here that l learned young teens don’t want to lie by the pool all day reading books, who knew (insert another sad face).

Denarau’s most popular attraction is The Port Denarau Marina.  Here you’ll find shops and restaurants including Hard Rock Cafe, so off we went to do some hard rocking!  This was the pace our action packed teenagers were after!  We also booked an all day sailing cruise around the spectacular tropical offshore islands, nothing short of amazing (oh l won’t mention my sons sea sickness, aaarghhhh, note to self – take sea sickness medication as a green teen is no fun!)

Denarau Island – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
In my opinion Denarau was the perfect place for a very short stay with teenagers, perhaps as either an arrival or departure point, as it is so close to the airport.  The resorts are amazing, although very Westernised with no real Fijian vibe or culture.  The beaches are sadly a little ugly, especially in comparison to the stunning picturesque white sandy beaches of the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands.  The resorts have tried dumping white sand on top of the grey, but it doesn’t really cut it.  On a brighter note every single Fijian person we came across seemed uber nice and gorgeously friendly.

Let’s Talk About The Weather.
Nothing to say here, except perfect!  Full Stop.

To Return or Not To Return?
In a word, No.  Denarau, while the resorts were divine, l could get the same resort divineness just up the road in many coastal Queensland towns, we didn’t need to travel 4 hours on a plane to find it.  Like l said, perfect for a one or two night arrival or departure point, but that’s about it, oh unless you play a lot of golf, as the island is golf mad.

To Be Continued......... on to Mamanuca Islands, where things really get wild.

Have you been to Denarau Island, or do you know anyone that has?  What were your thoughts?

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