The Independent Parent: We're after a family villa in Fiji close to local life. Any ideas?


Q. Can you recommend a place to stay in Fiji for one week with four children?

Q. Can you recommend a place to stay in Fiji for one week with four children? We are planning a short holiday there on our way home from four weeks' touring in New Zealand. We would like to get a feel for the islands and would prefer a villa or an apartment on the beach so that we can eat and shop like locals.
J Wright, via email

A. The South Pacific archipelago of Fiji is made up of over 320 islands, covering an area twice the size of France. Even if you just stick to the main island, Vitu Levu, it is a great place for a stop-over. With its combination of beautiful white sand, beaches fringed by azure water, coral reefs teeming with tropical fish, dense rainforests and towering mountains, Fiji is a good approximation to paradise. It is culturally diverse, with Fijian, Indian, Chinese, Polynesian and European communities. And there is plenty for families to do.

First though, a word about the climate. January is in the middle of Fiji's rain and hurricane season, which lasts from November to April. An average of five tropical storms hit the archipelago every season. If you manage to avoid these, you can still expect plenty of downpours. The short but intense showers are usually followed by brilliant sunshine. Temperatures will be in the upper 20s, as they are for most of the year.

Accommodation should be your first consideration. The main island is scattered with Americanised, all-inclusive luxury resorts. However, many of these do not cater for children and they can be very expensive. At the other end of the scale are backpacker-style hostels, which can be ideal for families on a budget, but often lack the little luxuries and some of the facilities you may be after. There are also smaller resorts and private apartments that can offer both value for money and a more interesting experience.

If staying in a traditional Fijian bure (a thatched cottage) appeals, consider the Seashell Cove Resort (00 679 670 6100; www.seashellresort.com). It is on the island of Vitu Levu, under an hour's drive from the main international airport at Nadi. A dozen or so bures are set in a tranquil location, which includes a tennis court and swimming pool, right next to the beach. The Seashell Cove specialises in watersports and if you would like to do some castaway-style exploration, the stunning Mamanuca Islands are a short boat ride away. The nightly rate is 220 Fiji dollars (£67) per night for a family bure with three bedrooms, kitchen and living room; the price also includes breakfast.

Fiji's second large island, Vanua Levu, is the obvious destination for a spot of island-hopping. You can fly there from Nadi airport with Sun Air (00 679 672 3555; www.fiji.to) or Air Fiji (00 679 672 2521/672 3189; www.airfiji.net). One-way fares start from around £44 per person and £63 per person respectively; children aged between two and 12 pay 75 per cent. The Daku Resort (00 679 885 0046; www.dakuresort.com), is in the middle of a coconut plantation close to the traditional town of Savusavu on the island of Vanua Levu.

You can get a taste for Fijian life here, with visits to both the open-air market and the hot springs where the local women can often be found doing their cooking. The resort still has availability for The Pool House, which has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, lounge, and verandah. It is the cheapest option at 175 Fiji dollars per night (£53) for the property.

If, however, you want to venture further away from the main islands, then the secluded setting of Matei Pointe (00 679 1 530 343 4973; www.taveuniresort.com) on Taveuni Island might be ideal - although you will pay more for the privilege. The main house has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, good views and private beaches. A week's rental of the property will cost US$1,600 (£950) based on six sharing.

Taveuni Island can be reached by a 90-minute scenic flight from Nadi Airport, again with Sun Air or Air Fiji. One-way fares start from around £56 per person and £78 per person respectively.

Bear in mind that demand for more individual properties like this can be strong, especially around Christmas and New Year.

You could reduce costs, and be rather more intrepid, if you travel on one of the ferry services between the islands. Pacific Navigator (00 679 725 504; www.pacificnavigator.com) runs ferries from the islands' capital, Suva, which is on Vitu Levu, diametrically opposite Nadi. The ferry to Savusavu costs a very reasonable 36 Fiji dollars (£11) for adults and 16 Fiji dollars (£5) for children under 12 each way, and takes 14 hours. The trip to Taveuni costs a little more and takes 23 hours. The boats offer the chance to rub shoulders with the locals, and are not too spartan - they have restaurants and air-conditioning.

For more information, contact the Fiji Visitors' Bureau (00 679 6722 433; www.bulafiji.com).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    ICE ICT: Lead Business Consultant

    £39,000: ICE ICT: Specific and detailed knowledge and experience of travel sys...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Travel Consultant

    £25000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Guru Careers: Plumber / Maintenance Operator

    £25K + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Plumber / Mainten...

    Day In a Page

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map
    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
    Paris Fashion Week

    Paris Fashion Week

    Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
    A year of the caliphate:

    Isis, a year of the caliphate

    Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
    Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

    Marks and Spencer

    Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
    'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

    'We haven't invaded France'

    Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
    Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

    Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

    The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
    7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

    Remembering 7/7 ten years on

    Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
    Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

    They’re here to help

    We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
    Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

    Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

    'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
    What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

    What exactly does 'one' mean?

    Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue