Fiji is one of the most family-friendly destinations I can think of. It's everyone's idea of a fun, warm, relaxing or even thrilling holiday. Fiji caters to all of this, with it's tropical climate, small islands, and adventure and water sports. Families tend to flock to the large resorts, particularly those on the Coral Coast, or a short ferry ride away on the Mamanuca Islands, and why wouldn't they with their great kids clubs, family rooms, and all-inclusive meal packages. However, for our family vacation to Fiji, we decided to go off the beaten track a little, (okay with a 2.5hr ride from Nadi Airport and some 4WD off-roading, I should say a lot!). We decided that what we really wanted was some quality family time, to hang out together, and really just chill. We found the perfect spot to do this at Wananavu Beach Resort, at the northern tip of the main island Viti Levu.
After a couple of hours driving through numerous Fijian Villages, where we could catch a glimpse of everyday Fijian life, we turned off the main road, on to a dirt track for a few of kilometers, and arrived at our resort. Wananavu calls itself the real Fiji, therefore, we were not expecting 5 star flashy resort rooms and amenities, and admitedly when we first arrived, I felt a little like we were at school camp, staying in cabins. The resort was very quiet, with only a handful of other guests, and one other family. It almost seemed too deserted, however it only took an hour or so to really appreciate it, unwind and adjust to "Fiji-time". Our bure - Fijian style accommodation was large enough for all four of us with a Queen bed, a single bed, and port-a-cot tucked around the corner slightly. There was no TV, but there was air conditioning, which was a life saver for our family siestas!
The resort pool, was great, with a small wading area for kids, and a waterfall to play under, most of the time we were the only ones in the pool! No fighting for space, and getting splashed by hoards of other children! There was a small marina area where we could borrow snorkeling gear, lifejackets and canoes, and head off to explore the ocean. When the marina wasn't being used by the hotel, it was used for local families, and children heading to and from school! The beach was tidal, so in the morning when it was low tide we could raom around the sand, searching for crabs, shells and starfish, and in the afternoon we could swim and safetly paddle with the kids, as the water was shallow very far out and had only the tiniest of waves. Jono and Bodie loved to head out as far as they could go, and Lola and I enjoyed relaxing together in the hammocks!
Apart from activities held at the resort, such as crab racing and coconut tree climbing, you could ask to be taken over by speedboat to a small wee island about 10 mins away. We did this on Jono's birthday, and felt like we had a private island to ourselves for the day. A family runs a backpackers on the island, however I believe at the time they had 2 guests. We relaxed on the beach for the day, snorkeled and jumped of the jetty. When we wanted a cool beer, we would ring a bell on the bar, located just off the beach, and one of the family members would literally walk out the front door of their home, to serve us, then head back in, until we were ready for another! (If that's not the real Fiji, then I don't know what is!)
Our package included breakfast, lunch and dinner, which were all served in the one restaurant, either inside when the tropical showers hit, or out on the large deck overlooking the pool and marina. The meals were all a la carte, and of the best quality! I have never been overly impressed with the food in Fiji on previous trips, even at the larger more expensive resorts, however I would return to Wananavu solely for the food! A kids menu was available at all meals, however for lunch we would order the kids meals to go, and take turns having a child-free solo lunch and wine, appreciating the view and some parent time out, I guess! While the other stayed in the bure while the kids would nap. Bliss!
For first timers to Fijil, this may not be the place for you, as it is so remote, and almost too calm & quiet, but for those who really want to get disconnected (there was very limited internet, so we didn't even bother) and really reconnect with their families, then Wananavu is the best place for it! Fiji is also typically very expensive, Wananavu is very affordable! The staff were so friendly and loved the kids, and despite us feeling a little uncomfortable at times, when the kids couldn't sit still any longer and would run around the restaurant, or dance to the Fijian band, they sang us their lovely Fijian farewell song at dinner on our last night, and genuinely expressed their sadness at us leaving. We too, were sad to leave, and like the guests before us, will definitely return one day!