On Island Time: Family Travel Holiday to Fiji

Isobel Benesch and her family slow down in the world’s friendliest island country.

Voted the number one Pacific island in 2022, Fiji is a warm and welcoming, tropical paradise famous for its relaxing feel and hospitality. Adorned with brilliant hues of blue water, expansive underwater reefs, and a culture that embraces children with open arms, Fiji’s unhurried pace, famously known as “Fiji Time,” compels even the most restless of holidaymakers to slow down and unwind. With all-inclusive resorts, immersive cultural experiences, Fiji is the perfect getaway for families with kids of all ages looking for a true escape from the busyness and mundane of everyday life.


Our journey to Fiji began with a seamless three-hour flight aboard Fiji Airways from Auckland to Nadi. Each seat included an extensive selection of movies, TV shows, and video games, making for a peaceful experience. Surprisingly, even with the lively company of four boys, the flight proved relaxing as we all enjoyed the in-flight entertainment and savoured the delicious meals onboard.


If you’re looking for a convenient and family-friendly base, Denarau Island is an excellent choice due to its proximity to the airport (a short 20 minute drive) and the number of unique and varied activities and amenities in the area.

STAY: Sheraton Fiji Golf and Beach Resort

The Sheraton Fiji Golf and Beach Resort ranks as one of the premier accommodations on the island. Crafted with families in mind, this luxurious five-star resort offers a wealth of amenities, including three stunning pools, modern and spacious rooms with captivating ocean views, and an endless schedule of daily activities promising to keep all ages entertained. The resort’s commitment to culinary excellence is evident, with many ingredients sourced on site from their sustainable, organic farm.

Yet what truly distinguishes the Sheraton is the warmth and hospitality of its staff. The genuine happiness and enthusiasm they exude is contagious. When greeted with the phrase “Welcome home!” upon checking into the resort, there’s an undeniable sense that this is more than just a place to stay – it’s a home away from home.

Kids’ activities

It’s impossible to be bored at the Sheraton. The kids’ club, named “Side-by-Side,” is a thoughtful initiative aimed at encouraging families to partake in the daily activities together, and invites families to drop in for movies, games, and the playground. There is an endless lineup of activities that will satisfy all ages and create memories for families to cherish together.

Seaside adventures

The hotel provides a selection of watercraft, including stand-up paddles, kayaks, and jet skis for rental. The staff was so helpful and the boys and I seized the opportunity to take out the kayaks onto the ocean. It proved to be a beautiful and enjoyable experience, gliding over the ocean’s surface and adding a touch of adventure to our stay.

Cultural experience

You don’t want to miss the rich Fijian cultural experience with Farm to Fork at the Sheraton, featuring a traditional Fijian Lovo Ceremony, similar to a hangi, where the food is cooked underground with hot coals. You’ll begin with a guided tour through the resort’s organic farm followed by a traditional Kava ceremony, complemented by ongoing entertainment – traditional dancing and a spectacular fire show – that kept even my youngest, who had been up since 4am that morning, thoroughly engaged for the entire evening.


With several oceanfront restaurants offering both a la carte options and an extensive buffet with various cuisines, a shop to grab the essentials, and a grab-and-go coffee shop, even your pickiest of eaters or those with allergies will easily find a meal to love. My boys couldn’t get enough of the giant slushy drinks at the swim-up bar and the poolside fruit kabobs! Guests at the Sheraton are also allowed access to sister sites The Westin Resort & Spa and Sheraton Villas, opening up a further 14 dining options and a variety of amenities.

Natadola Beach/Coral Coast

Contrary to the notion that Fiji’s best beaches lie in the outer islands, Natadola Beach, named as one of the top 10 beaches in the world, captivates with its glistening white sand, coral-strewn shoreline, and crystal-clear turquoise waters.

STAY: Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa

Less than an hour’s drive south of Nadi International Airport, Natadola is home to the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa – a luxury, family-friendly haven set on 35 acres of tropical gardens along the unique coastline.

Designed in the style of a Fijian village, the Intercontinental boasts stunning natural surroundings, and interiors that are fit for a design magazine. With an award-winning spa, a fully equipped gym, four diverse restaurants, and even a medical centre, the resort has everything you need in one place.

Club InterContinental, offering unparalleled views of the outer reef and ocean, is a resort-within-a-resort experience with a private Club lounge, infinity pool, and complimentary breakfast buffet and high tea for families.

Family-friendly focus

There is a distinct focus on families at IHG, with spacious adjoining rooms or well-equipped suites. The family pool area provides a comfortable place for kids to be kids and there’s easy poolside service where you can order from your phone, and plenty of poolside kids activities, including hair braiding and dancing.

Planet Trekkers, the resort’s signature kids’ club, is a hub of activity, hosting engaging events every hour for all age groups. From hermit crab hunting along the shoreline in the morning to the famous “international” hermit crab racing held daily at noon, there’s no shortage of fun for the little ones.

Underwater adventures

The Reef Safari beach shack is where guests can acquaint themselves with the vibrant marine life at the resort’s doorstep through activities such as surfing, snorkelling, free scuba lessons, and kayaking. The resort’s dedicated marine biologist conducts interactive presentations twice weekly, sharing insights into the ongoing coral restoration efforts, including a coral replanting activity guests can partake in.

During our stay, we joined the snorkelling tour that proved to be an unforgettable experience. We were taken offshore and were immediately surrounded by huge schools of tropical fish. Our guide pointed out clams and even a colour-changing coral, and took us on a search for Nemo. This was definitely one of the most cherished memories of our trip.

Cultural experience

Outside the resort boundaries, there are several memorable, authentic cultural experiences with the locals of the area. We were honoured to be invited to tour Sanasana Village by one of the villagers and spent an afternoon getting insights into traditional Fijian village life. The boys immediately made friends with some of the children in the village and ran off to play, not wanting to leave.

Top Travel Tips

  1. Take advantage of the Fiji Airways resort check-in at InterContinental Fiji and Sheraton, a game-changer that streamlines the check-in process and frees you from baggage hassles.
  2. Access the Fiji Airways Lounge on your return trip, which provides a peaceful haven away from the chaotic departure lounge, ideal for regrouping and enjoying a buffet breakfast before your flight.
  3. Don’t forget to pack an extra bag of school supplies, books, and toys for a donation to the local Fijian villages wherever you’re staying. It’s a customary practice to offer a gift before entering.
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