finally bit the bullet, and took my kids overseas for the first time by myself. I quite often take them away, just the three of us on adventures, and I had been wanting to try overseas. I wanted to take them somewhere I had never been before. I also wanted somewhere considered family-friendly with plenty of experiences available that would excite my nature-loving kids. I have a bit of a fear of flying, so when the opportunity to cruise from New Zealand to Fiji and back came up earlier this year, I booked us in.
Fun and relaxation
The cruise took two full days at sea to get from Auckland to our first Fijian stop. We then had three days hopping around Fiji, before spending another two full days at sea to get home again. What I really loved about this holiday was how straight forward things were. Yes we needed passports and travel insurance and a bit of spending money. But we arrived in Auckland, we unpacked into our room and our room took us to another country, and back again.
The sea days were full of activity. My favourite things were watching my kids have fun on the extreme sports equipment. You have to pay to use these, but for the experience we thought it was well worth it. My youngest did the bungy trampoline and my eldest found the excitement of the flying fox across the ship too good to pass up. The other great thing was how easy it was to have quality time with each child separately. I took my eldest to a few shows, and my youngest and I had a sneaky ice cream date or two.
When we arrived in Suva, it was so hot and muggy that stepping off the ship instantly fogged my glasses and camera up. We were ushered over for a photo opportunity with some locals. I think a combination of the heat, the smells of the local market and the strangeness quite overwhelmed the kids. who were glad to get onboard our tour bus and find it was fully air-conditioned. Our tour guide, Kuli (or Mr Cool as he liked to be called) and Captain Tui took us around Suva and all the historical sites. I found the tour really educational, and my eldest got a lot out of it. My youngest was asleep almost the whole way around!
My favourite stop was Thurston Gardens because it was nice to get out and walk and see different trees and plants. The Fiji Museum was good as well, though we mainly stuck to the maritime history and didn’t venture further into the museum due to the heat. My youngest absolutely loved our last stop which involved shopping. She bought herself a teddy bear with “I’m on Fiji Time” written on it. I had to giggle – she is always on “Fiji Time”.
Tivua Island via Port Denarau
Our trip to Tivua Island was via Captain Cook Cruises. The tour was a little pricier than some other shore tours offered, but it seemed to have the best reviews and ticked all the boxes for me. I was feeling really anxious all day for some reason, but there were so many highlights.
As we travelled to Tivua Island, the crew sang and the kids danced along. They had a Kava ceremony on board and even though I had no intention of having any, my hand shot up when they asked for volunteers. It tasted peppery and a bit like cold herbal tea.
Tivua island is actually a white coral cay, and it’s absolutely beautiful. We went on a glass bottom boat, and the kids were thrilled to see clown fish and blue devils. My eldest went snorkeling and she actually swam with baby sharks and clown fish. When she came back she was absolutely buzzing about the experience. Lunch was provided and the staff were so friendly. On the way back to the wharf, my kids fell asleep.
I really thought after Tivua Island that nothing would top it. But then we arrived at Dravuni Island. This little island is reliant on cruise ships and tourists for their income, so as we came ashore there were all sorts of little stalls. We came prepared because I had read they had a little Primary School and that they accepted donations. So, the kids had selected some picture books for the school’s library and I got some school supplies together as well. It was school holidays in Fiji, so we didn’t manage to see a class being run. However, the head teacher welcomed us so kindly and gave us a tour. The kids were blown away by how different but similar the classrooms were.
We tried green coconuts being cut open by families along the beach. My youngest was not a fan of the coconut, but my eldest had two. A lady offered to braid my hair. We jumped into the water and had just the most amazing swim. The water was over my head, but I could still see my feet in the clear ocean water. Later my youngest made friends with a little Fijian girl and we had a boat ride with her family around the island. It cost us $10 per person, and it was thrilling and fun. The best moment was watching these two kids, who didn’t speak each others language at all, giggling together. So precious. I honestly feel a little sad even now, remembering lining up for the tender boats to leave Dravuni. Because we weren’t just leaving this amazing place, but Fiji too.
We all agree that the trip was amazing, and we definitely want to get back soon for more adventures. For ocean and coral exploring, it ignited my eldest’s imagination. For my youngest, the friendly people, the fun, and of course “Fiji Time” made this trip a winner.
This article was written by Kym Moore. Kym is a working mum of two, and occasional blogger. Fancies herself a writer, when she isn’t editing her kids’ vlogs or running their social media at Baby Likes Cake. Follow them on Facebook and YouTube.
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