Rebecca Sparrow has the perfect holiday for you – and your toddler. Fiji – where the locals love children and you’ll love them for it.
Where does a strung-out, sleep deprived, on-the-verge-of-a-nervous-breakdown mother of a toddler go for a holiday? Rebecca Sparrow, her husband and toddler discover the benefits of going troppo.
There are some holidays that aren’t really holidays. You know the sort. New York. London. Sydney. Rome. Fabulous destinations? Sure. But relaxing? Not so much. I mean there’s just so much to frickin’ do round the clock. So you feel compelled to make the most of every minute – jam-packing your days with galleries, museums, plays, concerts, bars, clubs and the occasional Colosseum. You arrive home invigorated and inspired but also bloody exhausted.
Then there’s the other type of holiday. Holidays that are like one big long mental health day. Well a big, long mental health day with cocktails and sunbaking. These are the holidays that you need to take. To get your mojo back. To de-stress. To just catch up on some sleep (remember sleep?)
But what to do when you require a unwind vacation but have a small toddler permanently attached to your hip?
I have one word for you: Fiji.
Twenty-four hours ago I was sitting by a pool, staring at the ocean, sipping on the type of drink that comes with a straw, an umbrella and a large wedge of watermelon. Fiji soothed my soul better than any shrink. Here’s your guide to the ultimate holiday for frazzled parents. (And their kids.)
This tiny South Pacific nation, located between Hawaii and New Zealand, is the perfect destination for a tropical getaway for families. The weather is warm all year round (the average temp is 25 degree Celsius) – although May to October offers the best weather without the wet season storms.
A cluster of more than 300 islands, Fiji offers postcard white sandy beaches, tropical rainforests, scuba-worthy reefs and plenty of sun. After all, this is where Blue Lagoon and Castaway were filmed. So take a cruise, snorkel, dive, go canoeing, white-water rafting, hiking, fishing, explore local villages or just sunbake by the pool – it’s up to you.
Fijians Love Children
Fiji’s biggest drawcard is its people. Fijians are warm, approachable people whose culture teaches them to treasure children and the elderly. The majority of resorts offer free Kids Clubs’ (usually for kids over the age of three) and incredibly cheap babysitting/nanny services for younger kids. Best of all, the children seem to immediately respond to the genuine warmth of the Fijian people. Our 18 month old toddler has never been keen on day-care in Australia so to say I was a little apprehensive dropping her off to a Nanny at our resort’s Kids Club is an understatement. But within minutes my fears were allayed. The Fijian nannies swooped down and covered Ava with kisses and immediately started singing to her. Ava’s smile was so wide she could’ve fit an entire watermelon in her mouth. So every morning we dropped her off to Maki (her personal nanny) at the Kids Club and my husband and I enjoyed three blissful toddler-free hours by the pool, sunbaking, reading books and ordering drinks at the swim-up bar. When it came time to collect Ava, she made it perfectly clear she’d rather stay with Maki! Somehow we wrangled her away and took her to lunch. To know that my daughter was having the time of her life (while Mummy was getting her sanity back by the pool) was the biggest weight off my mind. Of course, the Nanny service was available at any time during the day or night we frequently saw Nannies having dinner with their young charges in the restaurants while the parents were having a night to themselves. The Kids Clubs (which are generally free) often run from early morning til late at night offering everything from Fijian storytelling and singing to canoeing, fish-feeding, swimming, soccer, games and more.