Sorry it took me a while to write this. We arrived back home last Sunday but I ended up getting caught up in the busyness of life this past week. My kiddos went back to school after their two week holiday break and we are getting back in to our usual rhythm.
The plane ride:
Our home to Fiji; We left our home very early in the morning (still dark) and made our way to the airport. The airport wasn’t too busy so we managed to get through all the check points pretty quickly. To make things a bit more interesting my husband and I made up a checklist for my kids to tick off each time we had got through one area of the airport such as 1. Collect our tickets. 2. Check in our luggage. 3. Scan our carry on bags etc. Both of my children found this all really exciting and it helped ease any confusion. Neither of my children have travelled that much and they couldn’t remember the process from last time. This idea seemed to make travel all the more exciting!
The plane ride itself wasn’t too long. I had a small bag of activities including colouring books and playing cards in my backpack just in case.
Fiji to home; Lucky for us we somehow managed to get a free-upgrade to business class on the way home which was amazing and such a novelty for my kiddos having never flown business class before. If you can image, they had their own seats with lots of leg room, they had a screen to watch shows/movies or play games on and they had a choice of food that didn’t come with the plastic packaging. As we weren’t able to let them know in advance that my children and I are plant-based, food wise we managed to make up something with several of the side options. They also brought out some extra items such as mixed nuts and popcorn for my kiddos to eat. Lucky them.
Our Stay: Once we arrived at the Fiji airport and had collected our bags, there was a bit of a wait for our driver to arrive to then take us on an approx 1.5 hour drive to what they call a smallish Villa at the Coral Coast. Both of my children slept most of the car ride. I will admit, I was slightly concerned when we arrived at our destination as they were clearly renovating the front part of the place including the kitchen area (which we didn’t know prior too). However, once getting passed reception- this was our beautiful view; Just look at the garden and all those lovely tropical plants!
We chose this place for a few reasons; It’s in a quieter area, the rooms are self-contained with a kitchenette so we could do our own cooking. There were 20 villas in total and most of the time they were not booked out. At the time we visited Fiji, it’s considered their Winter time- so again, quieter. Still warm enough to swim though. An advantage of staying in a quieter place is that we got to know most of the staff and it’s easy for families to get to know each other and for the children to play together. It was a lovely peaceful stay and such a lovely area. In walking distance is the beach. We often visited during high tide and low tide as both times offered such different, amazing, sensory experiences for our kids. The other thing about heading out to the coral coast, was that we actually got to see a glimpse of the local villages and how some of the people live and go about their daily lives.
The food: In close proximity was a small supermarket a bit like an IGA here in Australia. There was also two restaurants in walking distance. The kitchen at our Villa stay was being renovated at the time but they did offer a continental style breakfast (hot drinks such as tea or coffee, cereal, toast, fresh fruit) by the breakfast bar, which was included in our stay.
We brought some of our own food with us in our suitcase but I really should have packed a lot more and really given more thought as to what I might use/need. It’s very expensive to eat out (also the plant-based/vegan choices were limited) and to purchase food at the supermarket was very costly. We ate out twice during our stay here during lunch time and cooked the rest of the time ourselves. To get fresh, whole foods was also tricky unless you were able to pick some items up by someone selling them on the road side. We did manage to get fresh potatoes, onion, oranges, apples and bananas.
We brought oats and pasta with us from home, and purchased baking items to make things such as home made pizza, a few items in cans (had trouble finding a can opener) and also some frozen veg (corn and peas) and nut butter spread. Overall I think we did really well and it can really just depend on where you stay as to the availability of some items. We know that we are so privileged back at home for choice and we are so very grateful for that. If we end up travelling again at the end of the year possibly through Asia, I will look at bringing one of those small travel blenders and probably a can opener. I don’t travel much, so really am just figuring out what are the most practical items to take with us whilst we travel.
The last two days of our Fiji trip we ventured to Denarau Island which is closer to the airport. I wasn’t keen on trying to do the car ride back from the coral coast plus the plane ride on the last day (both of my children get motion sickness). This way we got to explore a different area towards the end of our trip. For food there was a buffet breakfast included with plenty of plant-based options and we ate out for lunch and dinner.
The last time we travelled to Fiji, we ate mostly ‘buffet style’ food which is probably the easiest way of getting a variety of plant-based food. I do really like the idea of cooking for ourselves though.
Activities: During our stay we didn’t schedule in a whole lot as there was plenty to see and do within walking distance. We just took one day at a time. We did a bit of snorkelling, loads of swimming and daily nature walks during the day and had quality family time at night. My children’s favourite thing to do each night was to play several card games and then to read stories before bed. I think taking reading books and playing cards worked out to be really handy. We did however take maybe a few too many books overall.
My children didn’t need any toys as there was so many natural areas to play and explore and just being outside most of the day in the lovely warm sun was just magic. There was also plenty of children around to play with. There was a few activities on at night over one weekend where some younger children performed with fire sticks and did some hula dancing which both of my children thought was so amazing. There was also a Kava drinking ceremony and a torch lighting ceremony on the one night. We did on one of the days venture to a local animal sanctuary which my children enjoyed. Miss 7 wants to save the animals, big and small!
What we packed: I opted to hand wash some of our clothing items during our stay so the small amount of items we packed was perfect. I am glad we managed to travel fairly lightly. I think my children taking their backpacks with their hats, sunglasses and snack boxes was hugely helpful. Wherever we went, they took these items with them. Miss 7 asked if she can take her own suitcase to look after next time, so if we do this, I am sure Mr 5 will want to do the same and therefore we will end up with a lot more items to look after.
Overall we had a wonderful holiday and am looking forward to more family travel adventures in the future!
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