Yes, Fiji is made up of 333 islands (most uninhabited). But, you only need one of them to have an amazing island holiday. Just ask the Petrinis.
In October of this year, the Petrini family - David, Rachelle, Luca (4 1/2 yrs) and Jade (2yrs) - packed their Italian leather suitcases (ok, they were not leather, nor Italian) and headed to the shores of Fiji. Your friends at Jett Around the World caught up with Rachelle Petrini, undisputed head of the family, to talk all things Fiji, resort pools, flight tips and more.
Where was your holiday? Why did you decide to go there?
We went to Fiji and stayed at the Radisson Blu resort. We wanted to go on a family holiday but couldn’t stand the idea of travelling far but wanted a resort feel to our holiday with the added bonus of babysitters, the beach, hot weather and a great pool.
Do you have any ‘special’ items that you pack when you travel that make your life easier? Tell us your secret travel ingredients!
Because I didn't know what to expect re food/snacks in Fiji, I took lots of the kids' favourite snacks with us. I also brought extra nappies and the kids medicine ‘just in case’. Also we bought some cheap toys that we were happy to leave behind (we actually gave all the toys we brought to the nannies to take home for their kids).
Tell me about your flight? What were the challenges? Did you have any tricks up your sleeve to conquer these?
Our kids don’t play on an ipad/tablet at home. These items are ‘special’ items they only get to play with on flights. I bought both the kids a cheap Lenovo tablet (less than $100) and I downloaded all of their favourite shows, games and movies so when they got on the plane they were so excited to watch and play on their tablet.
I also pack the kids heaps of food to snack on throughout the flight.
Where did you stay? Why did you choose it? Tell me about why it’s good for the family – both your kids and yourselves.
We stayed at the Radisson Blu resort which is close to the airport. We booked a one bedroom suite which meant we adults had our own bedroom and space. An essential part of any holiday! The resort is very child friendly with a fantastic waterslide, games room and a kids club. Our kids didn’t go to the kids club but they did participate in the endless child-focused activities which took place throughout the day like water polo, watermelon smashing, coconut bowling and face painting.
Fiji was also an appealing holiday destination as the people are so friendly and they love kids. We absolutely loved staying at this resort as the kids were thoroughly entertained and as adults we also got to enjoy ourselves with water skiing, a surfing trip, snorkelling, massages, and some child-free time.
Did you do any sightseeing? What attractions did you visit?
We didn’t do much sightseeing but we did take our eldest to the nearby water park which he loved. We also went (child free) on a jet skiing safari where we jet skied 40 minutes to another island and went snorkelling. Dave, my husband, went with an instructor to surf Cloud Break which is a famous surfing break.
Let’s talk food. Where did you eat? What did the kids love? Can you drink the water at your destination?
We chose not to drink the water despite being told that it was safe. The hotel is constantly refilling your fridge with free water bottles which is great.
We ate at the resort restaurants which were nice, also at Flying Fish at the Sheraton, the Greek restaurant at the port and Diakoku which is a Japanese restaurant 15 minutes drive from the hotel. Diakoku is a must as the food was amazing.
Was there a significant time difference? If so, how did you deal with it with regard to your kids?
There was only 1 hour time difference so we kept the kids on Sydney time to make it easier for when we got home.
Did you explore the cultural differences of the local people? If so, how?
Unfortunately we didn’t do any village tours despite our intentions to do so. We did speak with many of the local people who worked at the hotel about their family, lifestyle, culture and traditions. On our next visit to Fiji it’s on the top of our list to visit the local villages and communities.
Medication, toiletries....what did you need to take with you for this specific holiday? What are your “must-haves”?
We packed all of the necessities for the kids: Panadol, nurofen, asthma medication, nasal spray, eye drops, antibacterial ointment. Mosquito spray, a strong one, is also a must.
Are there any games/toys/activities you swear by that make travelling easier?
We always have an ipad or tablet for the kids, but also for us to surf the web or check email. We also travelled with Lego, colouring pencils and paper, and a book or two of stickers that end up on hands, feet...anywhere and everywhere!
Where would you and your family like to go next? And why?
That's easy! Disneyland in LA! We would like to take the kids to the happiest place on earth!