Back in 2003, while on parental leave (a year off work with 80 % pay – a great Scandinavian employee right), the girls and I lived in New Zealand for 6 months. While in the neighbourhood, we did some South Pacific island hopping – to Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Norfolk Island.
While Samoa and Tonga are Polynesian, Fiji is in Melanesia. Of the 322 islands that comprise this nation, we only visited two: the main island of Viti Levu and tiny Malololailai, mostly because the name is so beautiful. Just say it: Malololailai. With thin L’s.
Would I recommend family travel Fiji? Well, I didn’t really take to the islands. Might have had something to do with the Pacific version of cockroaches. A good thing about most Pacific islands is the absence of dangerous creepy crawleys. However, these roaches, while harmless, were about the size of a small hand and they ran freely around in our otherwise pretty cool little cottage at Club Fiji.
I’m not normally squeamish with insects, but it was nerve-racking (and sleep-depriving) to watch these critters scamper across the floor – or worse, across the face of my then 1-year-old, sleeping in her cot.
As if that wasn’t enough, at night the frogs came out. Hundreds of them. I rather enjoyed the sound of the frogs in the otherwise quiet Pacific night. But outdoors, in the dark, it was hard to avoid stepping on one. Don’t know if we actually stomped some of them to death – I hope not, but again, a bit distressing. All in all, Club Fiji might not be the ideal choice for families with very young children. Loved the family-size hammock, though.
In Suva, Fiji’s capital and a lively town, we saw the very interesting Fiji Museum. The kids were most fascinated with cannibal forks and I now have one in my cutlery drawer. Macabre, I know.
Fiji is a favourite Pacific destination for many, many. Not mine, I’m afraid. Our one-day-excursion to Suva was an organised tour, meaning we stopped by several hotels along the way. Most of them were undoubtedly beautiful, but all were relatively secluded, a good ways from anything resembling a town or even village.
Would I consider returning to Fiji in the future? I could be persuaded. I hear the Yasawa islands are absolutely stunning. And now that my baby is no longer a baby, but a rambunctious 8-year-old, those roaches would be much less intimidating.
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