A different side of Fiji: Holidaying away from resorts.

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Our travel-hearts are definitely in the Pacific. Fiji was the first stop for us setting out on our adventure to travel full-time. And we didn’t hesitate choosing to travel to Fiji with the kids.

We choose it purposefully as a place to stop and take a breather after the chaos that comes with packing up an entire life for four people and packing it into two backpacks! We wanted a different side to Fiji. A non-resort side. And we reckon we found exactly that, in the form of the best AirBnB in Fiji!

WHAT WE LOVED MOST ABOUT FIJI…

Sigatoka Markets

It doesn’t seem to matter where we are in the world. If there is a market, we tend to make it our first outing. Both, as a way of stocking up and getting a feel for a new place.

Walking around Sigatoka Markets Fiji with kids.

The markets in Sigatoka are a colourful and buzzing atmosphere. There are rows and rows of seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables. Outside the main section there is whole row of carts selling Fijian Indian sweets and different kinds of homemade island food.

Our daily cream bun and bread visit to the central bakery in Sigatoka.

Getting the local bus into town to buy fresh bread for lunch, and vegetables for dinner at the markets became part of our daily routine. The boys soon got to know some of the stall holders.

Oscar eyeing up the different Fijian Indian sweets.
Meeting locals in Fiji with the kids.
Meeting some local ladies at the marketplace.
The Sigatoka Markets – take your own bag and go crazy!

Playing rugby on the beach

We spent hours every evening watching our two playing tag, rugby (with a coconut), and hunting for starfish with the local neighbourhood kids.

Playing rugby on the beach in Fiji with kids.

I could have sat for hours more, just watching. Something so simple reaffirmed what our trip was all about.

Rugby on the beach every evening.

Biasevu Waterfall

We hired a car for the day and drove east from Sigatoka towards the village of Biausevu. From the carpark area in the village we paid an admission fee to hike to Biasevu waterfall. The fee includes a guide for the walk each way to the waterfall, and a welcome kava ceremony. If you are in Fiji with kids then I recommend this as a good cultural experience. (And a good energy-burning activity!).

Trying kava in Fiji with the kids.

It was a great way to visit the waterfall, as our guide Mary was extremely knowledgable about the surrounding bush and villages, and very keen to share it with us.

Carrying Oscar across the river on the way to Biasevu Waterfall. Hiking in Fiji with kids.

The hike is roughly 40 minutes each way and crosses through nine river crossings (water shoes or sandals are definitely a good idea for this!).

Fishing

Harry asked our host, Sunny, if he can live in Fiji forever.

Our boys loved the chance for fishing in Fiji. They went most mornings with Sunny to the mouth of the Sigatoka River. It was the season for sardines which suited fishing with kids.

Fishing in Fiji with kids.

It was a great activity and most outings were successful, and certainly enjoyed by the boys!

Harry’s haul of sardines ready to be washed.

Coconuts

Dare I confess we may quite possibly be part of the reason there is now a shortage of niu (drinking) coconuts at the Sigatoka Markets?! [We LOVE them!].

Drinking coconuts at the markets in Sigatoka. Fiji with kids.
Eating the flesh of a niu coconut with Sam, at the markets.

Oscar has found himself a new superhero in fourteen year old Felix. He can crack open a drinking coconut like it’s a peanut!

Check out the size of the cane knife!

30 Minute beach cleanup

We headed to the beach one afternoon, joined again by the local kids. But this time we had set out intending to trial a 30 minute beach clean up. It was our first stop since leaving NZ, but we wanted to give it a whirl. 

The kids all joined in straight away and between us all we cleaned a huge section! It was only a small start in the grander scheme of things, but hopefully it is a start towards paying it forward. Plus, it serves as just one more reminder for us to continue learning to lighten our footprint as we travel…
[Perhaps one the worst photos I have ever taken(!); but of a very cool memory captured…]!

Getting around

We were picked up from the airport in Nadi by our AirBnB host, and driven south to the Coral Coast (1.5 hours). We based ourselves at the AirBnB on the outskirts of Sigatoka. Most days we walked to the end of the road to get the local bus into town. It’s easy to get the bus from anywhere nearby Sigatoka. Although we didn’t know it at the time, this was a great practice run for getting local buses all around the Philippines and Sri Lanka!

To visit Biausevu Waterfall we hired a car (via our host). They even drove us back to the airport in Nadi on our last day.

Where we stayed

Coral Coast: AirBnB Sunny and Sherin’s Residence

We knew Fiji has a lot of resort options and beautiful hotels. But as well as making the most of the tropical weather for swimming and beaches, we wanted to experience more of the culture. An AirBnB in Fiji with kids turned out to be the perfect choice!

Sunny and Sherin are amazing hosts, and definitely made our stay in Fiji one of the most memorable of our year! Sunny is well known in Sigatoka. A true fisherman, with a passion and energy for sharing all his knowledge about fishing and about life in Fiji. Sherin is an amazing cook, and we enjoyed sharing a meal with them plus breakfast most days!

Freshly caught fish and potato curry made by Sherin (with roti’s that I helped to make!).

Location-wise, the house is on the outskirts of a small village five minutes from Sigatoka, and 200m from the beach. We loved the adventure of making our way into town each day by bus, and so enjoyed meeting the local families in the neighbourhood… we can’t wait to go back!

[*Update – its now 2020 and we have been back to stay with them again!].

If we went again we would…

We have already booked tickets back! Fiji with kids is a great choice for a holiday or as part of longterm travel. We loved the opportunity for being part of the neighbourhood down on the Coral Coast; even if it was only for a short while…

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