If you’re a new parent and you don’t go to this island paradise. . . well that’s just un-Australian. Find out why you should head to Fiji with a baby.
Watching the television, up pops that woman in her red bikini. She’s strolling by the ocean. She’s in paradise. Dammit, I wanna be in paradise. Just for a few nights. I want swaying palm trees. Give me pina coladas and deck chairs by the ocean. Most of all, I need a break from the endless circle of cooking, cleaning and laundry that comes with being parent to a five month old baby.
Hello travel agent. Hello Outrigger Fiji.
Just three and a half hours from Sydney (and a 1.5 hour – airconditioned – bus ride from the airport), this family friendly resort is on the Coral Coast of Fiji’s largest island Viti Levu. Awash with middle-class Australians, the Outrigger is ideal if you are looking for a break that is firmly on the beaten track. And let’s face it, when you have an infant in tow that’s what you need. The days of grimy backpacker hostels are over. Baby needs a place to nap, and instead of hiking up a mountain before hitting the dance floor till dawn, Mum and Dad just want to chillax (which we’re too old now to say with any credibility).
Here’s what you need to know about travelling to Fiji’s Outrigger Resort with a baby.
This is not your authentic cultural travel experience
It’s neat, it’s organised, it’s right on the beach. All the comforts of the western world, with just enough local touches. The staff at the Outrigger are genuinely friendly, making it easier to stomach the awkwardness that comes with being JAFA*. Outside the Outrigger compound, many residences are made of little more than corrugated iron and concrete. Cows, goats and horses graze casually by the side of the road. Once you arrive at the resort, all traces of real life disappear. This place is a true oasis, with everything you need at your fingertips. To feel like you’re really away from home, taste the kava, watch the dancing and check out the fire twirlers. Ignore the myriad ‘my kid’s name’ tattoos and avoid the cringe-worthy white person water aerobics. If you’re looking to lift the curtain on how people really live in this part of the South Pacific, at the very least you can take a ride to nearby Sigatoka. Here, nobody is obliged to look you in the eye, smile and say “Bula!” every time they see you (but a lot of them do it anyway).
Yeah, and it’s hot too
Grab your tank top and your towel, but be warned. All that tropical fruit and tepid ocean water means one thing, even when there is cloud cover. . . After an hour outside, you’ll end up redder than an embarrassed tomato. Fortunately, the pool area offers shade and you can swim undercover in some parts to keep baby out of the sun.
Fiji with a baby – your baby is the star
Fijians worship at the altar of tubby tummies and dribble soaked chins. For a Sydney-sider who is fed a steady diet of needlessly paranoid germ alerts, it can take a couple of days to adjust to anyone and everyone touching your baby.
Once you have learned to go with the flow, it’s time to hit up the nanny service. The Mei Mei nannies at the Outrigger are free at breakfast and cost pennies after that. Your child gets looked after and you even get a little report on what they have been up to while you were taking advantage of the adults-only pool or the day spa. Use the nannies! This is your chance to be the red bikini girl. (If you’re me you can be the rashie wearing, slightly chubby thighed girl).
The food. OMG THE FOOD
Speaking of chubby thighs… A Fiji holiday is the place for your inner glutton to shine. We’re talking two buffets a day and a bunch of different lunch options. Dine on tender morsels of suckling pig. Swoon over curried prawn and papaya salad. Salivate your way through the catch of the day and stuff yourself on papaya, watermelon, pineapple and mango. Throw your calorie counter in the ocean (don’t), and go back for a fourth serving of the tiramisu on Italian night. And yes, when it comes to cocktails – work your way through the list and have a different one each night. After so many noms, a stroll by the glass-like ocean will alleviate the guilt of daily over-indulgence.
Finally, you can relax
This is what it’s like to be stress-free. Your main concern at Outrigger is where to go for lunch. Instead of asking yourself what needs to be done, you simply need to decide what kind of nothing you want to do. The Outrigger is the perfect destination for people travelling to Fiji with a baby. Next time, you’ll visit when the children are older. You’ll alternate between dumping them in the kids club and venturing beyond the resort walls to give them a taste of what adventure is really like. But for now, you get to look at your partner without wishing they had noticed the laundry needs folding. Together, you can enjoy your little one, while finding the time to reconnect and exhale.
Fiji with a baby – What to pack
Packing for a baby in Fiji… you’ve got this! But here are some things you may not have thought of for a trip to the Outrigger, particularly for a bub who is not on solids.
- A night light for those 2am feeds
- Nappies, wipes, wipes and more wipes. There is nowhere to buy them unless you go to Sigatoka.
- A nutribullet or stick blender. The resort doesn’t provide puree but you can nab fresh fruit or steamed vegetables from the breakfast and dinner buffets and blend them
- Food containers for keeping the food you have made
- Some detergent for cleaning the containers and your baby’s bottles. Rooms are just rooms, they don’t have kitchens
Clea Sherman is a copywriter and freelance travel writer. She travelled to Fiji with a baby in 2017. Need a writer? Get in touch to find out more. *(JAFA: Just Another F*ckin’ Aussie)