Here's how to enjoy a stress-free holiday with a toddler in tow
OHbaby! editor Kristina Rapley shares their first overseas holiday as a family of three, on stunning Plantation Island.
Many moons ago my husband Ashton whisked me away on a surprise trip to Fiji for my 30th birthday. We travelled by boat to one of the adults-only island resorts – you know, the ‘barefoot luxury’, small boutiquey kind of ones. We bypassed Plantation Island Resort (voted one of the best family-friendly resorts in the world), saw the giant inflatable playground in the water and felt very grateful indeed it wasn’t our stop. Fast-forward six years and that is exactly where we found ourselves, with a toddler in tow, of course. And you know what? It was one of the best holidays we’ve ever had!
This holiday was extra special because it was the first overseas trip with our daughter, Tallulah, and we were also travelling with our friends, Nick and Nat and their wee girl, Marissa. We flew with Fiji Airways (who offer kid's airfare flights) and our nerves about flying with a toddler were quickly settled with the friendly staff and in-flight activity packs. Dedicated to educating future generations about preserving Fiji's fragile marine environment, it was the perfect way to settle into the flight and kept Tallulah entertained for around an hour - that's five hours in toddler time. We arrived in Fiji late afternoon so spent our first night at the Fiji Gateway Hotel, a sister company to Plantation Island Resort, and got a shuttle out to the ferry in the morning which would take us out to the island nice and early for our first full day in paradise.
Usually in these travel stories, one would write about their adventures day by day, but to be totally honest – there was a whole lot of doing nothing going on which is exactly the kind of holiday we were after! We drank coffee in the mornings, meandered to the buffet breakfast and ate and chatted while the girls played on the within-eyeshot playground (genius!) with their new resort pals. Then it was swim time in one of the four impressive pools or at the stunning beach (before it got too hot) and then back to the room for some quiet time and lunch ordered from the beach bar.
Afternoons were usually spent under the shady palms outside our adjoining beachfront bures, swimming, paddleboarding, building sandcastles with the girls and enjoying a few beers or pina coladas. There are three restaurants on-site, but our package included free buffet dinners at the Copra Restaurant. Each night had a special theme and our favourite by far was the Indian night with authentic Fijian Indian fish, chicken and lamb curries and fresh salads, soft roti, crispy poppadoms, and fluffy rice. I was a bit worried about what Tallulah would eat (as I’m sure most toddler mums can relate) but there were plenty of options available each night for even the fussiest of eaters.
Towards the end of our 5-night stay we were feeling rested enough for some adventure, so one day the boys booked a surf trip out to the nearby surf break and the day after, us girls went out to the reef for some snorkeling. I also had a heavenly one-hour facial at the resort’s day spa – a highlight for sure!
For older kiddies aged 4 - 12 there was a kid’s club running activities daily from 9am – 9pm, plus an on-site creche and activity center where under 3s can play supervised by an adult. They also have a 24-hour babysitting service for $6 per hour (under 4s can attend kid's club with a babysitter or parent).
The list of activities on offer for more of an adventurous holiday are endless, and then of course there’s the aforementioned inflatable playground on the water!
It was such a buzz to see Tallulah living her best life and I was surprised how easy it was being overseas with a toddler. I think that came down to how the resort is set up and also, being surrounded by other young families ensured we felt totally comfortable during mealtimes etc. Plantation Island Resort truly does have it all – sun, sand, sea and surf, a bit of adventure and a lot of relaxation. The easiest and arguably most stress-free holiday we’ve ever had, and for our first time overseas with a child, I think that’s saying something!
Words: Kristina Rapley
AS FEATURED IN ISSUE 59 OF OHbaby! MAGAZINE. CHECK OUT OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE BELOW