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The sun in Fiji
The sun in Fiji
Family spot

Family Fiji

Thursday, May 29, 2003
This is family central for those looking to take the little tackers away for a South Pacific holiday!

Fiji lies on the 180º meridian and is one of the first places in the world to greet the dawning of each day. It is a land of beauty and tranquillity, of blue lagoons and coral gardens.

Shangri-La Fijian opened in 1967, making it one of Fiji's first resorts and, with 436 rooms, it is one of the biggest. There have been many changes to the resort over the years — it began with one wing and now has five. Shangri-La was a tranquil haven in Tibet made famous in James Hilton's novel Lost Horizon and it is a word synonymous with paradise.

It is on its own island and is linked to Viti Levu by a causeway. Unlike many beaches in the area which have black volcanic sand, the Shangri-La has white sand, and its sheltered lagoon means you can swim at all times without being effected by tides.

All guestrooms have private balconies with views of the ocean or lagoon.

The Little Chiefs' Club is for children aged between two and 12 and is free of charge. It is open each day and closes between noon and 1pm for lunch. Activities include things related to Fijian culture, plus swimming, volleyball and spear throwing. There are also softer activities on offer for younger groups.

Evening action is in the games room with movies and arcade games available while parents enjoy sunset drinks and dinner. The "kids-eat-free" offer is a good reason for the resort being so popular. Up to two children per room aged 12 or under can enjoy meals free of charge.

The nearby Hideaway Resort is a clever blend of contemporary and traditional Fijian craftsmanship.

It has 110 bures spread along 1.5km of private lagoon beach and you can just don your snorkelling gear and walk right into the living aquarium at your doorstep. Two-bedroom bures have a king bed, two singles and a settee. Villas are a little bigger and have a unique bathroom.

The Hermit Kids' Club is not segregated into age groups and there is one staff member for every three children. There are many activities on offer — a walk through a rainforest to a 100m waterfall; an excursion to a local village; participation in the coral regeneration project; arranging fancy dress parades through the restaurant and learning about Fijian herbal remedies from the head gardener.

There is a pool with 15m waterslide, a putt-putt golf course and the chance to weave coconut frond, plus do some shell collecting. And way up there with the favourite activities: ice-cream eating competitions!

The Coral Coast Scenic Railway offers six excursions and the Natadola Beach trip is the most popular with families. You can pick it up at Cuvu Station at the entrance to the Shangri-La. The 1911 train, which has been converted from steam to diesel, runs from the coastline through rainforests, villages and canefields. It chugs along at 20km/h and the carriages are open-air. Local children line the route and are always hopeful of passengers throwing them some sweets.

On the way you stop at Muka Caves and once at the beach you are treated to a barbecue. Passengers are entertained with singing and dancing and in the afternoon you can just laze in the sun, swim, snorkel or rent a horse for a ride along the sand.

Another entertaining outing is a visit to Fiji's only wildlife park, the Kulu Eco Park. It is in a coastal forest with a river and wooden walkway running through it.

Kulu has several objectives. They breed endangered species such as the rare crested iguana and peregrine falcon. There are just 20 pairs of this bird remaining in the wild in Fiji and Kulu has seven pairs in its program. The magnificent black birds of prey are held in high esteem in the islands.

Location

Fiji's Coral Coast.

Cost

Qantas flies daily to Nadi on Air Pacific codeshare services.
Qantas Holidays has five-night packages to Fiji staying at Hideaway Resort starting at $1261 ex Brisbane; $1283 ex Sydney; $1332 ex-Melbourne; $1685 ex-Adelaide and $1907 ex-Perth. Five-night packages staying at Shangri-La's Fijian Resort start at $1408 ex-Brisbane; $1430 ex-Sydney; $1479 ex-Melbourne; $1832 ex-Adelaide and $2054 ex-Perth. All rates are per person twin share. Both packages include return airfares, transfers and full breakfast each day. Prices include charges/taxes and are current at time of writing but may vary at time of booking. Seasonal surcharges and conditions apply.

More information

Shangri-La Fijian Resort
Private Mail Bag
Nadi International Airport, Fiji
Ph: 0011 679 6520 155
Fax: 0011 679 6500 402
www.shangri-la.com
fiji@shangri-la.com

Hideaway Resort
PO Box 233 Sigatoka Fiji
Ph: 0011 679 650 0177
Fax: 0011 679 652 0025
www.hideawayfiji.com
info@hideaway.com.fj

Coral Coast Scenic Railway
PO Box 571 Sigatoka Fiji
Ph: 0011 679 6528 731

Kula Eco Park
Box 823 Sigatoka, Fiji
Ph: 0011 679 650 0505
Fax: 0011 679 6520 202
www.fijiwild.com
mitman@connect.com.fj

Qantas: 13 13 13

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