A screaming face hurtles towards me as I come up for a breath. I duck just in time.
Seconds later another high-pitched squeal. A child launches into the air; limbs flailing everywhere. She crashes into the water centimetres from my head and we’re both enveloped in a surge of bubbles.
She’s laughing her head off as she swims away, her feet strategically kicking saltwater in my face as I try for the umpteenth to come up for air.
I’ve gone behind enemy lines in 100 per cent kid territory and the soldiers aren’t holding back.
This is war and adults are the target of cannonballs, dive bombs and whatever they’re calling those crazy jumps and flips these days. No wonder the kids love this place.
Welcome to the only inflatable water park of its kind on the Coral Coast, on the banks of the Shangri-La Resort, located in the middle of an 80km stretch of brilliant white beach on Fiji's Viti Levu Island.
It is 25x25 metres, floats a short swim offshore and is a drawcard for kids across the globe. Think of an inflatable Ninja Warrior course on water. It has a rodeo slide, monkey bars, wiggle bridge, action tower, launch pad and more.
It’s no surprise this provides hours of fun for kids seven and older. But, adults beware, this course is difficult, and the kids will do what they can to make sure you know it is their kingdom. Enter at your own risk.
The Shangri-La water park is reason enough for kids to start begging their parents for a trip to Fiji, but here are a few more:
Every resort has a kids club, and they’re jam-packed with seriously cool kids activities. Take the Outrigger for example… When I walked into the Litter Riggers kids club, six kids were face down in plates of ice cream having an eating competition – that’s far cooler than hanging out with boring Mum and Dad.
Don’t just take my word for it. Here’s the winner of said ice cream eating competition, 11-year-old Lily Shanahan from Queensland: “The ice cream eating was so fun! It’s my second serving this afternoon,” she says, the remnants of vanilla cream still smeared across her chin. “This is my second time at the kids club and I really love it – especially the board games and coconut husking and eating.”
Activities like tie-dying, arts and crafts, sports, games and more, there are endless things to do to keep the kids occupied. Most resorts also offer nanny services so parents can have some adult time while the little ones are looked after.
Children are curious beings and love learning new and interesting things which makes Fiji perfect for absorbent young minds. From coconut husking to mock village tours, like that at the Naviti Resort, the kids can learn to live like a Fijian and take part in traditional activities and customs.
THE FIJIAN PEOPLE
The Fijians are amazing with children. I’d go as far as saying they are children whisperers. They love nothing more than spoiling, entertaining and playing with children and the feeling is mutual from the little tackers. In Fijian resorts, the kids are VIP. Everything is tailored to ensuring they have a fun holiday and make lots of friends, so it’s no wonder they can’t get enough of this country.
Aside from the kids club activities, Coral Coast resorts offer all types of water sports – usually free of charge. Stand-up paddleboarding, snorkelling, kayaking and canoeing are just a few of the water activities on offer. Plus, who doesn’t love a good head of braids? There are hair braiding stations at most resorts so the girls and boys can rock the cornrow look, or a more subtle do.
IT’S BASICALLY NEXT DOOR
No one likes being holed up in an uncomfortable plane seat, especially impatient and fidgety children. So, the quick flight from Australia to Fiji is a breeze and super appealing for kids (and parents).
Viti Levu is simply one of the best islands in Fiji for families. If that’s got you tapping your toes itching for a Fiji family holiday, then check out Hoot’s latest Coral Coast deals here.