We may be geographically isolated from Europe and North America, but Australians have been dealt one fabulous travel card: close proximity to Asia and the Pacific Islands. A relatively short plane flight delivers us to the beautiful island destinations nearby, meaning an international family holiday can be extravagant and affordable at the same time. We investigate your options in Fiji and Thailand to help you work out which is the better family holiday.
Ask anyone who has been to Fiji what they liked the most about their visit and most will reply, “The people!” Fijians have a beautiful, kind disposition that keeps your spirits lifted 24/7, allowing you to truly relax into holiday mode. Week-long packages including five-star accomodation, return flights and some meals and activities can be found for as little as $3,500 for the entire family, making Fiji a seriously relaxing, luxurious and affordable island destination.
- Short four-hour flight from the east coast of Australia to Nadi.
- Experience five-star luxury in resorts that include free or very cheap child-minding facilities, with plenty of activities for the kids.
- The Coral Coast offers snorkelling that the whole family can enjoy.
- Most islands in Fiji are surrounded by coral reefs, so the beaches are not the typical “white-sand” shores you think of when planning an island holiday.
- In some areas, shopping options are limited.
Resort spotlight: Outrigger on the Lagoon
Set over a lush 40 acres on the Coral Coast, this beachside resort is the ideal place to sip cocktails by the pool while the kids splash about in front of you — or let the stress of “real life” melt away with a luxurious treatment at the award-winning Bebe Day Spa. You can drop your little ones into the free kids club to enjoy a range of fun activities, or for one-on-one attention, book one of the resort’s Meimei nannies, priced from as little as AU$5 per hour. The Talai Butler service, which delivers Champagne and canapés to your room each evening (deluxe ocean view suites and above), is the finishing touch on a fabulously relaxing and indulgent stay.
Families with younger children, seeking a relaxing yet luxurious holiday with affordable child-minding.
Renowned for its fusion of culture, relaxation and adventure, the South-East Asian nation of Thailand is ideal for the family who wants a little of everything. Boasting distinctive cuisine, a rich heritage, affordable accommodation and plenty of activities to keep the kids entertained, Thailand is perfect for families young and old.
- Plenty of options — explore the city and nightlife in Bangkok, relax in a luxurious resort in Pattaya, or discover jungle-style parks in Phuket.
- Pristine white sand beaches as far as the eye can see.
- Enjoy luxury accommodation, restaurants and shopping for a fraction of what you’d pay in Australia.
- Flight time is around 10-12 hours (depending on where you stay) — not as lengthy as a trip to Europe, but not much fun with a couple of kids in tow.
- Can get very busy during peak season; beaches become packed and resorts can be overloaded. Peak season is November to March, while July to September is the rainy season
Resort spotlight: Rising Sun Residence, Chatong, Phuket
Ranked by TripAdvisor as the number one resort in Phuket (out of almost 600 options!), Rising Sun offers a range of one, two and three bedroom villas to suit families of all shapes and sizes. You can book a package that includes a personal driver for nine hours a day, allowing you to see all of the local attractions, beaches and restaurants in your own time. As reviewer Sian put it, the resort has all of the ingredients of “the best [holiday] we have ever had!”
Families with older children who need a little more entertainment, such as visiting animal parks, white-water rafting, shopping and exploring.