Fiji was the THIRD COUNTRY on our almost 2 months long trip around SOUTH PACIFIC. One mom and one 6 year old. After visiting friends and family in SINGAPORE and RAROTONGA, Cook islands, we were truly on our own in Fiji. After a couple of days in busy NADI, we sailed over to the YASAWA ISLANDS and chose DRAWAQA island as our first stop. We had about 2 WEEKS to explore and we decided to visit 3 ISLANDS before it was time to move on to VANUATU.
Places: Drawaqa island, Naviti island (Yasawa islands, Fiji)
How: Yasawa Flyer boat, motor boats, on foot
Stayed in: bure house on the beach, Barefoot Manta
WE VISITED DRAWAQA ISLAND WHEN LU WAS 6 YEARS OLD. MORE ABOUT FIJI WITH KIDS IS COMING UP SOON ON THE BLOG.
DRAWAQA ISLAND is still pretty much south in the Yasawa islands chain, so the boat travel with the famous YASAWA FLYER boat was not really long. From DENARAU PORT, close to NADI, we sailed pass the stunning MAMANUCA ISLANDS GROUP. The views were just wow. Lu was exploding with joy. I was feeling similar. Just a little bit more and we´ll be jumping into this crystal clear water.
The YASAWA FLYER boat usually stays in the middle of a bigger bay and the workers of each RESORT close by come pick up their GUESTS with smaller MOTOR BOATS. When we were approaching our resort on one of those smaller boast, our hearts were singing. This is it. Empty beach. Palm trees. Simple beach houses. Clear sea. Sun. BULA FIJI! Crazy beautiful. And we are really here. All on our own! Had to pinch myself a few times to confirm I´m not dreaming.
BAREFOOT MANTA resort is also the ONLY RESORT on the island. February is considered low season over here, so not all the houses were full and everything was very peaceful. We decided to stay in one of the older BURE or BEACH HOUSES. To be honest they could use a little bit of refurbishment but for us they were totally ok. They did have a few newer ones, but they were more expensive. No ELECTRICITY, one BUNKBED and a normal one. MOSQUITO net. A little TERRACE in front of the house. An outside shared BATHROOM. Everything we needed.
Around our resort there were 2 BEACHES close by. One facing the EAST and one facing the WEST. Perfect for chasing the sun all day long. Our days were filled with YUMMY BREAKFASTS, SNORKELLING, SWIMMING, big LUNCHES, playing with the LOCALS (who literately adopted Lu), WALKS on the beach, BEERS and COCONUTS and even bigger DINNERS. All the food is included in the room rate. There are no other restaurants and shops on the island, so that is basically the only option.
On this trip around South Pacific we were travelling with very LIGHT BAGGAGE. We only had my 42L BACKPACK (about 11 kg) and a small one for Lu. So for the BEACH we only had 1 PONCHO TOWEL for Lu, 1 PAREO for me, SNORKELLING MASKS, FLIP FLOPS, WATERPROOF BACKPACK (I really recommend having one for such trips), UV SHIRT for Lu and SUNSCREEN. One small water gun and a BALL for playing. CARDS. And that is it. We survived almost 60 days with that. Kids really do not need much. They eventually find other things to keep them busy.
But of course, we were not just being lazy at the beach. Every now and then we stretched our legs on a HIKE. The views on the surrounding islands can really be magnificent over here, so why not. Lu is anyway like a little goat, he will climb and hike anywhere. As long as I promise him a scoop of ice cream at the and of the day. We did not have the best luck with the SUNSET this time, cause the sky was a bit cloudy, but never mind. Sometimes the way is more important than the goal.
Here, “the sunset beach”. They also had KAYAKS. A kayak is such a great thing, isnt it? Love them. Especially when the sea is calm. Jumping on these big rocks was also great fun for Lu. An obligatory COCONUT before dinner, SUNSET and WHISTLING TO THE SEASHELLS. That ´s right, whistling to the seashells. Lu discovered, when he whistled the little crabs crawled out of the shells. Might sound funny, but it worked every time. This somehow became kind of our ritual every evening. Simple things!
COCONUT, coconut and more coconut! Lu is obsessed with them ever since we were to the Cook islands in 2016, he loved the ones on the Philippines in 2017 and nothing has changed to this day. We ha at least one a day. They are great. And do not cost a thing if you get a local boy to grab one from the tree. Just another advantage of travelling with children, especially as a single mom. You get stuff for free and everyone takes extra care of you. Sometimes we nibbled on the white COCONUT MEAT as well, mmm so yummy. The things we can buy in our supermarkets back home cannot be compared to this taste.
One day, we took A LITTLE TRIP. To the neighbouring NAVITI ISLAND, where we visited a VILLAGE, played with LOCAL KIDS and enjoyed the peace at the BEACH. Even the boat drive itself was just wow. Crazy VIEWS, the most amazing GREEN COLOUR of the HILLS in combination with the blue sky and the sea. Only PRISTINE NATURE, no hotels, just LUSH VEGETATION and one little hidden village. This is it, we said to ourselves again. This is what we love the most. Finding such places, even though they are mostly hard to get and it costs us more money. It is all worth it.
MALEVU VILLAGE on the island NAVITI was pretty small and the COLORFUL HOUSES are spread on a larger area. Everybody knows everybody. The KIDS meeting point is at the biggest jack-fruit tree. Lu goes to them and they let him into their circle, giggling. It takes a few minutes of careful observation from both sides, but soon enough they are already playing soccer together. Sometimes, it is just that easy. Simple things.
Back at the RESORT I realised we have new guests. And not just any new guests. There was a mom. And here 4 yo son. On their own! Just like us! Oh how hapy I was to see yet another person who is “crazy” enough to “drag” her kiddo to the other side of the world on her own. The boys immediately started playing and we had a great evening accompanied by a couple of cold beers.
One LAST BREAKFAST and we slowly packed our stuff and left our BURE house. The food over here, especially the fruit and fish is really amazingly delicious. And there is lots of it, so no one is left hungry.
We had such a great time here that it was not easy to SAY GOODBYE. But we had to. And we were heading to 2 OTHER ISLANDS in the Yasawas and were looking forward to that. We sailed up north, to MATACAWALEVU. More about our time there soon on the blog.
MORE POSTS ABOUT FIJI AND VANUATU ARE COMING UP, BUT UNTIL THEN YOU CAN READ MORE ABOUT OUR SOUTH PACIFIC TRIP HERE
PIN FOR LATER