Castaway Island has a spectacularly high retention rate, over 40% of its visitors are there on return visits. Read this family review by contributor Averil Cutroni and you’ll understand why.
Earlier this year we had the pleasure of spending a week at Castaway Island Fiji. I could have stayed forever, it’s such a beautiful place. It really is the perfect tropical location for families with kids.
We are a family of 5, my husband and I plus our 3 kids, aged 3, 6 and 8. This is the first time we’ve ventured outside Australia with the kids.
We’ve done a bit of travel in Australia with them, and lots of road trips, but we really wanted a relaxing tropical island holiday. Castaway did not disappoint!
From the moment we arrived the beautiful staff were waiting on the beach, playing music and singing for us. (Will I mention our 3 year old having a tired tantrum at the same time?!) Their kindness and hospitality was wonderful for our entire stay.
The flight from our home in Sydney to the airport in Nadi takes about four and a half hours. Castaway Island is a 1 hour 10 minute boat trip from Denarau Marina which itself is a very short 20 minute trip from the airport.
We stayed in an Island Bure, which housed the 5 of us quite comfortably. The rooms are lovely, with lots of Fijian accents like the pained tapa lined ceiling and fresh hibiscus flowers replaced daily by the housekeeping staff.
Our bure was nestled in the gorgeous tropical gardens, only a short walk from the beach. The Beach and Ocean View Bures looked wonderful too. If you are able to get one of these it would be great to step out onto the sand.
We opted for the meal plan, as there was a special deal that made it a little cheaper. This meant that we had full choice from all menus in all dining venues. The food was fabulous, from the breakfast buffet, to the a la carte menu.
The Water’s Edge restaurant is the main one, serving buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. With seating right beside the water and fantastic views, it’s a great spot. And older kids can play on the beach when they’ve finished eating, leaving parents to relax over a coffee.
Restaurant 1808 is a fining dining restaurant serving Chinese Fijian fusion food. It’s right beside the Water’s Edge, and is open most days.
Nuku Marau, the cafe beside the kids’ pool, had fantastic sushi and burgers, awesome wood fired pizza is served all day at the Sundowner Bar.
Drinks aren’t included in the meal plan, but water and some juices are provided with every meal. The water on Castaway is safe to drink.
Each evening we fed the kids dinner at the 5.30pm kids’ dinner, then they went off to kids club at 6.30 so my husband and I could have dinner together (while watching the sun set over the ocean. Heaven!!)
Swimming and snorkelling are the two main activities on the island. Scuba diving is also offered, which we didn’t do.
There are two pools, one for families, which is very child friendly, and an adult environment pool, complete with a swim up bar (nothings says tropical island holiday like a cocktail in the pool!)
They have an activities board in the main lounge each day, which offers things like hula skirt making, Fijian cooking demonstrations, beach volleyball, and crab or frog races.
There is also a beautiful bush walk to the top of the island, it’s well worth doing, bring your camera to capture the beautiful view.
The beaches are absolutely stunning, with white sand and crystal clear turquoise waters. There are plenty of fish to see if you snorkel off the beach, and if you swim out a bit further at high tide there’s a coral reef surrounding the island.
The coral is a bit damaged so for a really amazing snorkelling experience I recommend taking a boat trip out to one of the reefs. I’m a bit of a deep ocean scaredy cat, but I pushed myself to do it, and I’m so glad I did. My only regret is not having an underwater camera!
When the kids were in kids club one morning my husband and I took a boat trip out to Modriki Island, where the movie Cast Away was filmed. Ask the dive shop guys to work out a special price without brunch, we did this and it worked out a lot cheaper.
If you want to see an uninhabited island paradise, then you have to do this trip!! It was truly magical, one of the most beautiful places I have seen.
Another excursion Castaway offer is a visit to one of the local villages on Malolo Island. We took the kids along for this one, and what an eye opener! This is when you see how some Fijians really live, and it was so interesting seeing the school, the medical centre, and chatting to the locals.
I took along some of my magazines and books and gave them to some of the women, which they loved and appreciated. Our guide Iva was so wonderful, telling us all about island life, and how the hierarchy works with chief and his family.
Most of the time though, our days were filled with lounging by the pool or beach, reading and relaxing. And eating! Heaven not having to cook, wash or clean!
- Our kids each carried a small backpack with some new books, paper, pencils and a couple of small toys. This was really useful for the plane and also quiet time in our room when you need to escape the humidity and rest in the air conditioning for a while!
- Make sure you bring lots of sunscreen! I forgot to pack the extra tube and we ended up having to buy some on the island- very expensive!
- Sounds silly but bring a couple of pens! No one told me this, and when you have to fill out all those forms in the airport and on the plane (and with 3 kids it takes forever!) for customs there are no pens available! Lucky I threw one in my handbag at the last minute.
- Bring tropical strength insect repellent. They go around and spray the island every day for bugs, but the mozzies are relentless! Make sure you spray the kids all over, I forgot one evening and the kids were eaten alive!
- Bring a small first aid kit with basic medicine and band aids. We had lots of stubbed toes and grazed knees, so it was handy to have antiseptic cream and a band aid on me, instead of having to go see the nurse. Our three year old had a fever one evening, so I glad I packed the Panadol.
I have to mention the kind and wonderful staff. From the moment we pulled up on the beach there was a group playing music and singing for us. It’s so lovely watching them go about their work, with a flower behind their ear, and nothing was too much trouble.
We loved chatting to them, hearing about their life and their own families. When we left, the kids club staff came to say goodbye to our children and gave them a hug. Along with the beautiful surroundings they are what made the holiday so special.
Now it’s back to reality though, and cooler temperatures! We have the most wonderful photos and memories of a fantastic family holiday though.
Are you thinking of heading to Fiji?
Got any questions? Ask away!
Thanks Averil, this is really useful, and you have shown us beautiful photos. Castaway has a sister property on the Coral Coast, the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort, read more here. PS I do recommend buying the Lonely Planet Guide to Fiji, you can check it out here at the Lonely Planet Shop