A Family Guide to Kadavu
Pristine nature and authentic island culture await on the island of Kadavu. Fiji’s fourth-largest island is home to some 75 villages, the world’s fourth-largest barrier reef, rare bird species only found on the island, and more waterfalls than you can imagine. Despite the outer less-visited islands of Fiji often being an intimidating prospect for families, Kadavu is one of the most family-friendly, with a great selection of resorts to look after the whole family during your adventurous Fiji getaway. Forget days sipping cocktails by the pool, Kadavu is an island to discover the real Fiji. We’ll guide you through the family highlights with this travel guide to Kadavu for families.
10 Things to Do in Kadavu with Kids
- Discover the island culture through Fijian arts and crafts
- Walk to one of Kadavu’s exciting waterfalls
- Snorkel at the Great Astrolabe Reef
- Blast across the waters in a banana boat or biscuit
- Enjoy a family bonding session over a game of tennis, basketball and more
- Paddle out as a family in a kayak
- Teach the youngsters how to fish
- Introduce the little ones to scuba diving
- Look out for rare and unusual birds
- Make use of one of the babysitting services or kids’ club.
For more information on each activity, see our 10 Things to Do in Kadavu for Kids.
How to Get to Kadavu
Kadavu is located approximately 100km/62miles south of Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu. Transport is over the body of water known as the Kadavu Passage, either by water or by air. On arrival to Kadavu, all the resorts offer transfers from the island’s arrival hub, Vunisea. These transfers are usually by boat transfer which may require you to wade out in shallow water so be prepared. For more information, see 5 Ways to Get to Kadavu.
Flights to Kadavu
The quickest and easiest way for families to get to Kadavu is via a domestic flight. Flights from Nadi International Airport depart daily except Sundays and from Nausori Airport in Suva once a week. The flight from Nadi takes approximately 40 minutes, or 30 minutes from Suva, and arrives at Vunisea Airport. Find out more about flights to Kadavu in our Kadavu Transport Guide.
Ferry to Kadavu
Providing a cheaper but more time-consuming passage to Kadavu, ferries from Viti Levu depart from Walu Bay in Suva. Ferries typically depart once a week and journey overnight. With a 7-hour journey, sharing the passage with livestock and cargo, this is definitely an option for the more “adventurous” family. Find out more about the details of ferry travel to the island in How to Take the Ferry to Kadavu.
Private Charters to Kadavu
Charter flights are another quick way to get to Kadavu, scheduled to fly at your convenience. Fixed-wing flights from Nadi International Airport to Vunisea Airport are available, while seaplane flights from Nadi International Airport to the waters outside of your chosen resort are another option. Dive further into the details in our Kadavu Transport Guide and Where to Hire a Plane or Seaplane in Fiji.
Cruises to Kadavu
Finally, another way to see Kadavu and some of Fiji’s more remote islands is on a multi-day cruise departing from Port Denarau on Viti Levu. Find out more in the Kadavu Transport Guide and The Guide to Cruises Around Fiji.
Kadavu Family Water Activities
Some of the most remarkable adventures on the island of Kadavu are in the warm tropical waters surrounding the island. The island is fringed by the world’s fourth-longest barrier reef, while Central Kadavu and East Kadavu, where most resorts are, consist of sandy cove beaches and mangrove forests. Here are some of the best ways to explore with kids.
Snorkel at the Great Astrolabe Reef
With the famous Great Astrolabe Reef meandering 65km/40miles from Central Kadavu well up north past Ono Island, the snorkelling in Kadavu is fantastic. While most prefer to scuba dive at Kadavu, the most accessible option for kids who know how to swim is snorkelling. Most resort stays include free use of snorkel gear, but a fee will be required for a boat trip out to the best snorkelling spots, often taking only 10 minutes or so. Matava Resort offers 3-hour trips to a range of calm coral gardens and more adventurous sites with reef sharks, barracuda, surgeonfish and giant grouper. Papageno Resort offers exciting giant manta ray encounter trips off Bulia Island with beach picnic lunches included. Snorkelling trips often depart in the morning when the water is at its calmest. Great snorkelling off the resort beach is also available at Matava Resort, Oneta Resort, Kokomo Island and Matana Beach Resort.
Kayaking Around Kadavu
Glide across the clear waters watching the fish beneath you with your little ones in a kayak on Kadavu. Kayaks are free for guests to use at most resorts in Kadavu. Great resorts for kayaking include Matana Beach Resort, where it’s possible to paddle to secluded beaches and swim at clear lagoons. Oneta Resort has a fun mangrove forest to kayak through at high tide. Finally, Waisamlima Beach Resort has some nearby bays to discover. The best kayaking options for families are double kayaks, so you can pick up the slack if the youngsters get tired.
One of the resorts with the most complete offering of kids’ activities, the luxury Kokomo Island offers complimentary towable watersports. The fun adventures on the sea include banana boat and biscuit rides. Kids will also love the resort’s sea trampoline and glass-bottom boat tours.
Kadavu Family Land Activities
With a rich culture and amazing landscape, Kadavu has many great reasons to stay on land for at least a couple of days during your trip. While we list some of the best land activities to do with kids below, another popular land activity on Kadavu is watching rare tropical birds, like the Kadavu fantail, velvet fruit dove, Kadavu honeyeater and Kadavu musk parrot. While not always the best option for kids, it could be a good reason for mum and dad to make use of the babysitting services of your resort (see the section below).
Waterfall Walks on Kadavu
With volcanic lands topped with lush rainforest, Kadavu has no lack of picturesque waterfalls to discover. It seems that almost every resort has access to at least one waterfall, whether it’s the Papageno Resort‘s 3.5km/2mile walk to Malawai Falls with markers on the trail to show the way or the short guided hike to a waterfall from Waisalima Beach Resort. Other resorts offer boat trips to some of Kadavu’s most impressive waterfalls, such as the Oneta Resort and Tiliva Resort‘s boat trips through mangrove forests to a 30ft/9m waterfall tumbling down a volcanic ridge. The waterfall walks are suitable for all ages but require moderate fitness.
Fijian Arts and Crafts
With approximately 75 coastal villages around Kadavu, the Fijian culture is extremely accessible. One of the best ways to get kids immersed in the culture with hands-on experience is with a Fijian arts and crafts session. Learn how to weave a Fijian mat, basket or extract coconut oil at Oneta Resort, make your own Fijian jewellery or how to tie a sulu (sarong) in many stylish ways at Kokomo Island, or learn traditional tapa making at Daku Village with Papageno Resort.
Island Sports on Kadavu
While not a major drawcard for Kadavu, the sports available in some of the resorts are always a welcome addition to a family holiday. Playing basketball or tennis at the courts on Kokomo Island is a great way for the family to bond and get competitive during the cooler hours as the sun goes down. Papageno Resort also has a good selection of sports equipment, including volleyball, badminton, rugby, soccer, table tennis and more. Waisalima Beach Resort also has a table tennis table.
Resort Activities for Kids
Despite the remoteness of Kadavu, the resorts still offer high quality when it comes to family holidays. Babysitting services are the norm, making a great excuse for parents to enjoy the highlights of the islands, like scuba diving the Great Astrolabe Reef, hiking the 10km (6-mile) trail between One Mile Beach and Papageno Resort, or indulging in a spa treatment. There is a kids’ and a teens’ club on Kokomo Island – a rare find on the outer islands of Fiji.
Kids’ Clubs on Kadavu
Kadavu only has one formal kids’ club at the luxury Kokomo Island resort. The complimentary kids’ club here has an activities schedule during the school holidays and bespoke activities for children at other times of the year. Activities at the kids’ club could include anything from Fijian crafts to islands sports to baking. For those aged 8-14 years, a teens’ club is also available provides some more adventurous activities suitable for older kids while ensuring that teens are with others their own age.
Babysitting and Nanny Services on Kadavu
For the rest of the family resorts on Kadavu, they offer babysitting or nanny services. Leave the little ones in the capable hands of adoring Fijian nannies at resorts such as Oneta Resort, Matava Resort, Kokomo Island and Waisalima Beach Resort.
Resorts with a Kids Policy
Note that resorts like Matava Resort have a kids policy in order the preserve the peaceful ambience of the resort for other guests. For instance, children under seven years old are not permitted in the Main Bure, bar and restaurant after 7pm. An early dinner is served for families with kids of or under this age.