Children of the Tribe’s content editor and publicist and co-founder of Instagram family travel guide, The Travelling Tribe, Amy Mills, recently headed to Savusavu on the Fijian island of Vanua Levu for an authentic Fijian experience with her tribe. As she discovered, it really is the country’s hidden paradise.
Who’s in your tribe?
Me, my husband Simon and our boys Sunny, 4, and Ziggy, 2.
We wanted to give the boys an authentic Fijian experience so we decided to head to Savusavu on the south coast of Vanua Levu Island. Savusavu is known as the ‘hidden paradise of Fiji’ given it is still so lush and unspoiled and it certainly has the magic! We flew from Nadi into Labasa and drove 1.5 hours to Savusavu but you can fly directly there, which is an hour’s flight – in a very small plane! - from Nadi. We really enjoyed the drive from Labasa, though, as it was the best way to see the tiny little villages, the myriad of colourful shacks, the lush landscape and the locals doing their thing. We stopped to buy watermelons from a couple of farmers on the side of the road and they were delicious.
Where did you stay?
We stayed at a beautiful boutique resort called Koro Sun, which has a village-like atmosphere, the kindest staff and lush, tropical surroundings as it is set on a coconut plantation. The owners and staff at Koro Sun are also very connected with the surrounding villages and were instrumental in helping rebuild after Cyclone Winston, which really devastated the area. Koro Sun have a range of accommodation from their original garden bures to spectacular over-the-water bures and villas. When we left, the staff gave Sunny and Ziggy each a coconut tree with their name on it and let them help them plant each tree.
Now we have the best excuse to go back there and watch how the trees have grown with our boys. Special!!
Can you share a special memory?
There were so many! It was so nice slowing down, swimming, playing and spending time with my three boys in paradise. One day, we took Sunny out to a reef in a kayak to try snorkeling for the first time. We tied the kayak to a big rock and jumped in. Sunny got the hang of breathing through his snorkel quickly and was off shrieking with joy every time he saw a starfish, a colourful fish or a piece of coral. It was absolutely beautiful to experience that with him for the first time. Then, kayaking back to shore, we were blown away by the lush rainforest backdrop, the tropical mountains and seemingly endless rows of palm trees.
We also met a lot of local families there and one day, a new friend came and picked us up and took us into his tiny village and welcomed us into the family home where they cooked for us, shared kava and our boys played with their kids. The kids couldn’t understand each other but they bonded over a game of rugby, chasing chickens and sharing food. It was such a memorable experience.
We also visited the local primary school and the kids were the happiest, sweetest souls who sang to us and asked questions. Ziggy is blonde and blue-eyed and a big flirt so the little girls loved him!
Any tips for Savusavu?
We loved exploring some of the local restaurants in Savusavu. Although they were unassuming, the food was delicious! Despite the dubious name, it is worth hitting up Surf and Turf in Savusavu town and trying their mud crab curry. The sashimi was also really good. Like much of the food in Fiji, it wasn’t cheap but well worth it. We also ate lunch a few times at a cheap and tiny little local’s joint called Country Kitchen. I loved their vegetarian roti.
We also went to the local famer’s market a few times – Saturday is the main day – to get some limes and fresh fruit for the kids. We also loved the traditional Fijian lovo at Koro Sun – delicious!
A trip to the little village of Vuadomo. Once you ask for permission from the chief [even locals have to do this out of respect] and have a look around the village, you can then visit the Vuadomo Waterfall. The short walk to the waterfall was just as scenic as the falls themselves. It was so nice to have a swim at this little oasis and my husband loved jumping from the top with the local guys.
Also, the schools are all in need of supplies so we took over a huge bag of pencils, notebooks and other stationary to give them. My gorgeous girlfriends also gave me shoes and clothes their kids had grown out of to take over for the local families. The school visit was a definite highlight for our family.