There are few regions of the world that are better suited to a family holiday than the South Pacific. Filled with friendly, safe islands with beautiful beaches for Mom and Dad, and plenty of fun activities for the little ones, it’s no wonder it’s such a popular holiday spot. Three of the most popular destinations are Fiji, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia. Here, we’ll consider each one and which makes the best family holiday destination.
Why Fiji, Vanuatu, or New Caledonia?
In total, there are 14 independent South Pacific countries, however Fiji, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia are three of the best for family holidays. On the whole, these tend to be some of the more accessible and affordable destinations. They are very popular with families, so they have more kid-friendly activities than some of their neighbors such as Tahiti or the Cook Islands which focus more on romantic stays.
Which one to choose?
Each of these three countries has some similarities, as well as major differences. We can assure you, no matter which Pacific Island you choose for your family holiday, you are bound to have a great time. However, there are some differences that might make you prefer one over the other, depending on what you are looking for.
Fiji is the most popular holiday destination of the three. It is famous for its beautiful beaches and laidback way of life. As soon as you step off of the plane, you can set your watch to “Fiji time.” This means taking your watch off altogether, because time is not important in Fiji – relaxing is! It is a great destination for laying by the pool or beach, in total relaxation.
Due to Fiji’s popularity, there are more resorts that cater to all different groups and especially families on holiday. Many of the resorts have “kids clubs” which will keep kids and teenagers occupied during the day, while their parents lounge by the pool. This is great for all ages, and teenagers especially will appreciate the bit of independence they can have in Fiji. There are also many activities that the whole family can enjoy, such as hikes or cava ceremonies.
Another benefit of Fiji’s popularity is that the competition means prices are more competitive. Of the three options, Fiji is definitely the most affordable – although you can still find some ultra-luxurious, ultra-pricey stays.
Our view: Best for affordable stays and young families.
In many ways, Vanuatu boasts the same attractions as Fiji – beautiful sandy beaches, super friendly local people, and a relaxed atmosphere. However, Vanuatu also has a bit more rugged charm due to it being quite a bit less developed than its cousin Fiji. Especially if getting away from the major island of Efate and the few major reports, you can expect to find a little more of a rustic vibe in Vanuatu.
Of course, there are still many major resorts that offer attractions for the whole family. In addition, Vanuatu offers many interesting tours and natural sights. Some of these are a little more suited to older children – such as learning about Vanuatu’s ghoulish cannibal history or checking out the gorgeous blue lagoon – but there are other fun things for younger ones, too.
While Vanuatu is not quite as affordable as Fiji because there is less competition, it is still quite accessible, and there are lots of options to suit all budgets.
Our view: Best for older children, and families looking for adventure!
The quietest of the three options (in terms of tourism numbers), New Caledonia is quite a different offering than Fiji or Vanuatu. It is Polynesian, but with a very distinct French vibe – no wonder, given that it was a French colony for over 160 years. Here, French is spoken just as widely as the Indigenous languages, and the supermarket is stocked with French dips and baguettes. In addition, the French investment means it is more developed than its island neighbors.
This is still the South Pacific, though, and so the beaches are beautiful and there are gorgeous pine trees everywhere. Water sports such as kayaking and windsurfing are popular near the capital of Noumea, and further afar lies some of the most beautiful beaches in the whole Pacific – the remote Isle de Pines is the stuff of holiday dreams. While some of the resorts focus a little more on older visitors, there are plenty of family-friendly resorts that offer interesting activities for kids of all ages.
Due to New Caledonia’s less developed tourism industry and the pricey costs of importing things from France, it is the most expensive option of the three. However, for the money, you can expect fewer crowds and more luxury.
Our view: Best for beach lovers and experiencing a truly different culture.
Each country of Fiji, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia hasits own charms and positives. Whichever Pacific island you choose for your family holiday, you can expect to create magical memories. Each one boasts gorgeous beaches and friendly, hospitable people – the key is to work out what more you’d like from your trip and choose accordingly. There’s no “bad” choice, we promise!