Malolo is one of about 330 islands rising out of the Pacific Ocean to make up Fiji.
Locals say “Na Siga e Dromu i Malolo” – This is where the sun comes to rest. If the scene before me proves anything, Malolo is where people come to rest, too.
A young boy is sprawled across the stomach of his Fijian nanny in a hammock outside a family bure. The sleeping pair hasn’t moved for three hours, dozing peacefully in the shade to the sound of water lapping gently on the sand nearby.
Behind me, adults are coupled together in kayaks, on stand-up paddleboards or with flippers and snorkels, their free-spirited laughter easily mistaken for that of their children.
The white, colonial-style accommodation has been purpose-built for moments of peace and play that families can enjoy while together or apart.
Giggling young visitors with freshly-braided hair duck and dive around the free kids’ club. They’ve just returned from coconut husking and tasting to have lunch before a basket-weaving class and coconut-themed games.
Men line up for fishing-bound boats while grandmothers and their adult daughters gather at the steps of Leilani’s Day Spa. The tranquil haven has three open-air treatment rooms for hydrating facials, aromatic massages and nourishing island wraps. There’s even a two-hour His and Her Bliss package held in a private double room for the ultimate escape.
Over the fence, the adults-only pool area is surrounded by cushioned daybeds and a swim-up cocktail bar. Coco Mojitos are recommended but when you’re operating on Fiji time, there’s no rush to choose.
There’s the Friendly Fijian – Tia Maria, Frangelico, Bounty white rum, milk, coconut cream and caramel sauce – or the Angry Fijian alternative, a punchy holiday mix of chocolate, Kahlua and Baileys.
Upstairs, South African executive chef Yngve Muldal runs the Treetops kitchen, an adults-only restaurant serving up seafood and traditional Fijian cuisine.
“Coconut is the lifeblood of Fiji,” Muldal says, placing down a dish of coconut-infused fish with coriander, lemongrass and ginger topped with salmon roe.
A honeymooning couple at a nearby table tuck into their cold-poached mud crab on ice and chargrilled local lobster with lemon and herb butter, while a father and his baby daughter dance to the serenading tunes by the pool.
“Life is just like a beautiful song,” the resort staff sing, and they’re right.
Malolo Island is the land of no worries. There are no roads around the accommodation, and the pathways are a combination of coral sand and wooden decking lined with bright pink hibiscus.
Fiji’s endless summer is combated with refreshing drinks, cold towels, and air conditioners in every room. There are nannies ready and willing to take care of children and staff happy to cruise cocktailing guests out on boat tours at sunset.
There are also no tears on Malolo, except for departure day when children run to the end of the pier to wave good bye to their new-found friends.
Leaving Malolo is a struggle but you do so, rosy-cheeked and full-bellied, feeling as well-rested as the setting sun.
Getting there: Fiji Airways operates direct flights from Adelaide to Nadi. Transfers are available from Nadi Airport to Malolo Island via helicopter, seaplane, speed boat or catamaran.
Staying there: Malolo Island Resort is in Fiji’s Mamanuca archipelago, to the west of Nadi. Bures start from $A472 per night (Island Bure, one king-sized bed and two singles) to $A1321 (Family Bure, two king-sized beds, three singles, up to two en suite bathrooms). Single mattress rollaway beds can be added at an additional cost. (Alternative, cheaper accommodation options are available on the island.)
Playing there: Tia’s Treehouse club is free for children aged four to 12 and private babysitting is available from just $A6 an hour. There’s also an air-conditioned room for teenage guests with table tennis, satellite TV, bean bags and free wi-fi. Non-motorised sports including stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, sailing, wind surfing and snorkelling are complimentary. One-hour spa treatments from $A60. See maloloisland.com
* The writer travelled as a guest of Malolo Island Resort.
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