Discover gold with a relaxed Fijian resort holiday

As holidays go, Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort has got to be gold for families, for scuba divers and for romantic couples seeking an authentic Fijian experience.

Think cute thatched bures echoing the coast line, excellent diving opportunities, a child-centred play zone and nannies on tap -just some of the pluses at Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort.

The resort is about 20 minutes' drive from the township of Savusavu on Vanua Levu, which is a very scenic one hour flight from Nandi with Island Hoppers over an ocean spattered with green pacific islands surrounded by azure blue sea.

For families it's not just the one child/one nanny ratio for children under five, the tree house and children's playground that would make Peter Pan jealous or buddies and range of activities for older children, there's also a separate swimming pool for children and early meal times so adults can dine on their own while children are minded by their nanny in their room.

Who could resist climbing this tree house?

The relaxed faces of the parents holidaying at the resort and the happy chatter from the children says it all, but if there's any doubt how well their system works their repeat family business seals the deal.  Parents I spoke to say that it's not the cheapest family holiday around but the enjoyment factor is hard to beat.

While the resort stars in it's ability to host families, there's plenty to offer those seeking a romantic couples retreat as well.  With some very special bures located away from the resort's centre and seaside dining options, there's plenty to please.  And you won't be surrounded by other people's children in the main resort pool or in the dining area either as child access is restricted.  If you like scuba diving, that's another plus.

The promise in the Cousteau name of great diving is matched by a well equipped dive centre, high speed dive boats and marine biologist Johnny Singh on staff. In scuba diving circles, Fiji is often called as the soft coral capital of the world.

The resort has 12 dive sites on its list with intriguing names such as Dream House, where sharks are plentiful to Alice in Wonderland where large, mushroom-shaped corals provide shelter for small reef sharks and other reef fish.

Johnny having a little joke with snorkellers.

I'm not a diver so my comments are restricted to what I saw snorkelling which was impressive and memorable. Huge soft corals in a multitude of colours and a wide variety of reef fish.  Johnny was quick to  write the names of the fish on his underwater tablet so for a change I could actually identify what I saw.

Into a large tinny and we were off to explore Namenalala Island, a small island south of Savusavu, which is a great day excursion for sand hopers and scuba divers. It's surrounded by miles of unexplored reefs, bottomless drop-offs and attracts some of the big fish that cruise the depths of the Koro Sea.  We walked around the island and enjoyed a picnic morning tea under the palm trees.

The resort's excursion list also includes a trip to the local markets where heavily laden tables of tropical produce are interesting to explore.  Amongst the kava, bananas, seafood and vegetables, I found colourful wooden jewellery and shell earrings to bring home.

Other optional activities include daily yoga, tennis, Fijian story telling, Fijian language lessons for teens, snorkelling orientation sessions, and musical performances.

When  it comes to food it's all included and there's plenty to pick from on the menu.  Don't miss the coconut scones at morning tea, local fish specials and make sure you try the chips and dips which are made from local ingredients. There's also the opportunity to learn local cooking styles with the resort's chef.

The bures are very comfortable and include extra comforts such as a hammock and daybed on the large covered verandah.  Inside it's cool and spacious .

There's two beachfront spas. Lying naked in the small spa hut screened by light, white curtains with the gentle sound of waves lapping the beach in the background while your body is coated in coconut oil and massaged has got to be one of life's great pleasures.

The resort is intricately bound with the two local villages which provide many of the staff.  They work with local Fijian traditions, such as the custom of first cousins not speaking directly to each other, to create a harmonious workplace. One of the great pleasures of this resort is the happy and helpful staff who really do want to make your stay memorable.

Recommended for: families, couples, grandparents, scuba divers
Best tip: The resort has free wifi in the bures and lounge area.  I found it worked best in the lounge area.
Best time to visit: Fiji is located close to the equator so there's little variation in temperature. Expect temperatures to be between 24-30 °.
Bottom line:
Creative Holidays is offering six nights at Jean-Michael Cousteau resort in a Garden View Bure priced from $2,339 per person. Price includes two bonus nights (stay six, pay four), full breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, Savusavu Airport transfers and one of the following options:
  • 3 x 1 hour spa treatments. Choose from 60 minute Bobo massage, 60 minute Fiji facial or 60 minute Dilo & Aloe body wrap; or
  • For Non-Certified divers: Resort dive course (half day) & 1 tank dive for 1 adult plus 3 x 1 hour Bobo massage treatments for 1 other adult; or 
  • For Certified divers: 3 x 1 tank dives for 2 adults; or 
  • For Certified divers: 3 x 1 tank dives for 1 adult & 3 x 1 hour Bobo massage treatments for 1 other adult.
Valid for sale until 31 March, 2015 and travel from 1 to 31 May and 4 October to 19 December, 2015.
For more information call 1300 747 400.

Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort

Kerry Heaney

Disclaimer:  Ed+bK was a guest of Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort and Creative Holidays