If you like the idea of a flop ‘n’ drop holiday in a picture-perfect paradise (with Kid’s Club included) then personal travel manager Adela Backhouse has a few ideas about where you should be heading for some sun, fun and a good dose of culture.

By Michelle Hespe

Adela Backhouse has noticed that recently, there’s been a resurgence of clients asking for itineraries in the Pacific Islands — Fiji and Hawaii presently being two of the most popular requests. “I think that’s due to the close proximity of the Pacific Islands (they’re a great short-haul flights for kids), affordability, and how well the people from these countries take care of your children,” she says. “They really know how to cater for families, and let’s face it, they even make the food easy – offering all sorts of cuisines for picky kids.” She also mentions the incredibly popular Disney flick, Moana, has been responsible for fuelling the Hawaii frenzy. “My daughter has seen it a thousand times already!” she says with a laugh. “So Hawaii is top of her bucket list!”

Vanuatu is another Pacific Island nation that Adela highly recommends for family getaways, because of the wonderful service and the endless activities available for children, no matter where you stay. “We were in Vanuatu recently with our two children, aged 6 and 4, and just watching them engage with another culture that wasn’t familiar to them when we arrived, was beautiful,” she says. “Children have no judgement, and they just accept things and other people as they are. We did things like visiting the food markets to see what the locals ate every day, and we visited the local schools and showed our kids what the kids in Vanuatu have. It showed our kids that not everyone lives the way we do here in Australia. We are a very lucky country, and they should understand that.”

Adela and her family stayed at the Aquana Beach Resort, which, with a ratio of 18 nannies to 16 bungalows, is a foundation for many a parents’ dream holiday. ‘They have ‘Roaming Nannies’ from 7.30am until 9pm at night, and the kids just love them, as did we!” says Adela. “And we loved the fact that it wasn’t like a normal kid’s club, in terms of everything being planned. The kids could ask what they wanted do, and they were very helpful. For instance, my daughter wanted to drink from a coconut, so someone shimmied up a palm tree, picked one, showed the kids how to take the husk off it and cracked it open with a big knife. The kids were in awe! Then they offered it to her as a drink, and you should have seen her face. She was so happy. It makes you realise how important those small special moments are, especially when you are on holiday together as a family.”

Adela feels as though Vanuatu is incredibly under-rated, as she knows from a firsthand experience with kids that it has everything a family could want — beautiful beaches, great healthy food, and beautiful, caring people. “I don’t understand why more families don’t consider Vanuatu as an island holiday option, especially as it’s only a few hours’ flight from Australia. I find the people genuine, and for those health-loving families, the food isn’t processed or imported. Most of the places that you eat at use local produce, which is mainly organic. We love it there and will go back soon,” she says.