Two of Australia’s all-time favourite holiday hotspots, Fiji and Bali continue to rise in popularity. And it’s no small wonder: Fiji abounds with picture-perfect cyan waters and silky, palm-fringed beaches, while Bali poses the ultimate ‘find your inner peace’ destination (sunrise yoga sessions against a backdrop of lush tropical greenery). It’s fair to say that both have their pros. But which is better for couples – Fiji or Bali? Does Bali make for a good family getaway? To help you narrow down your choices ahead of your island escape, we take a look at some of the most attractive offerings in both destinations.
- Fiji or Bali for families
- Fiji or Bali for couples
- Fiji or Bali for wellness
- Fiji or Bali for adventure
- Fiji or Bali for food
- Everything you need to know before you go
With Westpac concierge, you have access to a range of hotels and resorts that offer you benefits such as room upgrades, flexible check in and daily breakfast – as well as perks like complimentary nights and spa credit. If you’re a Westpac cardholder, you might already have access.
Fiji or Bali for families
Fiji for families
Thinking about rounding up all the whole clan for a multigenerational family trip? This is where Fiji might have one up on Bali: the flight’s shorter – about four hours direct from Brisbane or Sydney to the main island of Viti Levu – so there’ll be less resistance from the little ones, and it’s an easier ride for the older members of your tribe. Fiji’s an island where you can sit still or get up and go with plenty of activities to enjoy together and apart – from walking trails in Colo-i-Suva Forest Park, to snorkelling in Beqa Lagoon the younger travellers.
Best family hotel in in Fiji
Shangri-La Yanuca Island on the Coral Coast is something of an icon, thanks to its 55-year tenure as a go-to resort in Fiji. Drink in seemingly endless sunset views of the private island’s lagoon from the patio of your family-sized bure (a traditional Fijian beach bungalow), or slip and slide with the kids at the inflatable water park – the only one of its kind in Fiji. Families, where the youngest guest is over 16, can take up residence at the resort’s quieter Reef Wing and enjoy its exclusive complimentary happy hour complimentary poolside drinks, mocktails and canapés daily.
Bali for families
Although Bali’s become a bit of an Eat Pray Love destination for the introspective solo traveller, it’s actually a lure for families, too. Fun, family-friendly attractions – and timeless photo ops – abound. Discover more than 100 different animal species at Bali Safari and Marine park in Gianyar, or watch Balinese long-tailed macaques scale the traditional stone statues in Ubud’s Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. Most resorts offer activities and fully equipped clubs for young guests, and it’s the norm for guests under 12 years to eat for free or at a discounted rate.
Best family hotel in Bali
Both the young and young at heart will love the rock star treatment they’ll get at Hard Rock Hotel Bali. When you aren’t cooling off in a serviced private poolside cabana or in the free-form swimming pool (the largest one in Bali), go for a stroll on Kuta Beach across the street while the kids spend time at Roxity Kids Club or the teens’ hangout spot, TABU. The Luxury Kids’ Suite comes with a vibrant children’s room, complete with a gaming console and its own en-suite bathroom.
Fiji or Bali for couples
Fiji for couples
Even with more than 300 islands to its name, Fiji is secluded, so if a sense of privacy is on the agenda for your couple’s getaway, you’ve found your winner. The natural beauty of your surrounds creates the perfect romantic backdrop for whatever you choose to do together. Swim to the sound of collared lorries beneath the Tavoro falls in Taveuni Island’s Bouma National Heritage Park, or picnic at sunset on Tokoriki Island – mandatory selfies included… it’s the stuff romantic novels are made of.
Best couples’ hotel in Fiji
InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa set on a private stretch of the picturesque Natadola Beach, is for couples who appreciate a good measure of attentive service. Be sure to book one of the ground-floor Club suites, where you can expect a private plunge pool, personalised butler service and access to the Club InterContinental Lounge, which serves a complimentary breakfast and afternoon high tea, and sunset cocktails and canapés.
Bali for couples
With great weather for most of the year and a multitude of ways to enjoy quality time together, any night is date night in Bali. Swap your stilettos and suede loafers for sandals and head over to one of the chic beach clubs in Canggu for an evening of dancing on the shore. If you’re after something more zen, a spa day in the Ubud jungle (the spa at COMO Shambhala Estate is our favourite) or a gentle trot through the rice paddies of Tegallalang will hit the spot.
Best couples’ hotel in Bali
Uluwatu on Bali’s Bukit Peninsula in the south is famous for its tranquil beaches tucked into the cliffside. With a name that loosely translates to ‘the rock at land’s end’, it’s safe to say you’re in for a lush getaway with a big do-not-disturb label stuck to it when you visit. Alila Villas Uluwatu is set on a craggy clifftop overlooking the ocean and provides a sleek hideaway for couples looking to relax and reconnect. Take in the horizon from your sprawling Cliff Edge villa’s private infinity pool, or ride a bike to the 1,000-year-old Hindu Uluwatu Temple and Pecatu village nearby.
Fiji or Bali for wellness
Wellness in Fiji
What Fiji may lack in its number of yoga retreats (in relation to Bali, at least), it makes up for in its sustainable spa treatments and an abundance of natural ingredients. Many of the island’s treasures – flowers, herbs, lava rocks, and tropical fruits – form the foundation of the treatments available. For an added dose of relaxation, we suggest trying an authentic Fijian massage with coconut, and dilo and macadamia nut oils, or a rejuvenating dip in the mud pools and hot springs at Nadi.
Wellness in Bali
Bali owes its status as a world-renowned holistic wellness destination to the fact that healing through yoga, meditation, and massage have been a part of the island’s culture for centuries. Since the 1960s, an exponential growth in tourist numbers has resulted in an abundance of excellent wellness retreats that feature the latest in equipment, techniques, and detox programmes. Why not attend a yoga class on the beach as the sun rises, or a sound healing among the undulating rice fields or mountains, for an unforgettable first-hand experience?
Fiji or Bali for adventure
Adventure in Fiji
While surfing is popular in Fiji, it’s not ideal for beginners. Fiji’s most popular surfing spot on Namotu Island, Cloudbreak is notoriously challenging, and mainly for experts: a hollow wave forms about 1,600m off the coast, holds for up to 500m, and reaches 10m in size. Diving is where the thrills are – Fiji is known as the ‘soft coral capital of the world’ and, with more than 390 coral species and around 1,200 fish species to discover, it’s ideal for divers of all skill levels. If you’ve had your fill of water sports but still want an adrenaline rush, you can zipline through the trees or hike up Tomanivi, Fiji’s highest mountain.
Adventure in Bali
Even though Indonesia’s foremost diving spot Raja Ampat is almost five hours away from Bali by air, adventurers can rest easy, as there are plenty of other immaculate diving spots strewn around the island. Tulamben on the east coast is where you’ll find the USAT Liberty shipwreck, a popular site that’s teeming with marine life, including vivid coral and tropical fish, and manta rays. Surfers of all abilities will love the waves at Uluwatu, where you’ll access the surf via a cave. Kuta is a favourite among surfing beginners for its soft, sand-bottom waves and abundance of surf schools.
Fiji or Bali for food
Food in Fiji
Outside of its resorts, Fiji may not be well known for its restaurants, but the food is delicious, with fresh seafood and indigenous ingredients championing local cuisine. While coconut, taro, pineapples and curry are flavours you’re bound to encounter, a lovo meal is an unmissable part of eating here.
Lovo is a traditional Fijian barbecue where the food is wrapped in banana leaves and cooked for several hours in a makeshift underground oven, heated by hot stones and coconut husks. Although it’s traditionally reserved for large social gatherings and special occasions, lovo has become a regular pastime at many resorts. Typical ingredients cooked in a lovo are root vegetables such as taro or cassava, fish, and marinated pork and whole chicken.
Food in Bali
Over the past two decades, Balinese cuisine has exploded on the dining scene, with some of the island’s restaurants earning honourable mentions in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Sambals are a key ingredient in Balinese cuisine. Served as a side dish, these piquant relishes are as easy to find as salt and pepper back home. Sambal matah is a crowd favourite that’s usually made from finely sliced shallots, raw shrimp paste, torched ginger, lime leaves, chili, sea salt, and coconut oil. Some versions of sambal matah offer a vegan option that’s perfectly paired with a bowl of warm rice. Meander through Bali’s bustling night markets for a taste of the many sambals on offer at its street-food stalls.
Everything you need to know before you go:
Do I need to quarantine on arrival?
Fiji: No. Visitors are not required to quarantine in Fiji, but you will need to take a pre-booked COVID-19 rapid antigen test (RAT) a maximum of 72 hours after arrival.
Bali: No. Only fully vaccinated travellers who test positive for the COVID-19 test performed on arrival are required to quarantine.
Do I need a visa?
Fiji: No. A visa isn’t required for tourists.
Bali: Australians require a tourist visa, which is available on arrival to enter Bali for periods of under 30 days. The visa fee is $35 USD ($50 AUD) per person, and your passport must have six months’ validity for you to enter Bali.
How long does it take to get there?
Fiji – Nadi International Airport
A direct flight can take anywhere from three to five hours, depending on where you’re departing from. Flights from Brisbane and Sydney will be shorter.
Bali – Denpasar International Airport
The fastest direct flight from Australia to Bali is typically under seven hours.
Best time to go?
Fiji is cool and dry from June to September, with a lower risk of cyclones and inclement weather.
Dry season from May to October is ideal, with less humidity and best conditions for outdoor activities.