Oliver Driver provides the definitive guide to a successful pre-baby holiday
A babymoon, as you probably know, is a holiday where you and your partner escape to somewhere beautiful and relaxing before the only beautiful, relaxing experience you will ever have again is sitting in your car waiting briefly for your baby to wake up.
Truth be told, you never really appreciate your first babymoon. Before you've had a child, you have no idea what you are about to lose, and so a holiday to make the most of what you have no idea you have, doesn't really make sense.
That's why I recommend saving your pennies and waiting till you are about to have your second before going on a babymoon, when you know what hell you are about to enter into and will appreciate every single second of peace and quiet you can get.
Of course you will already have a baby/toddler/child, which is why you need to go to Fiji.
Nowhere on Earth is quite like a resort in Fiji when it comes to indulging in a pre-second-child babymoon, mostly because of two things: cheap childcare and staff who love kids and will constantly take them off for walks and adventures so you can eat another bowl of hot chips in peace. So here is my definitive guide to a pre-second-child babymoon in Fiji.
No matter how old your child is, if they are under 2, ask for a bassinet seat on the plane.
Of course you're not going to use it, but it ensures you and your partner are seated with room for all the bags, toys, books and blankets you are going to need for the flight.
Bring a bottle. I don't care if your kid doesn't drink one or has been weaned off it already, nothing shuts up a toddler with sore ears faster than a warm bottle of milk.
The cabin staff will be able to fill your bottle with warm water before you take off; ask them to do this as soon as you are being seated or they get busy pointing at the exits.
After that, snacks and books and walks up and down the aisle are going to be your reality for the next three hours, unless they go to sleep in your arms, in which case smile gratefully at your partner and grab your Kindle. If you don't have a Kindle, buy one; you can read them one-handed.
Forget about watching movies, either of you. You cannot both do it, and you don't want to start your holiday with one of you resenting the other because you got to watch Pork Pie while they were reading That's Not My Reindeer for the four thousandth time.
The biggest thing, which I cannot stress enough, is do not worry what other people think.
If your baby is crying while you walk up and down the aisle or is hurling peas at your neighbour, just remember that everyone has either been exactly where you are, or are not parents, and therefore should just shut up and thank the gods that they are not you, yet.
On arrival in Fiji, you need to get to your island. You can do this three ways: by boat, by helicopter or by seaplane. We were staying in the Yasawas, which is further out than a lot of the resorts, and because we were conscious of total travel time we opted for a seaplane with Pacific Island Seaplanes. They reduced a three-hour trip involving buses and ferries into a 30-second walk across the airport and a half-hour flight.
The other benefit of a seaplane is travelling when you want to. It not only means you can get to the resort earlier but also often stay a night extra and still catch an early afternoon flight home. The flight also allows you a spectacular view of a Fiji you rarely see, hundreds of islands smattered across the brilliant blue of the Pacific — magical.
Many people will tell you that a resort is a resort and they are all pretty much the same.
This is absolutely not true and finding the right one can be the difference between an okay holiday and a truly relaxing experience. Banned from those wonderful no-children resorts, you still want to try to avoid those super-family, kid-filled resorts that make you feel like you are on holiday in a sandy kindergarten. What you are looking for is a resort that allows kids but feels and acts like a resort built for adults.
Paradise Cove is beautiful and luxurious, with Beachfront Villas that define luxury and excess, right next to a fully-equipped kids club staffed with fantastic women who will play one on one with your toddler, whenever needed.
It's phenomenal. Paradise, as we came to call it, also has a great feature where all the meals are included in the package, and since one of you is pregnant, neither of you are going to drink, so you know pretty much what you are going to spend before you get there.
Childcare is about $7 an hour. You can drop in any time to the air-conditioned Crooked Coconut Kids Club to see what they are up to, and what you will find, every time, is that they are building castles or reading books or drawing or being engaged and played with.
The care is also totally flexible, whenever you want it, and we soon found ourselves settling into a great routine of putting the toddler with a nanny after breakfast for three hours while we lay by the pool or beach doing nothing at all but reading our books.
We would meet back up with bubs for lunch and then spend the afternoon playing with her by the beach before giving her dinner and putting her to bed when the babysitter would come and relieve us so we could have dinner together. Pretty much everything is provided: cots, blankets, baby baths, high chairs, nappies and wipes; all you need to pack is what you would normally take to the beach.
Best of all, Paradise Cove is great for parents. The rooms are amazing, with roofless bathrooms, free Wi-Fi and super-comfortable beds.
A few nights in Paradise was really all we needed to reset ourselves and take five before three becomes four and there's no more time for two or one. Go.
flies from Auckland to Nadi.
Staying there: Paradise Cove is on Naukacuvu Island in the Yasawa Islands. Beachfront Villas start from $819 per night for peak time, $749 for non-peak. Check out the five-night packages for the best deal.
The cost of the meal plan at Paradise Cove is $132 per adult, per day, and $63 per child aged 5-12, per day. Children under 5 eat free of charge, and the meal plan includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner. All of it is delicious.
Further information: See paradisecoveresortfiji.com