Alarm clocks ringing at 4 am, shuffling from Rydges Sydney Airport hotel to the terminal with 20 bags, four surfboards and seven kids can quickly lift the pre-departure anxiety levels. Departing on time and after 3 hours of flying from Sydney to Fiji with Fiji Airways, we arrived into Nadi full of excitement and touch of weariness.
The next stage of the journey was about to begin; we had to get all 15 of us over to Castaway Island. In planning the trip, we choose the option to transfer by seaplane with Pacific Island Air.
Riding shotgun with my son on a helicopter to the island, rocked!
When checking in for our seaplane transfer, I noticed there was a bit of fussing going on as the staff weighed us with our baggage. It was at this stage we were notified that some of us were not travelling on a seaplane instead via a helicopter. Now if you want to get kids pumped and over excited, tell them they are going for a ride on a chopper. OMG, the kids plus mum and dad went giddy with excitement.
Naturally, it came down to high demand for the seaplanes being used by Pacific Island Air to transfer visitors to the islands around Fiji. Other factors to the upgrade could have been we were a multigenerational family group of 15, and the other seaplane operator in the area had one of its aircraft out of operation. So there was pent up demand for the seaplane at this period.
The seaplanes and helicopter offered by Pacific Island Air provide a smooth and quick way to reach your destination. When you have kids, the process of going from International flight to domestic flight becomes hassle free, and you save time in arriving at your destination a lot quicker than by ferry.
”Turn a transfer into a highlight of your family holiday"
Pacific Island Air operate regular seaplane services throughout the day between Nadi International Airport and most fijian resorts in Mamanuca, Yasawas and Rakiraki islands. Helicopter transfers are available from the Airport or Denarau to Sheraton Tokoriki, Mana, Matamanoa, Tadrai, Tokoriki, Vomo or between Mamanuca Resort Lomani, Musket Cove, Namotu, Plantation, Tavarua, Treasure, Castaway, Likuliku, Wadigi, Tropica Outrigger, Shangri-La, Intercontinental Resort and Spa, Warwick & Naviti (Coral Coast).
If you are travelling to the islands, there are a couple of ways to get out and back. 1. Seaplane or Helicopter return flights 2. Seaplane or Helicopter one way, then book ferry transfers for the return leg. 3. Combination flight - Seaplane one way and return by helicopter.
You might get lucky with an upgrade from a seaplane to the helicopter; we met another family that was booked to go back to the mainland via seaplane but placed on the chopper instead. Such a nice way for them to finish a family holiday at Castaway Island.
James is the founder of Little Nomads a family-focused travel site where he shares his experiences about travelling with kids. You can have a conversation with James on twitter @littlenomads or via his Facebook page.