Natadola Beach, Coral Coast
Ankle Deep Water for Kids in Fiji

 
Natadola Beach on the Fijian Coral Coast is as pretty as the postcards suggest, with sweeping 180 degree views of this palm tree lined slice of paradise. The best place for kids to swim is in the shallow inlet directly south of the Natadola Beach Resort. On the ground it looks like an estuary, but it is actually just a shallow strip of water between the resort and a small island that is sitting on the coral reef. This area is well protected from waves, and for the most part the water depth is shin to thigh deep, with only a gentle current when I swam in it. Swimming in the calm waters at Natadola Beach Above: Swimming in the calm waters south of the resort at Natadola Beach

We gave rubber rings to the kids, because that they couldn't always touch the bottom. Small schools of fish swim about in the warm, shallow waters. You can't catch them, but you can easily see them in the clear water, so bring a snorkel mask if you can remember.
Natadola Beach was not however all smooth sailing with kids. This is a coral beach, not a sand beach, and consists of crushed up pieces of coral under your feet. The coral pieces have mostly been smoothed by the ocean, but the irregular shapes can still be uncomfortable to walk on, particularly for kids. I suggest you bring enclosed footwear for everyone for walking along the beach, and a pair of swimming shoes if you are standing up in the water. View of Natadola Beach from the Natadola Beach Resort Above: View of Natadola Beach from outside the Natadola Beach Resort

Getting to the beach can be a little tricky if you have never been before. Follow the "getting there" directions below to reach the parking area. Once you have parked your car, expect to be approached by the locals who work in the tents along the beachfront, selling drinks, handicrafts and offering massage. To find the shallow inlet, head onto the beach and walk left around 350 metres, passing in front of the resort (but don't go into the resort, which is not open to visitors). You can also swim in the bay itself, but it was a little choppy when I visited, so most people were swimming in the inlet.
Essential Information Before You Go:
Location: Natadola Beach, Natadola Harbour, 50 km (approx. 1 hr drive) south of the Nadi town centre
Latitude:-37.888744 Longitude:145.037841
Getting there: Take Queens Road to Kabisi on the Coral Coast, then turn south along the unnamed sealed road towards Natadola Beach. This turn is well signposted. Travel for 7 km until you see the turn off to the Natadola Beach Resort. Take this sealed road for 230 metres to the top of the hill, then turn right down a bumpy unsealed road (2WD suitable in dry weather at the time of my visit). If you reach the Natadola Beach Resort sentry guards, then you have missed the dirt road turnoff, and will need to backtrack to the top of the hill. Follow the dirt road for 1.1 km down a steep hill and it will lead you to a free parking area on the beach, right next to the resort. Tour companies can also take you to the beach, or hire a driver.
General facilities: Private vendors selling drinks, crafts, horse rides and massage services
Baby change facilities: None
Sun shade: No shade available on the beach. Limited shade under the palm trees off the beach.
Entrance fee: None
Opening times: Always open
Wheelchair access: None
Prohibitions: None stated on site, other than to not enter the resort unless you are staying there
Managing authority: None
Accommodation Options: If you have a fistful of Fijian dollars, you can stay at the Natadola Beach Resort, otherwise here is some alternative accommodation along the Coral Coast
Nearby attractions: Orchid Waterfall near Nadi
Before you head out, make sure to read the water safety information.
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