Tonga

Savour the Timeless Tranquillity

Relatively undeveloped, Tonga embraces the quiet, casual ambience that seems synonymous with island life. The main island of Tongatapu boasts a wealth of archaeological treasures, endless strips of beautiful, deserted beaches and the national capital of Nuku'alofa, which most of the population, including the royal family, call home. A study in contrasts,

Tongatapu offers some captivating coastal and cliff top walks, fascinating royal tombs (langi), magnificent limestone caves and a bustling tropical crawl along empty roads at 40 kilometres an hour and nobody is ever in a hurry; where absolutely everything shuts down on Sundays and where you can fish, swim, snorkel or soak up the sun to your hearts content.

Even more special are the coral islands just of Tongatapu's coast. Visually spectacular and virtually uninhabited, they are true Pacific jewels, complete with sparkling beaches and sensational offshore snorkelling. While several offer accommodation, such as Fafa Island, most are deserted and only accessed on day-trip adventures

Even further flung, the Ha'apai, Vava'u and Niuas Island groups still live largely according to traditional customs. Accommodation in Tonga mimics the casual lifestyle, often using tradition Tongan-style beach side bungalows

Insiders' Tips

  • The Local Spirit: Taste-test a local inebriator, kava. Not to be confused with 'cava', this midly narcotic traditional drink comes from the root of the kava plant.
  • Explore Eua's National Park. A short flight from Tongapatu, discover the island of Ha'apai on foot or on horseback.
  • Shop at Nuku'alofa Markets: This colourful market is an excellent place to sample the local produce and buy traditional handicrafts.
  • Game for Fishing: The beautiful waters of Vava'u offer anglers the opportunity to fish for Blue Marlin, Dogtooth Tuna, Wahoo and Giant Trevally.

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