Tonga - Across the dateline
Trip Start Aug 03, 2004
11Trip End Jan 27, 2005
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
We decided whilst we were in Tonga we would make the most of our time and visit each of the three groups of islands that make up the Kingdom. After making the mistake of not booking anywhere for our first night in Samoa we had learned our lesson and had picked out what sounded like the pick of the bunch of options in the capital Nuku'alofa. The owner said on the phone that we would be picked up from the airport and sure enough on our arrival at 5.30am a girl with a 'Moana Guesthouse' board guided us to a 'clapped out van' with a middle aged Tongan lady in the back. At first we were unsure who she was but it later became clear she was the owner of the guest house
We then had a tour of Tongatapu Island with Toni, an ex-pat from Lancashire who runs a backpacker guesthouse in Tonga. He showed us the local fruit which is grown, beaches, blowholes and fresh water caves around the Island. Toni was a sight: grey haired ponytail, long socks with sandals, shorts, flat cap and a roll up fag. He went swimming in the fresh water cave in his underpants, and after getting out he put on his shorts and dried his underpants on the dashboard - class act!
We then flew (a new luxurious 37 passenger plane this time) to Vava'u, the most northerly of the islands where our main aim was to go whale watching
It was then onto Ha'apai, the middle island group, where we didn't do much as we had quite a lot of rain, but it was a quiet place anyway. We spent most of our time chilling in the Mariner's café.
It was back to Tongatapu (but not Moana's this time) before our flight to NZ. We satisfied our cravings for curry at a local restaurant with a few beers and some wine before we left - nice but not as good as the Bombay Tandoori back home.
If you decide to go to Tonga, go whale watching and for food/drink at Friends café in Nuku'alofa - it is the best café in Tonga and the staff will help you with information and bookings
- The people are friendly, but not as friendly as Soamoans
- Budget accommodation is very basic an not as clean as the same standard in Samoa
- Great to place to go whale watching in Vava'u
- They have more sophisticated planes than Samoa but the service can be unreliable due to legal wranglings
- The money is called pa'anga - we liked saying this!
- Traditional dancing is very impressive but the feast wasn't to our taste
- Friends café in Nuku'alofa is a great place for food, information and internet - western standards of service.
- Toni from Toni's place is a real character - he dries his undies on the dashboard
- It rained a lot in Ha'apaii but there wasn't that much to do anyway
- The local beer is called Ikale and is ok but Samoa's Vailima is nicer
- Whale watching
- Tongan Beach Resort in Vav'au
- Cultural Evening and Kava drinking
Soundtrack to our trip
- Red Red wine by UB40, this was played constantly in Mariner's Café in Ha'apai whilst we watched the rain.