Tonga

Malo e lelei!
Thank you to Air New Zealand who made it all too easy to book my flights spontaneously with my Airpoints. After a smooth trip from Wellington - Auckland - Nuku'alofa, we were greeted by torrential rain. I remained hopeful that the sun would come out tomorrow. We were pretty knackered from the flight, so we decided to stay in town for the night. Shoutout to Little Italy for exceptional care of us! It's a beautiful property right on the waterfront. Waking up to the vastness of the Pacific ocean was hard to beat. 

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The next morning we decided to move to the other side of the island and meet up with friends. Rain or shine, Heilala Holiday Lodge is a quaint and beautiful resort. Despite the rain, Miles and I decided to grab one of the free kayaks and head out on the water. You needn't paddle far to experience the crystal clear tropical waters Tonga is known for. It was incredible to see the marine life so clearly.  I enjoyed staying here. We had a fale to ourselves. Though basic, it was clean and adequate for what we needed. They also provide hammocks to set up in front of the fales. 

 

The selection for meals is reasonably simple. You have to let them know in advance if you are planning on dining with them. Being used to instant gratification, I completely forgot to prepare for Miles' birthday. He didn't even have a cake! Whoops!  I made up for it the next day before we headed off to another island. We stopped at a cafe and overindulged in cakes. 


'Eua is one of the oldest islands in Tonga. It is 42 km east of the main island of Tongatapu, Nuku'alofa. It is the least developed island which is why it is commonly referred to as 'the forgotten island'. Together with ʻAta, ʻEua was said to be the first island to be created by Tangaloa. The ferries leave from Tongatapu – if you’re prone to seasickness, take some seasickness pills and your eyes on the horizon. And if you want to avoid the ferry trip altogether, Real Tonga offers a 10-minute daily flight between the islands. That’s one of the shortest scheduled commercial flights in the world! 

Miles and I decided to go for a snorkel. The beach was about 10 minutes from the lodge. Our trusty companion, Jazz (named her) ran along with us all the way there. After battling the strong currents and waves I made my way back into shore with a few cuts and bruises. It started raining... Miles and I just lay in a rock pool. Appreciating the stillness and beauty that surrounded us. It was so peaceful. It felt like we were the only two people on earth at that moment. 

Miles and I decided to go for a snorkel. The beach was about 10 minutes from the lodge. Our trusty companion, Jazz (named her) ran along with us all the way there. After battling the strong currents and waves I made my way back into shore with a few cuts and bruises. It started raining... Miles and I just lay in a rock pool. Appreciating the stillness and beauty that surrounded us. It was so peaceful. It felt like we were the only two people on earth at that moment. 

As it is quite an isolated island, be sure to stock up on snacks and specific food if you know you're going to want it. There was a little store near our lodge, but the weather was so questionable while we were there they were not able to re-stock the store. In saying that, the lodge we stayed at did offer basic meals if you let them know well in advance. There is also a little restaurant on the island across the store that serves basic meals for $5-$7. 

'Eua is perfect if you enjoy wild adventures. As the island has not been developed, it was truly a journey trying to find the hidden treasures the island had to offer. There were barely any signs nor people to ask for directions from. We were lucky that there was another traveller there who had been shown around by a previous traveller. Word of mouth was the easiest way to find information as we barely had phone service/WiFi. We didn't do any prior research either. The island is not walkable either so you will have to find your way around. We managed to get the lodge to drop us off and pick us up for a nominal fee. 

We started off uphill on a dirt road. Unfortunately, I didn't bring appropriate footwear with me, but luckily Miles is a clever man. He suggested that I use dive booties. Best.decision.ever! Mainly because lots of the track was wet and muddy.  Here are the adventures we had on 'Eua...

The 'Eua Banyan trees (Strangling fig tree)

are quite grand in person. This particular tree is 800+-year-old. One of the oldest in the country and certainly one of the oldest I've personally seen. 

are quite grand in person. This particular tree is 800+-year-old. One of the oldest in the country and certainly one of the oldest I've personally seen. 

Ana Ahu or Smoke Cave

...which is a vertical sinkhole that seemingly has no end! Yes, that is mahooosive mosquito bite on my back

...which is a vertical sinkhole that seemingly has no end! Yes, that is mahooosive mosquito bite on my back

Rat's Cave

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Fangatave Caves and Beach Trek  We got lost a few times trying to find the paths... till we got saved by a man wielding a rifle on the hunt for chickens! As you do right?

Fangatave Caves and Beach Trek
We got lost a few times trying to find the paths... till we got saved by a man wielding a rifle on the hunt for chickens! As you do right?

Tons of hermit crabs freely roaming and eating out of the coconuts on the island

Tons of hermit crabs freely roaming and eating out of the coconuts on the island

This trek was by far my favourite. Despite the fact that it was difficult to get to and find, it ended up being the most rewarding for me. We had to scale rock faces and ledges. There are ropes to use as leverage when climbing. Hidden at the base of the cliffs is a spectacular sea cave system with fluted columns and stalagmites. This trip takes about five and a half hours. It also opens up to a beautiful, secluded beach, inaccessible by boat. Rugged coastline, rockpools and marine life abound. 

We would have gone climbing had the weather cooperated. But in saying that the trek to the beach was pretty fun and included a bit of climbing... :) 

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Morning fishing expedition
Most successful fishing expedition I've been on. It was my first and definitely won't be my last! Although I was seasick for most of it, it was amazing just to be out on the ocean again. I was lying on my back trying not to throw up. All of a sudden there was a massive commotion... Miles had caught something! Hello Mahi Mahi! Biggest fish I've ever held. Holy moly!

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All in all, a great trip with my favourite person. Thanks to Laura for organising the trip for the most part! Brilliant idea. Till the next one! 

Besos,