|WELCOME TO THE KINGDOM OF TONGA!|
The ancient Kingdom of Tonga is Polynesia's oldest and last remaining monarchy. The Kingdom lies 3200
km northeast of Sydney and 5000 km southwest of Hawaii. Due to its position just west of the international dateline, Tonga
is the first country in the world to usher in each new day. The Kingdom of Tonga comprises 171 islands which are spread across
700,000 sq km of ocean. Tongatapu, the main gateway to the islands, is served by Air New Zealand with direct
flights from Auckland, Apia and Los Angeles, by Air Pacific and Fiji Air with direct flights from Fiji and by Polynesian Airlines
with direct flights from Auckland and Apia, Western Samoa.
(See the section on airfares for airline schedules and fares).
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|Tongatapu (meaning "Sacred South") will be your first port of call in the Kingdom. Tongatapu is relatively flat, however, does have
a variety of natural features to explore: Caves, blowholes, coral reefs and several archaeological sites. Nuku'alofa, its
capital, is a seaside town with a population of some 22,000 people. |
It houses the seat of government and is home to the
The Royal Palace on the waterfront is a beautiful white, Victorian
residence and has become a symbol
of Tonga to the world.
Nuku'alofa is also Tonga's industrial and cultural centre.
|The off-shore islands of Atata, Fafa and Pangaimotu have white sandy beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters and are perfect spots to spend a Sunday afternoon or better still
spend a few days. Diving, swimming, snorkelling, sailing, wind surfing and kayaking are all activities you can enjoy. The
Government of Tonga has established marine reserves which provide excellent snorkelling. Hakaumama'o Reef Reserve, Monu'afe
Island Park, Pangaimotu Reef Reserve and Malinoa Island support octopuses, groupers, damselfish, clownfish and various shell
fish. See Day Tours for island and snorkelling trips to these marine reserves.
||The Tongan Island Group also comprises Eua Island, The Ha'apai Group, The Vava'u Island Group, and
the Niua Island Group. These islands feature marvelous beaches, fine diving and snorkelling.|
Eua Island is a 2 hours ferry trip from Tongatapu.
Eua is dramatically different from the other island groups with its rugged landscape with tropical
rain forests, caves, bush lands, sandy beaches and dramatic cliffs.
Bush Walking is a popular activity and there is whale
watching from July-October.
Cave diving is the newest discovered secret on the island.
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The islands of the Ha'apai Group are located in the centre of the Kingdom and are 100km north of Tongatapu. They are low-lying atolls with beautiful deserted
white sandy beaches lined with palm trees. The Ha'apai Group consists of 62 islands, however only two islands: Lifuka and
Foa Islands offer a standard level of tourist accommodation. Sandy Beach Resort on the Island of Foa offers diving, snorkelling,
kayaking, and a magnificent white sandy beach with excellent swimming. Check out the Island Combinations for holiday packages combining various Tongan Group Islands. Trips range from 2 days to 9 days and include two or more islands
featuring round trip airfare, airport transfers, accommodation and meals where specified.
The Vava'u group of islands situated 240km north of Tongatapu have one of the most picturesque yacht harbours in the world and is known
for its excellent diving,snorkeling,game fishing,sea kayaking, sailing and whale watching. There are 64 islands with most
of them high and densely forested. There are 31 of these islands that remain uninhabited. The islands of Vava'u offer some
of the world's finest sailing areas with their safe anchorages and secluded coves. Neiafu, the capital city of the Vava'u
Group is a quaint seaside town that comes to life when its harbours fill with yachts and whales from July to October. During
this time visitors can watch the mama whales playing with their new-born calves. A popular activity is whale watching and
also diving and snorkelling with the whales. Vava'u is also fisherman's paradise with marlin and other game fish. Besides
being a yachting haven and hosting one of the most popular game fishing tournaments in the South Pacific, Vava'u is also renowned
year round for its diving, snorkelling, sailing and sea kayaking activities.
The Niuas are situated 400km north of Vava'u. Because they are so remote, they offer a unique travel experience as few tourists have
discovered this magical paradise.The remote Niuas (meaning rich in coconuts) consist of 3 small volcanic islands; Niuatoputapu, Niuafo'ou and Tafahi. Because the Niuas have very little tourism, Tongan tradition remains very much alive and life has changed very little throughout
the years. There is no air service to the Niuas since the demise of Royal Tongan Airlines, however, Air Peau (the new domestic
air carrier) has advised that the intention is to begin services sometime next year. There is currently a ferry service to
the Niuas with approximately 6 sailings per year. Visitors who make the effort to visit the Niuas are rewarded with a true
cultural experience, magnificent scenery, and beautiful beaches.
|Tonga has been named "The Friendly Islands" as they are renowned for their friendly population. Although Tongan is the major
language, English is widely spoken throughout most of the island group. During your visit to Tonga, you will want to experience
a local feast with island dancing. Tongan dances for females are subtle, artistic and require the dancer to convey meaning
with an economy of motion. Their costumes are decorated with leaves, beads, shells, flowers and pandanus. They sway, sing,
smile broadly and tell stories with their hand movements. While the female dances are gentle and accompanied by music, the
male dances are meant to convey the fierce warrior spirit of Tongan tradition. The movements are rapid using spears, clubs,
drumming, beating and fierce cries. Fire Dancing is also very popular in Tonga. |
|| Check (Above)
the Tonga Island Section
for all that Tonga has to offer
for your up coming