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Tongatapu, Tonga

Tonga South Pacific
Tonga South Pacific

Tongatapu, Tonga

story by: House of Travel

Nuku’alofa, Tonga’s capital, will be almost certainly your first taste of the kingdom. With about a third of all Tonga’s population living here, Nuku’alofa can be a surprisingly bustling place but its size also means there’s a great array of restaurants, nightclubs and dynamic cultural shows. There’s plenty to see too, such as the Talamahu Market with its mounds of fresh produce and selection of handcrafts, including wood carving and jewellery. Although the Royal Palace is not open to visitors, you can admire this white-timber 19th century building from the waterfront. Try to time your visit to town to include a Sunday. Tongans are ardent churchgoers and their singing is legendary. Everyone’s welcome but make sure to pack your Sunday best.


• BLOWHOLES – Visit the Blowholes along the rocky terraced coastline of Houma. Here you will find the largest spouts of sea water being thrown almost 30 meters into the air. Best viewed at high tide. This is a never ending impressive display of the power of the sea. Buses to Houma from Nuku’alofa take about 30 minutes.

• OHOLEI BEACH & HINA CAVES – 40 minutes from Nuku’alofa. ‘Oholei’ is popular for its great traditional Tongan buffet style dinner and floorshow inside ‘Hina Cave’. This happens Wednesdays and Fridays and is $30.00 per person for dinner and show. It is advisable to call to make reservations and transport from Nuku’alofa to Oholei can be arranged at a cost of  $12.00 per person return.

• CHURCH SERVICE – A Sunday visit to church is a ‘must do’ experience. All churches welcome visitors, however a major portion of the service is conducted in Tongan. If there are a number of European people present the pastor may translate some of the service into English. Well worth a visit to hear the lovely pure singing. St Joseph’s Cathedral Church is located in central Neiafu and is a beautiful landmark to visit.

• FLYING FOXES – 20 kms from town, at the village of Kolovai, home to thousands of native pekas or fruit bats flying between the trees overhead. They are considered sacred and a delicacy to be consumed only by members of the Royal Family.

• DAY TRIP TO FAFA ISLAND – If you’re not planning on staying at this luxurious ‘island style’ resort then plan to do a day trip. A 35 minute boat trip from Nuku’alofa – laze on the beach and indulge in a wonderful gourmet lunch in the resorts restaurant overlooking the sea. The boat departs Nuku’alofa daily at 11:00am and returns at 4:30pm.

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