Tonga Travel Blog› entry 3 of 3 › view all entries
Of all the islands we visited in Tonga Eua was definately our favorite. Eua is so beautiful and like the rest of Tonga large scale tourism does not exist. It's easy to get to, around 7 minutes on the plane from Tongatapu or there is the ferry, which apparently can be a bit of an adventure in itself.
We stayed in a place called the Hideaway which certainly lived up to it's name. It's was right on the coast so you could hear the sound of the waves crashing from the room, and was the perfect place to watch whales either whilst eating breakfast or from the specially built whale watching platform (see photo). Even though it was the end of the season we saw humpback whales everyday whilst we were in Eua. (To be honest it was a relief that we didn't see any whales on the Ha'apai trip, not only because I didn't have to swim with them, but also because the first time I saw a whale I was so excited and was "like there's a whale, there's a whale"). Needless to say whales are such a common sight in Tonga, that the locals don't really take any interest in them. O.k they weren't leaping out of the water or anything but it was amazing how close to the beaches they came, and we were happy just to see them spraying great plumes of water in the air, and the sight of their tails slidding into the water was fantastic.
Eua has it's own unique wildlife, and offers the best hiking in Tonga. So it was on with the hiking-boots and off to the look-out points. From these you get a wonderful view down to the beach, the parrots and white-tailed tropic birds flying below, over the tropical rain-forest that is Eua National park. Then it's a steep walk down through the park, time for a rest on the beach and then a long steep walk back up. The other hike you can take down to surprise, surprise another beautiful beach, is kinda more of a climb. Simon went flying at one point and ended up with a nasty gash in his arm, and I ended up asking if they could just leave me in a cave. (quite a few of the caves have skeletons in them, but the locals don't seem bothered by them). The trip was definately worth it though, because we were able to walk around the sea caves at the bottom of the cliff and enjoy the beautiful stalactites and stalagmites....and then chill out at the beach.....
We wanted to see as much of Eua as possible so we were going to go on a horse-ride, however in the end we decided to take the less scary option of a 4x4 tour..where we saw the most enormous banyan tree. It's hard to describe but it was almost like being in some sort of natural cathedral. I did a spot of weaving with some local women, which bothered me a bit..because I knew that a child was going to have to wear it to school so I wanted to do a good job. I think I did pretty well, but I needn't have worried cos I found out later that if the tourists don't do the weaving well, the local women just un-pick it once the tourists have left.
We got to see a bit more of Tongan life when we went along to a chuch dinner and dance. We were given the most enormous box of food each containing a whole lobster, octopus, fried-chicken, hot-dog sausages, chow-mein, various vegetables......all washed down with a fresh coconut.(see photo). We then watched a group singing hymns and dancing while the audience walk up and tucked money on the best performers. Apart from that once, we didn't go to church but no-matter where you are in Tonga on a Sunday you will hear the *most* beautiful singing coming from the churches.
Like the rest of Tonga we were fed very well in Eua, plenty of fresh fish and fruit..you saw the fish come up from the sea and knew it would be the next night's dinner. If you were thirsty, the guide would climb up a tree and pick you a coconut. At first we were worried that the owner of the trees might mind but in Tonga the women are seen as being always right, and the men respect this.
There was only one main downside to Eua and the rest of Tonga and that would be the Mozzies...and boy when there is a group of them do they bite. We bought some tropical strength repellent (it was so strong it felt like it was eating your skin), yet even that didn't put them off. On the plus side though, I didn't seem to react to these mozzies bites nearly as bad as I did in Canada. I guess it's just a case of using mosequito coils, nets ect.
But for the chance to see rare parrots (found only in Eua) flying over lush rain-forest, and whales swimming free in the sea (knowing that they are protected), makes the mozzie bites more bearable.