After 10 days in Tonga, both me and my friend Holly felt that we had exhausted the tourist attractions and things to do on this small island nation. We had previously spent five days in Nuka'alofa, the capital of Tonga and a further five days on the small island of Eua to the east of Tonga. We now had a further three days on a resort on the western coast of the main island Tongatapu.
After getting off the ferry blissfully sea-sickness free (read my previous blog to hear about this experience!) we hailed a taxi and made our way to the west of the island to the Vakaloa Beach Resort. The west of Tongatapu is famed for it's lagoon and reefs which make for calm seas and pristine beaches. Our resort was small , with room for around 50 guests and a large banquet hall for cultural performances and meals. However, just like our first accommodation in Nuku'alofa there were only a handful of tourists staying. This made for a very quiet atmosphere and we did feel at a loss of things to do. Having already spent many days exploring the island there was nothing much to do around the resort apart from relax!
So that is just what we did. With a nice coral lagoon to swim in and white sand we spent most of our time sunbathing, going for walks to the other neighbouring resorts and making use of the WiFi the resort offered to catch up with our family and have some downtime after a month of little WiFi and constant travel. Vakaloa had a modest but varied menu with some lovely fresh fish. Although vegetarian options were not on the menu the staff were very accommodating and made me some great simple dishes.
We also explored the neighbouring resorts such as Likualofa Beach Resort which had a novel saltwater swimming pool. We had lunch here and enjoyed watching guests try to swim in this tidal pool.
We also walked to Abel Tasman's landing spot once again and tried to find the Bat Sanctuary a second time! We were unsuccessful despite walking up and down that road many times.
Holly left early on the third day with my flight scheduled for 7pm that evening. I spent the day taking in some final sun and reflecting on the last year of travel. My next flight was to take me to Auckland to start my new adventure. I had little to no plans for my time in New Zealand's biggest city and had only booked a hostel for the week after I arrived. With a lot of unknowns in my future I sat back on that white beach in the middle of nowhere and enjoyed my last slice of paradise.
Tonga is a fascinating country and I learnt so much from this small island nation. Life is simple here and nothing runs to clockwork. Business is second to family and the sense of community here is huge. Although their tourist infrastructure is still very limited I hope that in the future more people stray to Tonga to get a sense of the real heart of the Pacific.
Whilst we are unable to travel right now due to Covid-19, I would like to recommend this book which covers a little bit of Tonga's history with the rest of the world. The novel is written by Grant Hyde and is called the 'Lords of the Pacific'. It imparts a little bit of history sprinkled with fiction. I read this whilst travelling in Tonga and really enjoyed the read, especially as I could link the places in the book to where we were travelling.
"The year is 1793 and having suffered at the hands of Tonga's evil King Tiu'puloto for loo long, the Island Nations of the South pacific are poised on the brink of civil war.
When two rebels challenger the Kings power they narrowly escape with thier life and seek sanctuary with the rebel tribes of Ha'apai.
Meanwhile the British and French continue their relentless quest to colonise the South Pacific and run into trouble in Tonga's waters. Who will emerge as the Lords of the pacific? "
Get the ebook here.