Blogs from Tonga, Oceania


Oceania » Tonga » Vava'u July 28th 2014

It's Tonga time! After the snow of New Zealand, time to do any kids dream, time to swim with the whales. So after visiting Palau, French Polynesia, Fiji and PNG over the last few years, the next island of the South Pacific is calling, I name Vava'u. Vava'u is one of the 180 something islands of Tonga. The country is actually a set of three archipelagos with around 110,000 inhabitants. There is only one main international airport in Tongatapu, with flights on Air New Zealand to Auckland, Virgin Australia to Sydney and Air Pacific to Fiji. The national airline is domestic...with only 2 airplanes, a small one...and a very small propeller. So I made my way from Auckland, and transferred on a domestic flight few hours later to Vava'u. Checked luggage on RealTonga is 20kg, carry-on ... read more
Male and female...they swim way too fast for us...
Something like 80 meters visibility, and fun caves...
Dion, our guide...and his new fb profile picture!

Oceania » Tonga » Vava'u June 10th 2014

Distance – 1505 nm in 12 days at an average of 5.2 knots. Longest day’s run was 151 nm, and the shortest run was 91 nm. Crew Adam Rollo and Anna Hankin I am now sitting in the Aquarium Café on the waterfront in Neiafu. The same place where I posted several of the earlier blogs (2010) during Hakura’s previous visit. I have mixed feelings, joy at having piloted Hakura and the crew across the ocean to Tonga, pleasure at being in the warmth of the tropics, sadness as the crew have gone off for a few days on another yacht and frustration as the motor on Hakura is broken again. Two days before arriving here we found water mixed into the engine oil. This meant we were unable to use the motor from then onwards. ... read more
Marsden Cove
Anna at the helm
The Crew

Oceania » Tonga » Vava'u » Nuku February 27th 2014

21st February Nuku’alofa, Tonga Having missed the 19th February by crossing the international dateline we find ourselves in Tonga for the ships maiden port of call Nuku’alofa. This was to be an anchor port but we learnt that the new wharf had recently been completed and we were able to berth alongside the port. As it was a maiden call the band and local dignitaries were out in force but nobody told them about the weather. The approach to the port was through torrential rain (liquid sunshine) and we thought we were going to be in for a wet day. However, as we left the ship it began to brighten up but the rain had left the car parks where the coaches had parked somewhat damp/waterlogged (must be like home) Nuku’alofa is the capital ... read more

Oceania » Tonga » Tongatapu February 1st 2014

Amid the usual frivolity and fish kissing that marks the Equator crossing ceremony, we passed into the Southern Hemisphere. The seas were so smooth we hardly felt the bump when we crossed over the line. As we approached the deep harbor of Pago Pago, we were escorted into port by three leaping dolphins, two tugs and hundreds of flying fish. Pago Pago is considered the wettest harbor in the world, but fortunately we had bright, warm, sunny weather. Mt Alava, aka the “Rainmaker,” towers above the harbor in this fjord-like setting. Even though it is called American Samoa there is a lot more Samoan culture than American. There are U.S. Post Offices, Food Stamps, Mormans, McDonalds and baseball caps. But the traditions and culture are the result of over 3000 years of Polynesian heritage. Although most ... read more

Oceania » Tonga » Tongatapu May 29th 2012

29th May ‘12 – 2nd June ‘12 The Kingdom of Tonga! We landed at Nuku’alofa airport at 10.30pm and were led to the duty free shop – turns out this is the cheapest duty free in the whole of the South Pacific so after the ridiculous price in Sydney, which meant I didn’t buy any I dived in to get some cigarettes. We were met by a lovely guy called Peter (with an unfortunate cauliflower growth by his mouth) who was our lift to Toni’s Guesthouse where we were going to stay. As the ATM at the airport was out of order he stopped at one for us and also took us to a local shop where we were allowed behind the barred window counter to choose some food and drinks. The guesthouse is made up ... read more
Pangimoto Island


Oceania » Tonga » Tongatapu » Kanokupolu May 10th 2012

26.04.2012 Nach einem guten Flug kamen wir in Tonga an. Dort haben wir zwei Wochen relaxt und das gute Wetter genossen. Am 10.05. ging unser Flug zurück nach Auckland.... read more
Unsere Fale

Oceania » Tonga » Tongatapu April 8th 2012

After and awesome week discovering Sydney and it’s closeby countryside was finally heading off to Tonga. Caught early transfer to airport in case things went wrong and was way too early to checkin so had to sit around playing computer for a few hours. Man checked me into window seats for both flights though J Then finally checked in and issue with luggage, whether I had to pick it up in Aukland or could check it straight through. Finally checked straight through and went into AirNZ lounge. Very nice having dinner and a couple of rums, which with the electrical storm outside that delayed our flight was highly valued. Only had cheap seats so couldn’t watch movies and didn’t need to eat with the lounge pass anyway. Listened to Toby Keith’s Clancy’s Tavern and Brad Paisley’s ... read more
Tonga fishing
Tonga fish nets
Tongan life

Oceania » Tonga » Ha'apai January 27th 2012

On Lifuka, in the Ha’apai island group, a chance encounter led to the semi-mothballed arts and craft centre being opened for us. An elderly Tongan lady showed us how to weave with strips of dried tree bark. Her birth-marked arm and crooked arthritic finger worked faster than we could comprehend, creating a patterned mat. It was getting late, and she had to be persuaded to let Mina finish the job another day. Which she did, with admirable patience and skill. Although Ha’apai is now a relative backwater in Tongan terms, it was the site of two notable pieces of British naval history. The mutiny on the Bounty took place in these Tongan waters, in 1789. Almost twenty years later, the privateer ship Port-au-Prince was ransacked, burnt and sunk, just in the bay by where we stayed. ... read more
Brian, our divemaster
Different kind of feeding
Uoleva Island

Oceania » Tonga » Tongatapu January 20th 2012

Secret? Not really. Strange? Yes, decidedly. We visited two of Tonga’s island groups. Tongatapu, which houses the capital, Nuku’alofa, and Ha’apai, a few hundred miles to the north, and decades in the past. Tapu gives us the word taboo – the only Tongan word to make its way into English. Tonga meanwhile, means south. So Secret South it is. If the Tongans were solely responsible for their tourism, this is perhaps how it would remain. The few elements of tourist infrastructure that we saw tended to be run by foreigners, mainly Europeans. By their own admission, Tongans are not great business people. They’re not particularly keen on the beach either, meaning on our visits we usually had the sea and sand to ourselves, along with the aquatic life. So untouched are some of the waters, that ... read more
Memorial to Cpn Cook's landing
Fruit bats

Oceania » Tonga » Tongatapu February 8th 2011

I was compliaing in Bali how it's overrun by tourist. Now I'm complaining about lack of tourist infrastructure here. Those who do try to provide services for tourist, nice one, it must be a difficult business!... read more
Tongatapu from air
Dance show, Hina Cave

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