Tongatapu 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 Markets 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.
Our favourite things to see and do 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 metres into the air. Best viewed at high tide. This is a neverending 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 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 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 Europeans 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. DAY TRIP TO AN ISLAND RESORT – During your stay in Tongatapu why not take a day cruise out to one of the two tropical resorts on offer: Fafa Island Resort or Royal Sunset Resort. Cruise to one of these islands and spend your day swimming and snorkelling in the crystal clear waters, sunbathing or simply relaxing under the shade of a coconut tree enjoying the atmosphere. True Island Style! VENTURE OUT TO THE WESTERN BEACHES – If you are wanting to head to some beautiful white sand beaches with great snorkelling in pristine warm water then make sure you head out to one of the Western beaches for the day. Pack a picnic and laze the day away. HA’AMONGA TRILITHON – This is one of the most prominent sites on Tongatapu. The Ha’amonga’ a Maui is located on the eastern tip of Tongatapu Island near the villages of Niutoua and Afa. This is the area where the eleventh Tongan King Tu’i Tonga Tu’itatui had his seat of power. It is believed that Tu’i Tu’itatui built the giant stone arch structure in 1200 A.D and it is estimated to weigh 80 tons. The Ha’amonga has been scientifically interpreted as an early style sundial clock that recorded different seasonal changes.
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ANAHULU ANCIENT TONGA CULTURAL CENTRE – Head to the Anahulu Cultural Centre for a great day out that the whole family can enjoy. Get insights into the Tongan culture, traditions and customs. You’ll have the opportunity to watch demonstrations of tapa cloth making, mat weaving and view various exhibits on display at the centre while also enjoying the local songs and dance.
House of Travel Pacific Islands Brochure 2015