Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tonga Holiday, part 3

After a couple of days on the main island of Tongatapu, we went to spend a couple of days on another island, Eua. Eua is a 2.5hr ferry ride from Tongatapu (or an 8 minute flight!) The island mostly appeals to people who want a more outdoorsy trip or just a quiet break. In the right season it is great for whale watching - unfortunately not when we went. There are, however, plenty of other things to do, such as walks, diving, and caving.

The ferry trip over was absolutely horrific. My friend spent the entire time outside at the railings and most of the Tongans were seasick too. Luckily I don't get seasick, though even I wasn't feeling too flash.

We had booked to stay at a place called the Hideaway and they came to pick us up from the ferry terminal. From the moment I got there I knew I'd love it - it has a great atmosphere and the staff are very friendly and helpful.

The main building - the wooden side is the dining/relaxing area and is great to chill out in during the evening.

We chose to stay in a 'fale' - a thatched hut. We stayed in the far one pictured. They are basic but cute! All that was missing was a hammock!

The dining area as viewed from the whale watching deck down by the ocean.

A lovely quiet beach just a short stroll from the Hideaway.

The next day we opted to do the Fangatave Beach Trek, a full-ish day trek down to a secluded beach through caves and forest. We were joined by a couple of other guests, and guided by Sifa, who did a great job. We were driven to the start of the track, which I think was in the northern part of the island (?) but I can't quite be sure. Riding on benches in the back of the Ute we drove past the King's residence (which was really a small holiday house) and through a couple of pretty villages. The people of Eua do seem to take a lot of pride in their gardens, most well landscaped with the lawns trimmed and green.

A short walk through a field took us to the cliff's edge.

Sifa heading towards the cliffs.

The gorgeous view from the cliff edge.

Fangatave Beach - our destination far below!

We then headed through some gently sloping forest - some trees had very impressive root systems.

Then came the hard part - climbing down the cliff face!

After the climbing, we walked through a series of caves.

Stunning stalactites and stalagmites.

Then it was time for a break, and Sifa climbed a coconut tree to bring us fresh snacks!

Yummy fresh coconuts straight off the tree - tasted much better than my first coconut drink!

Then it was time to head through some more caves...

Some were a tight squeeze!

And some involved a leap of faith! Why did I always end up as the first to do it??

Eventually we made to this beautiful secluded beach!

We spent a few hours at the beach, had our picnic lunch, went for a warm luxurious swim, sunbathed and fell asleep on the beach! We were the only ones there! I can't imagine this beach ever gets many visitors, which just made it paradise.

We took a different route back up the cliffs, which didn't involve crawling through caves, but did involve a longer climb to reach the forest path.

I climbed up first, which meant I could photograph the rest of the group following me up.

Eventually we made it back to the top! It was a tough but rewarding walk and a very memorable day. I thoroughly recommend the walk. And it's always good to make a few new friends!

Sifa, don't jump!

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