Leaving 'Eua was a lot simpler than our journey there - we took the plane back instead of the ferry. This is probably the shortest commercial flight in the world, being just over 8 minutes long. The plane was small, only fitting around 12 passengers, but as the ferry was not running, it was the only way off the island. I have to say, I'm not a big fan of small planes, but I managed to hold myself together for the short flight.
Our last few days we planned to spend at a beach resort, Vakaloa. This resort was once favoured by the old King. It actually wasn't too pricey, although a bit more than our earlier budget accommodation. When we arrived, we also realised that they had upgraded us for free! Our last few days were spent in luxury!
The verandah outside the rooms.
My bed - the room was massive, and there was another big bed opposite this one, as well as a sofa and other furniture. And an ensuite with hot water shower! Look closely and you can even see the roses decorating the bed!
The beach at the resort.
There were very few people staying there, and we were pretty much the only people on the beach that day. We also went swimming and snorkelling too - saw a few interesting fish underneath the waves! Unfortunately a tropical storm was closing in on the region so the weather started to turn the day we spent on the beach, but we still had a great day.
One of the main reasons we chose to stay at Vakaloa is because they held a Tongan feast and cultural show, and we had missed out on the one at Hina Cave. Surprisingly there were only a handful of foreigners there, many of the guests were Tongans. I think a lot of the groups were families who had brought their visiting relatives, or work groups coming for a night out.
The feast was huge, with many traditional vegetables and dishes. I confess I steered clear of the seafood ones, but I was told they were also delicious!
Roast pig anyone?
Guests going up for seconds.
After the meal, the show began. There were several different types of dance represented, not just Tongan, but also other Pacific island dances. The costumes were beautiful too.
One of the guests a German/Kiwi guy who was at our table, volunteered to play the drums, and actually did a fantastic job - the other drummers were impressed!
I believe this young schoolgirl has recently won competitions for her dancing.
Then came the highlight - fire dancing!
Usually this is done outside on the deck or beach, but because of the storm the winds were too strong, so a modified version was performed instead. I caught some on video too!
The next day it was time for me to leave Tonga and say goodbye to my friend R, who was heading back home to Canada! So a pretty sad day for me. She was heading back to the capital, Nuku'alofa to spend another couple of days in Tonga. Unfortunately I had to go back to work. Actually it turned out I was pretty lucky to leave on the day I did, as not long afterwards the cyclone hit Tonga and wreaked havoc. Luckily my friend stayed safe and eventually made it home herself.
I had a great, relaxing holiday in Tonga, even managed a bit of a tan (novelty for me!) It was a wonderful first taste of the Pacific Islands, and I'll certainly be back one day. Not to mention visit a few of the other places in the Pacific. I wish I was there right now actually, as I am writing this in the middle of freezing cold Dunedin winter!