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TONGATAPU

KINGDOM OF TONGA

         

This is the kingdom's largest island. Its name means 'sacred land' or 'sacred south' and it is where the majority of visitors come. It is here that the international airport of Fua'amotu is situated along with the major shipping facilities for international passenger and cargo vessels, as well as inter-island craft and cruising yachts.

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A relatively flat island, it has a network of roads which make it easy to get around, whatever transport you choose. Most of Tonga has bitumen roads.

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Although not particularly large, Tongatapu requires two full days to explore since its attractions consist of historical sites and beautiful beaches on the eastern half of the island and natural landmarks on the western side.  

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Ha'atafu Beach is at the western extremity and there are three roads leading across the island to it. The first route is the Hihifo Road which runs from Queen Salote College via the villages of Puke, Fatai, Nukunuku, Teekiu and Masilamea.

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Tongatapu narrows considerably as it runs west into a peninsula-like section which is called the Kolovai District. It was once called Hihifo and figured frequently in the history of Tonga.

The second route is Taufa'ahau Road and runs across the middle of the island, through Haveluloto, almost a continuation of the capital, thanks to urban sprawl. It skirts Fanga Uta Lagoon until it reaches Vaiola Hospital completed in 1971.

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Opposite Vaiola on the banks of the lagoon is the Tongan National Centre, complex of ten buildings of various traditional sizes and an open air amphitheatre.

The large village of Pea en route is an extremely important centre in historical terms for it was here that opposition to the efforts of King George Tupou I to forcibly turn Tonga into a unified, Christian kingdom was strongest.

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The third route is Liku road which runs all the way from the island's western to its eastern tip through the village of Tokomololo. Proceed down one of the lanes which leads to the coast and you will find Keleti Beach Resort, a collection of fales (thatched houses) overlooking a superb small beach with dramatic, slightly uplifted fringing reef. The formation creates a blowhole effect when the tide and wind are right.

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Tongatapu's eastern section is regarded by many as the more interesting half of the island since it has several beaches and the ancient burial site of the Langi Tombs, some 28 royal burial sites named for their terraced style construction. Tradition has it that the massive stones from which they were constructed were brought from Uvea (Wallis Island) hundreds of kilometres to the north.

The Ha'amonga structure nearby has impressive statistics and has been compared to Stonehenge in England. It is made up of two vertical stones with a horizontal stone connecting and morticed into them. The upright portions are said to each weigh between 30 and 40 tonnes.

Captain Cook's landing place where he used to sit under a Banyan tree while watching the ceremony of the first fruits as the guest of Pau, the Tu'i'Tonga is marked by a park and at Anahulu beach there are some remarkable limestone caves complete with stalactites and freshwater pools in which to swim.

ACCOMMODATION

INTERNATIONAL DATELINE HOTEL

A mere ten minute's walk from the capital, Nuku'alofa, brings you to the lush tropical surroundings and prime waterfront location of the International Dateline Hotel.

The hotel complex comprises two conference rooms with full business facilities, swimming pool and 76 air-conditioned guest rooms which feature tea and coffee-making facilities, refrigerators, direct-dial telephones, music and views of the magnificent deep water harbour. Several rooms can also interconnect to form family suites.

Tonga's Leading Hotel

For a taste of Polynesian culture the fully licensed restaurant serves a wonderful selection of local delicacies in addition to international a la carte cuisine with imported wines. A spectacular Tongan floor show every Wednesday and Saturday nights provides an exciting taste of ancient Tongan culture for dinner guests. Try the new Euro-Asia Restaurant and Gourmet Lounge at the nearby Queen Salote Memorial Hall.

Crystal clear waters, beautiful white sand beaches and excellent fishing appeal to guests who prefer a relaxed vacation.

For the more active visitors, golf, horse riding, snorkelling, canoeing, as well as sightseeing tours to historic sights such as the tombs of the 13th century Kings and Queens, and the Ha'amonga Trilithon - the oldest archaeological structure in the islands - can be arranged by the tour desk staff. Evening tours that include the famous Hina Caves and traditional Tongan feasts are also popular activities.

Nuku'alofa has exclusive shopping, car rental and yacht charters, while the in-hotel shop offers a fine range of duty free goods including coral jewellery, perfume, electronic equipment, local carvings, tapa cloth and oven wares at some of the cheapest prices in the Pacific.

The friendly warmth and hospitality of Tonga is reflected in the hotel staff who are dedicated to making your vacation both enjoyable and memorable.

 For More Information Contact:

INTERNATIONAL DATELINE HOTEL

P.O. Box 39
Nuku'alofa
KINGDOM OF TONGA
Telephone: +676 23411
Facsimile: +676 23410
E-mail: idh@candw.to

PARADISE INTERNATIONAL HOTEL

Located on Vava'u, 1.5 kilometres from Neiafu, the capital, the Paradise International Hotel features deluxe suites which are situated on lush green slopes. From these suites, guests have magnificent views of the unspoiled Port of Refuge Harbour.

The units are air-conditioned and most suites have two double beds, a lounge suite, a writing desk, a refrigerator, tea and coffee-making facilities, and a large bathroom. Economy rooms are also available.

SPECTACULAR HARBOUR VIEWS

Sunbathing, swimming, sailing, windsurfing, water skiing, shell collecting, fishing, scuba diving, horse-back riding, exploring the islands, harbour cruising and shopping are some of the alternatives to simply relaxing at the poolside bar.

During pre-dinner cocktails, visitors are serenaded by the local band as the sun sinks slowly behind the swaying palm trees. Then it's on to sampling local delicacies in the hotel, restaurant or at a traditional feast.

For More Information Contact:

PARADISE INTERNATIONAL HOTEL

P.O. Box 11
Neiafu, Vava'u
KINGDOM OF TONGA
Telephone: +676 70211
Facsimile: +676 70184
E-mail: paradise@candw.to

 click here Tonga Home Page             
    click here Tonga Postcards                   
    click here Jane's Oceania Home Page 
 
 
Jane Resture
(E-mail: jane@janeresture.com -- Rev. 15th September 2010)