• Email: wliu@aut.ac.nz
  • | Email: bcusack@aut.ac.nz

Side-Trip Options

1. Day Trips

Walking: Nuku’alofa markets, Tonga Museum, the Palace, the oceanfront, and downtown


Bus: The Blow-holes, Captain Cook Landing Spot, The Villagers, and The Lookout

1. Whistle of the Noble

The Mapu a Vaea or "Whistle of the Noble" are natural blowholes on the island of Tongatapu in the village of Houma in the Kingdom of Tonga.When waves crash into the reef, natural channels in the volcanic rock allow water to forcefully blow through and create a plume-like effect. It is one of the highlights of the tours around the island of Tongatapu. "Vaea" is the name of the Honorable Vaea Family of nearby Houma.

2. Captain Cook Landing Spot

Visit the site where Captain James Cook landed on 30th April 1777. Here you will also witness a variety of interesting exhibits, provided by the local Womens' Group, which gives an insight into the local culture and customs. Learn the fascinating myth of the coconut’s origin and observe the traditional methods of obtaining coconut milk. The women will demonstrate making an ‘umu (Tongan traditional underground oven), pounding tapa from the bark of the mulberry tree into a cloth and the weaving of mats used as clothing and floor covering. As fruit refreshments are served, sit and relax while witnessing the Tongan Solo dance.

Ha'amonga 'a Maui Trilithon in Tonga

There is a legend in Polynesia, which says that if one passes through the Ha'amonga 'a Maui Trilithon, one will get to the kingdom of an ancient local god, and then come back safe and sound.  

Ha'amonga 'a Maui Trilithon , also known as the Tonga gate, is located on the island of Tongatapu, where James Cook landed in the XVIII century. This island has made it a pleasant impression on the captain because of its lush vegetation, and he christened it the "Garden of greenery."

The mysterious Trilithon structure was found hiding in the thickets of foliage, and the first question of the historians was about its origins. The Trilithon is a burial place, which is lined with 4 meter blocks cut from the coral, which cannot be found on the island. It is still unknown who and how delivered these massive coral blocks to the island. In general, all the structures of Tongatapu get a great deal of attention from ufologists, who claim that these are works of an alien civilization.


2. Overnight Trips

Fafaa Island Resort

Tonga’s most exclusive beach resort is on an 18 acre palm covered atoll surrounded by coral reef under Marine Reserve status, located 7 km north of Nuku’alofa.

The 13 traditional polynesian fales are built with natural materials and tropical wood. The Honeymoon, Deluxe and Superior Fales are just a few steps away from the beach with unobstructed views of the ocean and each with its own private beach. All Fales have a courtyard with semi open-air bathroom and shower in a flower garden.

The open air restaurant offers the best dining in Tonga, together with a tropical cocktail bar. Fafa offers island living, a true Robinson hideaway for people wanting to get away.


Royal Sunset Island Resort - Atata Island

Enjoy a relaxing tropical island holiday in Tonga at The Royal Sunset Island Resort either on the beach or by the pool. There is a range of fun adventure activities for those looking for a little action including Game Fishing, Snorkelling, Scuba Diving, Kayaking and many more!


Pangimotu Island Resort

Pangaimotu Island Resort is a small island just 10 minutes by boat from Nuku'alofa Wharf. The resort offers four rather dischevelled traditional thatch bungalows, each with double bed with mosquito net, private bathroom (cold water only) and sitting area. There's a restaurant / bar area offering cold drinks and all day meals. The island is most popular as a day trip destination with a good beach and decent snorkelling around a ship wreck.