10 Free & Cheap Things to Do on 'Eua© TongaPocketGuide.com
10 Free & Cheap Things to Do on 'Eua

10 Free & Cheap Things to Do on ‘Eua

© TongaPocketGuide.com

What to Do for Free or Cheap on ‘Eua Island

‘Eua might be Tonga’s oldest island but it still feels undiscovered with large tracts of rainforest full of bird song, rugged cliffs left to form incredible archways and beaches, and small communities with many unchanged traditions. With that, ‘Eua has a feeling of locals keen to share their island with you rather than overcharging for tours. Therefore, you’ll find many of the experiences here cheap and sometimes even free! We’ll go through just a few examples worth talking about in this list of free and cheap things to do on ‘Eua!

While you’re here, you might also be interested in The Guide to ‘Eua on a Budget and the 6 Best Budget Accommodations on ‘Eua.

1. Cool Off at Hafu Pool and Check Out Big ‘Ovava Tree #1 – FREE

Although all of ‘Eua’s natural attractions are a bit of a walk from the island’s villages, Hafu Pool and the Big ‘Ovava Tree #1 are a couple of the easiest attractions to access on foot or by rental car (therefore, making them free or very cheap). First, make your way to Hafu Pool, which is a series of refreshing freshwater pools among the forest. There are two small concrete dams to keep the water at prime dipping level but not too deep. Across the pool is a well-established trail to the “Big ‘Ovava Tree #1“. Cross the longer of the concrete dams and follow the trail for 5-10 minutes. At the fork, turn left and then left again to find the sign for the “Big ‘Ovava Tree #1”. Be mindful of your step, however, as the tree plunges deep into the caves below.

Location: Signposted between Mata’aho and ‘Esia villages down a narrow 1.8 km (1.1 mi) dirt road. A high-clearance vehicle is advised.

10 Free & Cheap Things To Do in 'Eua© TongaPocketGuide.com

2. See the Lakufa’anga Cliffs, Rock Gardens and Wild Horses – FREE

As long as you have transport to get all the way to the southern tip of ‘Eua, the walk to the Lakufa’anga Cliffs is an easy one for just about anyone to tackle – made even easier if you hire a high-clearance vehicle, as you can easily drive around the area. Highlights include unusual rock formations known as the Rock Gardens and the dramatic Lakufa’anga Cliffs which are steeped in legend and home to nesting seabirds. If you’re lucky, you might even spot wild horses galloping through the fields! Learn more about hiking around Lakufa’anga in the 5 Best Hikes on ‘Eua.

Location: South coast of ‘Eua. This site is accessible via a high-clearance rental car (like a Nissan X-Trail). Take the main road all of the way south until you reach a gate that you’ll need to open (and close behind you). The road turns into well-established grass trails for vehicles to explore the area.

10 Free & Cheap Things To Do in 'Eua© TongaPocketGuide.com

3. Marvel at the Lianga Huo ‘a Maui Landbridge – FREE

Continue east of Lakufa’anga Cliffs through the forest and you’ll come across the short walk (5-10 minutes one way) to Lianga Huo ‘a Maui. This gargantuan natural attraction is an archway or a “landbridge” carved into the southern cliffs of ‘Eua. A wooden platform gives you the perfect lookout to peer through the archway to the ocean beyond (although the platform had suffered some damage the last time we visited so watch your step).

Location: South coast of ‘Eua. From the Rock Gardens, follow the grass trail east through a short tract of forest to a parking area where a sign indicates a short walk to Lia’anga Huo ‘a Maui. Return the same way.

10 Free & Cheap Things To Do in 'Eua© TongaPocketGuide.com

4. Explore the Amazing Beaches – FREE

‘Eua is blessed with some glorious beaches, most of which are often completely secluded. ‘Eua’s beaches are ideal for walking, collecting shells (if you have kids or just like shells, dammit), watching whales and exploring tidal pools with some even big enough to snorkel in like your own human-sized aquarium! Check out Ha’aluma Beach on the south coast for its long white sandy shores and ancient Tongan stone cuts. Tufuvai Beach is also picturesque and easy to access from waterfront accommodations. ‘Ufilei Beach is just north of ‘Ohonua and is a good beach for swimming. See more activities like this in the 8 Romantic Things to Do on ‘Eua.

Location: All over ‘Eua! Find the locations of each beach mentioned in the 5 Best Beaches on ‘Eua.

10 Free & Cheap Things To Do in 'Eua© TongaPocketGuide.com

5. Check Out the Big ‘Ovava Tree #2 – FREE

There are, not one, but two “Big ‘Ovava Trees” on ‘Eua thought to be around 800 years old! Also described as an incredibly large banyan tree, Big ‘Ovava Tree #2 drapes hundreds of roots from above which delve deep down into a sinkhole below. Needless to say, you should watch your step as you explore this area. As one of the closest natural sights to the main road, Big ‘Ovava Tree #2 is an easier sight to get to if you have a 2WD rental car (park up before the road gets too rough) or are on foot. If you have some more energy, ‘Ana ‘Ahu Smoking Cave is relatively nearby, which you can learn more about in Sightseeing on ‘Eua: Top 10 Sights & Natural Attractions.

Location: Towards the east coast of ‘Eua. Follow signposts at the intersection from the main road in Kolomaile/Ha’atu’a villages. From the intersection, follow the road, which quickly turns into a dirt road, for approximately 1.6 km (1 mi) and then take the first road left. The ‘Ovava Tree is approximately 100 m (109 yards) down this track.

10 Free & Cheap Things To Do in 'Eua© TongaPocketGuide.com

6. Do Some Bird-Watching – FREE

‘Eua is renowned for its wealth of birdlife, the icon of the island being the red shining parrot, locally known as a “koki”. Other bird species encountered include noddies, white-tailed birds, swiftlets and Pacific pigeons. Watching birdlife is particularly good in the ‘Eua National Park on the east side of the island, as well as the south coast of the island where the seabird population is especially vibrant in the Lakufa’anga Cliffs area. Also, look out for the native fruitbats, known as “peka”.

Location: ‘Eua National Park and the south coast of ‘Eua. Learn more about these locations in the 5 Best Places for Bird Watching in Tonga.

10 Free & Cheap Things To Do in 'Eua© TongaPocketGuide.com

7. Spot Whales from the Shore – FREE

Between July and October, humpback whales from the Antarctic make an amazing migration to the warm waters of Tonga to mate and calve. While there are some spectacular whale watching and whale swimming experiences from ‘Eua, it is possible to enjoy the view of whales breaching and diving from the shores of ‘Eua, free of charge! Accommodation and beaches between ‘Ohonua and Tufuvai on the west side have a prime position for watching whales on the horizon. Otherwise, the national park lookouts, such as Lokupo Lookout and Lau’ua Lookout, also provide excellent views of whales on their migratory path as you look out to the world’s second-largest ocean trench. Learn more about the whale experiences in ‘Eua in The Best Whale Tours in ‘Eua.

Location: Between ‘Ohonua and Tufuvai on the west coast and from the lookouts in the ‘Eua National Park on the east coast.

10 Free & Cheap Things To Do in ‘Eua(c) tongapocketguide.com

8. Go to Church on a Sunday – FREE

Aside from doing self-guided hikes on a Sunday, budget travellers can also experience an integral part of the Tongan culture in a Sunday church service. The main reason to do this is to experience the glorious singing of the church choirs flowing through the villages. Services usually take place in the morning around 9 am/10 am and sometimes in the afternoon around 3 pm/4 pm. Visitors of any religion are welcome (for free) to experience a service for themselves.

Location: Ask your accommodation host for the nearest church. Otherwise, we list our favourites in the 10 Best Churches in Tonga for Tourists.

10 Free & Cheap Things to Do on 'Eua© TongaPocketGuide.com

12. Enjoy the Cultural Experience of a Faikava – CHEAP

Experience the ‘Eua nightlife in the most traditional sense at a faikava! The local men gather together most evenings or before Sunday church for kava session known as “faikava”. In other words, to sit in a circle, drink kava, sing harmoniously and play the guitar. Kava is a narcotic drink made from the ground roots of a kava plant, but just one drink from the coconut shell won’t have an effect. Although this is traditionally a male activity, females are welcome too.

Ask your accommodation provider if they can recommend a local faikava. You’ll find that the locals are very welcoming and are proud to share their culture with visitors. Either bring a bag of kava powder, which you can usually find at local grocery stores or leave a TOP$50 donation. For those staying at Blue Water Retreat, note that they host a kava session at the retreat once a week.

Location: All over ‘Eua!

10 Free & Cheap Things to Do on 'Eua© TongaPocketGuide.com

10. Experience an Umu – CHEAP

Sunday is umu day in many homes across Tonga. Experience this yummy slice of life at one of the accommodations on the island that prepare Sunday umu, often when there are plenty of guests. An umu is a traditional cooking method using an underground oven to slow-cook root crops and meat, with a staple of the feast being lu, which is meat and coconut cream wrapped in a taro leaf. If it’s a big occasion, there may even be a spitroast pig – a Tongan favourite! Learn more about Tongan dishes in the 10 Unique Foods in Tonga You Have to Try.

If you’re invited to an umu by a local, it’s customary to either bring a gift (ice cream from the grocery stores has always been a winner with us, as Tongan families have lots of kids) or feel free to leave some cash behind as a thank you. Otherwise, there will be a fee with accommodation providers, but this is usually less than TOP$50. Note that you will also be eating first and separate from your hosts – this is also customary in Tonga. Learn more in our guide to Tonga Etiquette: Respecting the Local Customs.

Location: Any accommodation may decide to host an umu but ‘Alakoka Tahi Moana Guest House is particularly known to host if there are lots of guests.

10 Free & Cheap Things to Do on 'Eua© TongaPocketGuide.com

More Free and Cheap Things to Do on ‘Eua

That’s it for the free and cheap things to do on ‘Eua. For more travel tips to make your visit as easy as an island breeze, take a look at the following guides:

Finally, get more budgeting advice from The Travel Guide to Tonga on a Budget and Tonga Travel Budget: How Much Does a Trip to Tonga Cost?


Robin (Lopini) C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of Tonga Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before settling in the South Pacific, so he knows a thing or two about planning the perfect trip in this corner of the world. Robin works and consults regularly with the Ministry of Tourism of Tonga. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides and is a regular host of webinars with the South Pacific Tourism Organisation.

Was this article useful?