Things in ‘Eua You Can’t Miss!
Tonga’s oldest and second-largest island is rich in nature, wildlife, culture and history. It’s a place of intrigue for adventurous travellers who are willing to get off the beaten path to discover this piece of natural paradise. From hiking through ancient rainforest alive with bird song to the crystal clear waters alive with whale song, ‘Eua is really a place to connect with nature. So check out some of our top recommended things to do on the island with this list of the must-dos in ‘Eua!
While you’re here, plan more of your trip with The Complete Guide to ‘Eua.
1. Do the Fangatave Beach and Caves Hike
While there are plenty of amazing hikes in ‘Eua, one of the must-dos for travellers who are fit and healthy is the Fangatave Beach and Caves Hike. All you need is a guide, which can be organised through all of ‘Eua’s accommodations, and a sense of adventure.
Scramble down rocky cliffs where, first, you’ll reach a view of Kahana Spring. Then you’ll have around 11 limestone caves to explore on the way down to Fangatave Beach! At the beach, enjoy excellent walking, cooling off in the water and awesome views of the cliffs you just climbed down. But yes, you will have to climb the very same way to get back up again. Learn more about the walk and more in the 5 Best Hikes in ‘Eua.
Location: Northeast coast of ‘Eua. Guided walks are available with most accommodation providers, except for on Sundays.
2. Take a 4WD Island Tour
‘Eua is home to an array of amazing natural sights, which you don’t have to walk your legs off to enjoy. Almost all of the accommodations on the island offer their own 4WD tours, taking you to major highlights, such as the giant ‘Ovava Tree, the Rock Gardens and Lakufa’anga Cliffs, the Li’angahuo ‘a Maui natural archway, the Matalanga ‘a Maui sinkhole, gorgeous secluded beaches and snorkelling hotspots. See more recommendations like this in the 5 Things To Do in ‘Eua with Kids.
Location: 4WD tours are available from The Hideaway, Taina’s Place, Blue Water Retreat, Ovava Tree Lodge and Seta Homestay
3. Swim with Humpback Whales
Tonga is renowned for being one of the only countries in the world where you can legally swim with whales. In ‘Eua, the experience is more intimate with only a small selection of whale swimming boats that all have a maximum of eight passengers. The best time to swim with humpback whales in ‘Eua is between July and October (sometimes November), where whales have lively “heat runs” in the waters adjacent to the island, making it an excellent location for whale encounters!
Location: Whale swimming operators offer accommodation transfers. Learn more about them in The Best Whale Tours in ‘Eua.
4. Scuba Dive in Cathedral Cave
‘Eua is home to some of the most dramatic dive sites in Tonga. The most famous dive site is the incredible Cathedral Cave. The largest underwater cave in the South Pacific, at around 100m/330ft long, 50m/165ft wide and 30m/100ft deep, is surprisingly clear to dive through with holes in the ceiling sending beams of light through the clear water. See sharks, groupers and huge schools of fish, as well as corals and an amazing drop-off near the cave’s entrance. See more activities like this in the 5 Adult-Only Activities in ‘Eua.
Location: Tours are available from ‘Eua and Nuku’alofa in Tongatapu. Learn more in The Best Scuba Diving Tours in ‘Eua.
5. Do the ‘Eua National Park and Lokupo Beach Hike
Another amazing hike in ‘Eua, the ‘Eua National Park Hike to Lokupo Beach takes in some of the highlights of the national park on a full-day adventure. A guide is a must to take you through the rough trails through the forest, which starts in a forest plantation with impressive banyan trees and sinkholes before delving deep into the natural tropical rainforest.
Along the way, stop by incredible lookouts across the island and the national park where it’s also possible to view whales just off the coast within the whale season. You’ll then follow old lava flows and giant boulders until you finally reach the beach. Enjoy a swim and a snorkel in the rock pools before returning the way you came. See more activities like this in our 10 Free & Cheap Things To Do in ‘Eua.
Location: Eastern side of ‘Eua. Down the road east of Taina’s Place.
6. Learn to Do Tongan Crafts with the Local Villagers
‘Eua Island has a rich island culture where traditional arts, crafts and dance are all a part of the lifestyle. Immerse in the culture and connect with the local people through a range of cultural classes available! From weaving to tapa cloth-making, from kava parties to traditional Tongan dancing, there’s something to pique the interest of most travellers! Classes and workshops are offered by the local villagers and are organised through accommodations on the island.
Location: All over ‘Eua. Inquire with your accommodation.
7. Do Some Bird Watching
While the marine wildlife around ‘Eua often takes all of the limelight, the wildlife on land is also super fascinating! ‘Eua’s forests and coastline have a healthy population of birdlife, the icon of the island being the red shining parrot or “koki”. Other bird species you might encounter in the forest include noddies, swiftlets and Pacific pigeons. Fruitbats known as “flying foxes” or “peka” are also seen and certainly heard in the forest. On any of the coastal and cliff walks, you’ll often see amazing displays of swooping seabirds, particularly in the Lakufa’anga Cliffs area. There, you’ll often see brown booby, frigate birds, white terns and the white-tailed tropicbird.
Location: ‘Eua National Park and south coast of ‘Eua.
8. Experience an Umu Feast
Sunday night is umu night in many homes across Tonga. Experience this yummy slice of life at one of the accommodations on the island that prepare Sunday umu for their guests. An umu is a traditional cooking method using an underground oven to slow-cook root crops and meat. The affair often includes a spit-road pig – a Tongan favourite!
Location: The Hideaway and Taina’ Place.
9. Go Horse Riding on the Beach
While ‘Eua might be known for its wild horses, there are some tame ones that the locals “hire out” to those with horse riding experience. Yes, you can hire a horse for a day or half a day! Alternatively, guides are available to guide horses for a more relaxing horseback experience for beginners. Either way, the dirt roads through forests, the villages and the coastline make the ideal terrain for horse riding. We also recommend riding to and along Tufuvai Beach or to ‘Ufilei Beach. See more experiences like this in the 6 Romantic Activities in ‘Eua for Couples.
Location: Horse riding is available with accommodations, such as The Hideaway, Taina’s Place and Blue Water Retreat.
10. Go to a Sunday Church Service
Sunday is an important day in Tonga where services and shops shut down and it’s illegal to play any sports. What you can do, however, is do one of the self-guided hikes in ‘Eua, try a traditional umu (see above) and go to a Sunday church service. Church is an integral part of the Tongan culture, where visitors can experience heavenly singing of the choirs flowing through the churches and villages. Services usually take place in the morning around 9am/10am and again in the afternoon around 3pm/4pm.
Location: Ask at your accommodation for the nearest church. A good one to visit is the Free Wesleyan Church of Pangai ‘Eua.