The Top Family Activities on ‘Eua
‘Eua Island is certainly a fun, active and educational destination for families. Only 40 km (15 mi) from Tonga‘s main island, Tongatapu, ‘Eua feels a world away with its vast wilderness areas like the ‘Eua National Park Forest and kilometres and kilometres of rugged coastline which started forming around 40 million years ago. Explore its incredible landscapes through some of the island’s shorter walks or see it all on a 4WD tour. Look out for rare birds like the red shining parrot and see whales breaching offshore in the winter months. The culture can also be experienced through fun crafting lessons and dance classes. Find out more in this list of things to do in ‘Eua with kids!
1. Explore the Island on a 4WD Tour
See the natural and cultural highlights of ‘Eua in a way that’s practical for the whole family on a 4WD tour. Most accommodations offer island tours that involve short walks to a range of must-see attractions. Climb to stunning viewpoints, stop for a swim and a snorkel at deserted beaches, see two astonishing 800-year-old ‘Ovava Trees, check out the amazing sinkholes of the Smoking Cave, visit the southern Rock Gardens, Li’angahuo ‘a Maui natural archway and much much more! Make your bucket list of sights from the 10 Amazing Natural Attractions on ‘Eua.
Location: All over ‘Eua! Most accommodations have their own island tours or can organise one on your behalf. See The Best Guided Tours in ‘Eua for some excellent examples.
2. Watch Whales from a Boat or Shore
‘Eua is one of the best islands in Tonga to see whales from land. Between July and October, humpback whales migrate to Tonga’s waters to mate and calve. While whale swimming is available from ‘Eua, this is only recommended to families with strong swimmers. Nevertheless, families can still enjoy the excitement of whale watching on tours listed in The Best Whale Tours in ‘Eua, simply by staying on the boat and enjoying the sight of whales breaching.
Location: The best places to watch whales in ‘Eua is from the western shores of ‘Eua. Accommodations like Blue Water Retreat have the prime position for whale watching.
3. Explore the Rock Pools and Beaches
What kid doesn’t love going to the beach?! Unlike the soft sands found elsewhere in Tonga, ‘Eua’s beaches are a little coarser with millions of shells and coral for kids to admire. Many beaches also harbour clusters of rock pools, so put on your reef shoes and observe marine creatures, which provides a safer option than snorkelling to the reefs or having to hike to faraway beaches with larger rock pools. The most accessible stretch of coastline to explore is between ‘Ohonua and Tufuvai, while one of the best swimming beaches is Ha’aluma Beach on the south coast of the island – but be aware of outgoing tides. There’s also a nice sandy swimming area at the northern end of ‘Ufilei Beach.
Location: West coast of ‘Eua. See beaches and their specific locations in the 5 Best Beaches on ‘Eua.
4. Learn Tongan Crafts and Dance with Local Villagers
‘Eua island has a rich culture that has gone unchanged for centuries, where traditional arts, crafts and dance are a part of everyday life. Immerse as a family into the Tongan culture through the cultural classes on offer. Kids love learning how to weave their own bag or fan, painting their own piece of tapa cloth (cloth made with the mark of a mulberry tree) or learning how to do traditional Tongan dancing. Classes are offered by the local villagers and organised through accommodations on the island. Learn more about the Tongan culture in The Guide to the Tongan Culture.
Location: All over ‘Eua, inquire with your accommodation.
5. See Wild Horses, Shining Parrots, the Rock Gardens and a Natural Archway
While there are many hikes available across the island, more suitable for older children or teens, families looking for a more manageable option should consider the Rock Garden Cliffs walk at the south end of the island. Island land tours can transport you around the Lakufa’anga Cliffs where natural rock shapes protrude from the grassy plains – kids love climbing them!
Wild horses are also often seen roaming between the rock formations. From the clifftops, seabirds such as frigates, terns and white-tailed birds can be seen soaring to their nests in the cliffs. This southern end of the island also happens to be one of the best places to spot Pacific pigeons and ‘Eua’s shining red parrots (koki). Learn more about them in our 10 Animals & Birds Found in Tonga and 40 Fun Facts About Tonga for Kids.
From the Rock Garden, it’s a short walk (or drive with your island tour) to Li’anga Huo ‘a Maui, a massive landbridge, which can be viewed through the trees – just keep a close eye on little ones where there are steep drops. Finally, a short drive from or a 1 hr 30 mins walk from the Rock Gardens is Ha’aluma Beach suitable for snorkelling and swimming.
Location: South coast of ‘Eua. Ask about island tours to the Rock Gardens with your accommodation or the Tourist Information Centre in ‘Ohonua (just up the road from the ferry terminal). Alternatively, this site is accessible via a high-clearance rental car. 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 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.
Note that the road to Ha’aluma Beach should not be attempted via rental car. Park at the top of the rough road and walk down to the beach.
6. Cool Off at Hafu Pool and Check Out the ‘Ovava Tree…
Certainly a popular spot with local kids, Hafu Pool offers 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 children, 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.
7. … And Race Down Heke Slide
If you have a local guide with you, you’ll be able to extend the above trip to the ridiculously fun Heke Slide. The trail continues past the Big ‘Ovava Tree #1 but is very difficult to follow without a guide. After a light 10-minute scramble through the forest, you’ll find a natural slippery slope created by water flowing from the highlands. At the bottom of the slope is a small pool to plunge into. Be prepared for good old-fashioned wet and muddy fun.
Location: Approximately a 20-30-minute walk from Hafu Pool (see above). A guide is advised, which can be organised through your accommodation or the Tourist Information Centre in ‘Ohonua (just up the road from the ferry terminal).
More Things to Do in ‘Eua with Kids
That’s it for the best things to do on ‘Eua with kids. Of course, you may be able to do more depending on the age of your tribe so take a look at the lists below to find more suitable adventures.
- 20 Best Things to Do in ‘Eua
- 10 Amazing Natural Attractions in ‘Eua
- 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in ‘Eua