Family-Friendly Activities in ‘Eua
‘Eua Island is certainly a fun, active and educational destination for families. Only 40km (15 miles) from Tongatapu, ‘Eua feels a world away from anywhere, being home to 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. Accommodations, such as The Hideaway and Taina’s Place, offer tours that involve short hikes to a range of must-see attractions. Climb to stunning viewpoints, stop for a swim and a snorkel at deserted beaches, see the astonishing 800-year-old ‘Ovava Tree, check out the amazing sinkholes of the Smoking Cave, visit the southern Rock Gardens, Li’angahuo ‘a Maui natural archway and watch the locals weave mats and make traditional tapa cloth.
Location: Available from The Hideaway (Tufuvai) and Taina’s Place (Kolomaile).
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 with Taina’s Place, Kiko’s Whale Swim and more, as well as from shore, particularly from the decks of The Hideaway and Blue Water Retreat. Learn more about whales in Tonga in The Guide to Whale Swimming in Tonga.
Location: Western shores of ‘Eua
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 scattered with coarse sand of 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, providing a safer option than snorkelling to the reefs (which is only recommended for strong swimmers) 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.
Location: ‘Ohonua and Tufuvai beaches on the west coast of the island. Ha’aluma Beach is on the south coast.
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 having a ball learning how to do traditional Tongan dancing. Classes are offered by the local villagers, 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. Accommodation providers can transport you to the start of a walk to the Laku Fa’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 the wildlife in Tonga here.
From the Rock Garden, it’s a short walk to Li’angahuo ‘a Maui, a massive landbridge, which can be viewed from a viewing platform! Either stay in the area watching the horses and the birds, perhaps enjoying a picnic, until you are picked up. Alternatively, there is a 1h30min one-way walk to Ha’aluma Beach suitable for snorkelling and swimming.
Location: Southern coast of ‘Eua. Pick up maps and information from your accommodation. Accommodations provide transport to and from the walk.