A Self-Drive Day Tour of ‘Eua
Have a day to spend on ‘Eua and don’t know what to do with it? This one-day itinerary of ‘Eua will ensure you make the most of this Polynesian paradise! Rent a car and hit the road to explore glorious beaches, picture-perfect lookouts, dramatic cliffs, refreshing swimming holes and an ancient banyan tree. If you prefer not to hire a guide, this self-guided day trip of ‘Eua lays out as many sights and attractions possible to visit in one day (when you don’t have a 4WD which many of ‘Eua’s attractions otherwise require).
How to Get Around ‘Eua Using This Self-Guided Itinerary
This self-guided one-day itinerary of ‘Eua has you exploring as much of ‘Eua Island as possible independently. To get around, you will need to hire a car. Although this itinerary caters to those in a low-clearance vehicle, it is recommended to hire a high-clearance vehicle like an SUV should you want to do less walking. Check out The Best Car Rentals on ‘Eua to compare your options.
Alternatively, guided tours of ‘Eua take you to many of the sights visited in this itinerary and more, as tours are typically in 4WD vehicles with locals who are used to driving ‘Eua’s rough roads. Find out more about tours in The Best Guided Island Land Tours of ‘Eua.
For more transport options, check out our ‘Eua Transport Guide: 5 Ways to Get to (& Around) ‘Eua.
Angaha to Matamahina Hopo Lookout
Distance: 8 km (5 mi), Drive time: 15 mins, Walk time: 35-45 mins one way.
This itinerary starts in Angaha, where multiple of ‘Eua’s guesthouses are located or at least nearby. We recommend getting your day off to an early start so you can see the Matamahina Hopo Lookout in the morning sun, as it’s one of the first places in Tonga to see the sunrise (and one of the first places in the world due to its positing near the International Date Line).
Follow the main road north to Ohonua, pass Nafanua Wharf, and continue north to ‘Eua’s northernmost village, Houma. The Matamahina Hopo Lookout is located along a 1.5 km (0.9 mi) rough dirt road starting from the graveyard at the northern end of Houma village. Due to the state of the road, we recommend walking through this pleasant forest – allow 35-45 minutes to walk one way. Make sure to continue on the dirt road past the Fangatave Beach sign (don’t go down to Fangatave Beach) until you reach a lookout platform. Matamahina Hopo Lookout offers an elevated clifftop platform to bask in some of ‘Eua’s most magnificent scenery. The ocean ahead is the Tonga Trench, the second deepest ocean in the world at 10.8 km (6.7 mi) deep.
Matamahina Hopo Lookout to Lianga Huo ‘a Maui
Distance: 37 km (23 mi), Drive time: 37-40 mins, Walk time: Allow 2 hrs.
‘Ufilei and Tufuvai Beaches
Enjoy the forest walk back to Houma village, then it’s back in your vehicle to explore more of the island. Head back south on the main road. As you approach the waterfront near Nafanua Wharf, notice the beach access on your right to ‘Ufilei Beach. There’s a scenic swimming spot at the far end of the beach (900 m/990 yards), which you can partially access by car where the sand is most compact.
Otherwise, enjoy a scenic beach drive starting from Ohonua village. Continue driving past the Free Church of Tonga (the largest church on the waterfront) and along the compact coral road along the gorgeous Tufuvai Beach. Much of this area was affected by the 2022 tsunami caused by the Hunga-Tonga Hunga-Ha’apai Volcanic Eruption, but it’s interesting to see how much nature has regenerated.
The beach road takes you to Tufuvai village, where you’ll continue up the hill back to ‘Eua’s central villages, including Angaha where you started.
‘Eua National Park
Head south along the main road where you’ll pass through ‘Eua’s cluster of central villages. You’ll also notice signs pointing to the array of attractions in the ‘Eua National Park. However, due to the poor road conditions, we don’t recommend rental vehicles to venture into the park, which is otherwise a day hike to reach its far-flung natural attractions. To get to these attractions, it’s best to take one of The Best Guided Island Land Tours of ‘Eua.
Lakufa’anga Cliffs and Rock Gardens
At the three-way intersection, follow the main road south toward Lakufa’anga Cliffs and Rock Gardens. The road is well-sealed all the way up to where the vegetation builds up and a gate cuts access to the road. Leave your car here unless you’re in a high-clearance vehicle, like an SUV, then the grassy trails left by other vehicles are easy to navigate. Whether you’re in a vehicle or on foot, make sure to close the gate behind you.
From the gate, the first 15 minutes of the walk/5 minutes of the drive takes you to the Rock Gardens where wild horses are also often seen roaming between the rock formations. Watch seabirds such as frigates, terns and white-tailed birds, swooping around the cliff faces. Allow around 30 minutes to explore the Rock Gardens on foot and peer over the Lakufa’anga Cliffs, where the best viewpoints are indicated beside the interpretation panel.
Lianga Huo ‘a Maui
From the interpretation panel, head east following the 4WD trail through the forest to a clearing and parking area which should take you around 10 minutes on foot. Here, you’ll find a sign and the 5-10-minute walking trail to Lianga Huo ‘a Maui, a huge natural landbridge to admire from a viewing platform.
Lianga Huo ‘a Maui to Hafu Pool
Distance: 13 km (8 mi), Drive time: 20 mins, Walk time: 30-40 mins return.
Leave Lakufa’anga Cliffs and Rock Gardens, closing the gate behind you. As you make your way along the straight stretch of road, look out for a white sign on the right side. You should spot the Pangai Mounds, which is where the first pangai (administrative capital village) was located. Each mound here had a residence built on top and was where the first fanongonongo tokoto was held. This was a form of communication by lying on the ground and shouting messages.
Make your way back to ‘Eua’s central cluster of villages once again, this time keeping an eye out for the brown sign on the right pointing to Hafu Pool. It will be toward the centre of the villages, with Sapa’ata and ‘Esia on the left side and Mata’aho on the right.
The road to Hafu Pool is a narrow 1.8 km (1.1 mi) dirt road which is best done in a high-clearance vehicle but can be done in a normal vehicle with care. At the end of the road, you’ll find yourself at 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!
Big ‘Ovava Tree #1
Across the pool is a well-established trail to the “Big ‘Ovava Tree #1“, which you will need to walk to. 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. Explore the area and return the way you came back to Hafu Pool.
Back to Angaha (5 Mins Drive)
That’s it for our one-day itinerary of ‘Eua. It’s only a 5-7-minute drive back to Angaha. Then check out The Driving Times & Distances in Tonga to see how long it takes to get to where you are staying.
More About Planning a Self-Guided Day Trip to ‘Eua
That’s it for our self-guided day trip to ‘Eua. For more details about the sights visited on this one-day itinerary of ‘Eua, these other articles should do just the trick!
- Sightseeing on ‘Eua: Top 10 Sights & Natural Attractions
- 50 Best Things to Do in ‘Eua
- 5 Best Hikes on ‘Eua
Finally, don’t miss a thing on Tonga’s garden island with The Complete Travel Guide to ‘Eua.