How to Plan a Family Trip to ‘Eua
For the family who wants to get off the beaten track and immerse in spectacular nature and local culture, ‘Eua is an amazing destination. Just a 10-minute flight from Tonga’s main island, Tongatapu, ‘Eua is Tonga’s oldest and second-largest island, home to breathtaking rainforest, rugged coastline (with some beaches) and a wealth of land and marine wildlife. The island might have a small offering of family rooms and experiences suitable for young tribes, but they definitely contend to be the most memorable that the Kingdom has to offer.
Learn more about whether a trip to ‘Eua is right for your group in this travel guide to ‘Eua for families.
7 Family Tours and Activities on ‘Eua
What does a family getaway to ‘Eua look like? Here’s a quick overview of just a few things to do on ‘Eua with kids:
- Explore Lakufa’anga Cliffs to see the Rock Gardens, Li’anga Huo o Maui natural arch and wild horses
- Watch the whales from a boat or shore between July and October
- Tackle one of the island’s short walks
- Explore beaches and rockpools
- Cool off in Hafu Pool and check out the Big ‘Ovava Tree
- Experience ‘Eua’s natural waterslide, Heke Slide
- Explore it all on a 4WD tour!
Learn more about each experience in the 10 Things to Do in ‘Eua with Kids.
How to Get to ‘Eua
At only 40 km (15 mi) southeast of Tongatapu, ‘Eua is one of the easiest outer islands to get to in Tonga. The island is accessible with a regular schedule of flights and ferries. Note that ferries and planes do not operate on a Sunday.
‘Eua by Plane
Flights to ‘Eua are available from the domestic terminal of the Fua’amotu Airport in Tongatapu. There are usually several flights from Monday to Saturday, offering families plenty of choice, while flight times only take approximately 10 minutes. Kids will want a window seat in the whale season (July-October) where the low-flying flight makes it ideal for spotting whales from above. Learn more about flights to ‘Eua in our guide, Domestic Flights in Tonga: Your Guide to Interisland Flights.
‘Eua by Ferry
An alternative way to get between Tongatapu and ‘Eua is by ferry. Several ferry operators depart from Taufa’ahau Tupou IV Domestic Wharf in Nuku’alofa. Journeys are approximately two hours and provide the cheapest way to get to the island. Although ferries run on a schedule, it’s best to contact before departure are schedules are known to change. Learn more about taking the ferry in The Guide to Travelling in Tonga by Ferry.
Getting Around ‘Eua
With no public transport on the island, accommodations provide their own transport services. Accommodations will transport you to and from the airport/wharf, while many will also offer island tours for sightseeing. Check out some of the land tours available in The Best Guided Tours in ‘Eua.
A limited few grocery stores on ‘Eua, as well as the odd accommodation, offer car rental services that are ideal for getting between villages. Due to the very rough road conditions to ‘Eua’s natural attractions, especially in the ‘Eua National Park, we recommend taking an island tour over a rental car to these attractions. For more information on rental cars, as well as other forms of transport, see the 5 Ways to Get to (& Around) ‘Eua.
Water Activities for Families
Compared to elsewhere in Tonga, water activities are a little more restrictive for families on ‘Eua. Most of the activities on offer, such as whale swimming and snorkelling, require participants to be strong and confident swimmers. Nevertheless, families can still enjoy whale watching even from the shores of ‘Eua, as well as beach activities.
Between July and October, whales migrate to Tonga’s waters to mate and calve. ‘Eua is one of the amazing places for whale swimming and watching in the Kingdom. Due to swimming taking place in the open water, this activity is recommended to families with strong swimmers, however, operators like Blue Water Retreat have buoyancy aids for swimming if preferred. Otherwise, families can enjoy the excitement of whale watching from the boat with operators listed in The Best Whale Tours in ‘Eua.
‘Eua has a spectacular range of beaches to explore. Unlike the soft sands found elsewhere in Tonga, ‘Eua’s beaches are a little coarser with millions of shells for kids to admire. On top of that, checking out the rock pools is always an interesting site, providing a safe way to observe marine creatures without snorkelling to the reefs (which is only recommended for strong swimmers). The best stretch of coastline to explore is between ‘Ohonua and Tufuvai, while the best swimming beaches are Ha’aluma Beach on the south coast of the island and the northern end of ‘Ufilei Beach on the west coast. If that’s a little too much to remember, check out the 5 Best Beaches on ‘Eua for a complete rundown.
Need more inspiration? Then the 10 Best Water Activities in Tonga should help!
Land Activities for Families
‘Eua is certainly a destination where most attractions are on land. The island’s breathtaking beauty between lush rainforests and rugged cliffs are unmatched across the rest of Tonga – and the rest of the South Pacific for that matter. Families can make the most of the landscape through 4WD tours and some of the shorter island hikes. Additionally, the culture here is rich and authentic, where learning to make your own crafts with the locals is always a rewarding experience.
4WD Island Tours
‘Eua might be famous for its hiking in the ‘Eua National Park, but for something more manageable for the whole family, consider taking 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 and see The Best Guided Tours in ‘Eua for some excellent tour examples.
Tongan Cultural Classes
Immerse as a family into the rich Tongan culture with one of the cultural classes on offer. Learn how to weave your own bag or fan, learn how to do “lakalaka” dancing in a traditional Tongan dance class, or paint your own piece of tapa cloth (cloth made with the mark of a mulberry tree) in one of the classes offered by the local villagers. These experiences can be booked through accommodations on the island.
More Things to Do on ‘Eua
While our list of 10 Things to Do in ‘Eua with Kids is compiled for families with young children, families with older children or teens might find that they can do most things on ‘Eua! So be sure to browse the 20 Best Things to Do in ‘Eua for more experiences to add to the itinerary.
Dining on ‘Eua
‘Eua isn’t exactly brimming with dining options, but families will find the small selection of eateries between self-catering pleasant enough. Note that some accommodations have dining options too, whether it’s a buffet dinner each night or meals made to order with advance notice, so be sure to inquire and let them know your dietary requirements in advance.
Restaurants on ‘Eua
‘Eua is home to an incredibly small selection of eateries. Talei’s Restaurant (north end of Pangai), formerly Fane’s Restaurant, serves all your comfort classics, from ika kelevi (fish in sauce) to fish/sausage/chicken and chips/manioke, and all for a very very affordable price. Enjoy it all in the pleasant undercover seating area or order to takeaway. Available Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.
Place your order before 1 pm and the team at ‘Alakoka Tahi Moana Guest House (Pangai) can spruce up grilled fish, chicken curry, fish and chips of a vegetarian ensemble at their on-site restaurant for guests and non-guests alike. Available Monday to Saturday.
Finally, if you need to pick up something on the go or an emergency ice cream, Lei’ataua Canteen (Pangai) has light bites like meat pies, sandwiches, sushi, ice cream, popcorn and more for sale at their hole-in-the-wall canteen next to their grocery store.
Self-Catering on ‘Eua
Combine the facilities of one of the 5 Best Self-Catering Accommodations on ‘Eua with the food supplies available at one of the many grocery stores across Pangai or fale koloa (smaller convenience stores) elsewhere and enjoy the privacy and affordability of self-catering on ‘Eua. Learn more about food shopping in Information, Shops & Services in ‘Eua and The Guide to Food Shopping in Tonga.
More About ‘Eua for Families
That’s it for the complete travel guide to ‘Eua for families. For more travel tips and experiences applicable to the ultimate family getaway, take a look at the guides below.
- 20 Best Things to Do on ‘Eua
- 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in ‘Eua
- 10 Amazing Natural Attractions in ‘Eua