The Family Guide to ‘Eua
For the family who wants to get off the beaten track, 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 families, 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 tribe in this travel guide to ‘Eua for families.
5 Things to Do in ‘Eua with Kids
- Watch the whales from a boat or shore between July and October
- Explore the island on a 4WD tour
- Tackle one of the island’s short walks
- Explore the beaches and rockpools between ‘Ohonua and Tufuvai
- Learn Tongan crafts and dance with the local villagers
Learn more about each experience in the 5 Things To Do in ‘Eua with Kids.
How to Get to ‘Eua
At only 40km (15 miles) 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 a scheduled three flights per day, offering families plenty of choices, 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 Where Can You Fly to in Tonga?
‘Eua by Ferry
An alternative way to get between Tongatapu and ‘Eua is by ferry. Two ferry operators depart from Queen Salote Wharf in Nuku’alofa. Journeys are 1 hour to 2h30mins 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 Tonga here.
Getting Around ‘Eua
With no public transport on the island and no official car rentals, getting around is reliant on your accommodation hosts. Hosts offer transport to and from walking trails, as well as to their own offered activities.
Learn more about transport on ‘Eua in the 5 Ways to Get to ‘Eua (& Get Around ‘Eua).
Water Activities for Families
Compared to elsewhere in Tonga, water activities are a little more restrictive for families in ‘Eua. Most of the activities on offer, such as whale swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving, 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 Deep Blue Diving have buoyancy aids for swimming if preferred. Otherwise, families can enjoy the excitement of whale watching from the boat with Deep Blue Diving, Blue Water Explorer, Koki’s Whale Swims and Taina’s Place.
Go to the Beach
‘Eua has a spectacular range of beaches to explore. Unlike the soft sands found elsewhere in Tonga, ‘Eua’s beaches are scattered with coarse sand of 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 beach is Ha’aluma Beach on the south coast of the island.
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 landscapes 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 Forest, but for something more manageable for the whole family, consider taking a 4WD tour. Accommodations, such as The Hideaway offer tours to highlight the culture and nature of the island. The tour involves short hikes to stunning viewpoints, stopping for a swim and a snorkel at secluded beaches seeing the amazing 800-year-old ‘Ovava Tree, checking out sinkholes, rock gardens, natural archways and watching the locals weave mats and make traditional tapa cloth.
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.