On the Edge of the Forest, 'Eua Island, Tonga

New Information and Direction Signs on ‘Eua Island

17/06/2010 10:23

A total of 21 information and direction signs have been installed in ‘Eua, as part of a project supported by the Tonga Visitors Bureau (Ministry of Tourism) and funded by NZAID.


“Experience ‘Eua” information signs and “Welcome to ‘Eua” signs were installed at the wharf and at the airport .

“Welcome to the village” signs were installed in 15 villages including Tufuvai, Mata’aho, Sapa’ata, Fata’ulua, Mu’a, Tongamama’o, Petani, Kolomaile, ‘Esia, Futu, Pangai, Angaha, ‘Ohonua, Ta’anga and Houma.

A direction sign was installed near the airport, directing travelers to town and to the Halouma Rock Garden (in the South of ‘Eua Island).

A double sided ‘Eua National Park information sign was installed near the Tonga Visitors Bureau, directing travelers to ‘Eua National Park and the Forest Plantation Walks.

Tu’u Taki Hausia, President of the ‘Eua Eco Tourism Association (EETA), said “To build a tourism infrastructure, you need to lay a solid foundation to build on. Signage is one of the first foundation components of building a tourism infrastructure. We are extremely grateful to NZAID for the funding, to the Tonga Visitors Bureau (Ministry of Tourism) for overseeing the signage project and to Magic Signs for printing and installing the signage boards. I personally would also like to thank volunteers from ‘Eua Eco Tourism Association (EETA) for helping with the installation of the signage boards. Travelers now have basic directions to access and experience ‘Eua’s natural wonders. Locals will benefit from the signs, which also display information and directions in Tongan language. In the future, ‘Eua Eco Tourism Association plans to address another foundation component – waste disposal infrastructure and education programs aimed at travelers and the local community.”


Geographically ‘Eua is the oldest and highest island in the Kingdom of Tonga and was created by the uplifting of the Tongan Plate some 40 million years ago. Tongan legend says the god Maui stood on ‘Eua when he fished the islands of Tongatapu, Ha’apai and Vava’u from the depths of the sea (10 million years ago). Rugged and hilly ‘Eua lies just off the South-Eastern tip of Tongatapu. Large scale tourism does not exist on ‘Eua – it is a quiet, peaceful and noncommercial tourist destination. ‘Eua is an ideal destination those wanting adventure, to be in touch with nature and to experience the daily life of different culture.


Local Tongan guides introduce you to people in their community, so you can experience daily life on ‘Eua. Attend local celebrations and events (where possible), listen to the amazing Tongan church choirs on Sundays, gather food from local plantations, learn to prepare and cook local food the Tongan way, watch ‘tapa’ cloth being made, learn mat or basket weaving, go drinking at local kava halls and dance at the local ice cream disco.

‘Eua is perfect for hiking, climbing, caving, bush walking, bird watching, mountain biking, beach horse riding, whale watching, whale swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving.


Take a guided or unguided hike through pristine subtropical rainforest. Head past dramatic high cliffs, into caves and sinkholes, along ridges and wild coastlines, over grassy plains that wild horses call their home, around rocky gardens and to limestone archways. Watch and listen to the birds in the National Park including the ‘koki’, ‘Eua’s indigenous red-breasted musk parrot. Rest on unspoiled beaches and discover coral fossils in the reef rock and ancient stone slabs traditionally used for Royal tombs.


Go diving in the largest underwater caves in the South Pacific, one of which is likened to diving in an underwater cathedral. The ‘Cathedral’ lives up to its name, with natural light illuminating a 20 – 30 metre deep underwater amphitheatre teeming with dynamic coral of all the colours of a stained glass window. Float on through a 15 metre tunnel to see, but hopefully not feel, lobsters clustered on the cave walls. Exit to see schools of giant dogtooth tuna and lion fish, white tip sharks, turtles, rays and the other big creatures that inhabit deep water surrounding ‘Eua Island, which lies close to the 10.8 metre Tongan Trench (the second deepest trench in the world).


Magnificent humpback whales swim close to ‘Eua Island on route to and from breeding grounds around the Kingdom of Tonga from July to November. Slip into the water to swim with the humpback whales (in one of the few countries in the world where this is allowed). Or simply relax on a cliff top, at your accommodation or on the beach and watch the powerful aerial displays of one of the largest marine mammals in the world.


This article has been reproduced with the kind permission of the Tonga Visitors Bureau (Ministry of Tourism).

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