My parents were big sailors before they had me, and so they’ve been big fans of sailing holidays. My favourite one was definitely the Kingdom of Tonga, or just Tonga, but I’ll explain about Thailand some other time!
Tonga has the prettiest coral that I’ve ever seen and was definitely an amazing holiday!
|The yacht we hired, Tonga|
So, picture this…
You’ve just flown about five hours from Australia to Nuku’alofa so not too far, but still far enough and at a weird enough time of the day that you’re tired. So you get off the plane and it’s pretty hot, even though it’s only 4am in the morning! When we got there, we got told that it was 4am, and so we thought…oh, perfect, we can get a couple of hours sleep at a hotel before we get onto another flight down to Vava’u! But really, it was 5am and by the time we got to the hotel we actually needed to be back at the airport! Island time is quite hilarious sometimes!
Maybe I should define ‘Island Time’ before I go any further? It’s basically when you enter a place in the world where everyone is just so relaxed and carefree that rushing won’t really do anything, except make you look weird!
So the airport at Vava’u is actually the cutest one that I’ve ever been to!! All of the people working there, including those on the grass runway, are wearing sandals, and the plane was basically shaped like a box. I didn’t even know if it was going to be able to take off! The airport also has a wooden bench where they put the bags once they get taken off the plane, no automatic baggage carousel here!
But even if all of this bothers you (which it really shouldn’t, I mean, come on! It’s all part of the fun of travelling!), you will forget it by the time you reach the marina. The water is so clear and there are little tiny fish swimming everywhere!
|View out of Swallow’s Cave, Tonga|
We hired a yacht for a week and took it out among the islands and I would highly recommend it!
During this week, we met people who live and work on the islands, and they showed us around their villages! It was so amazing to see the different ways of life of people who live off the land/sea a lot more than we do in Australia! Another thing that you can do on the islands is have a ‘Tongan Feast’, where you and other tourists go to an island and have a huge mean of typical Tongan foods, and are entertained by the local culture!
There were heaps of whales around, which was absolutely breathtaking, because I’d never seen them up this close before! We caught a massive tuna and went snorkeling basically every day!
|Restaurant on an outside island, Tonga|
I loved Swallow’s Cave, because you could take the dingy inside and explore, but then you could also snorkel inside. Swallow’s Cave is in a little rock island, and around the island was the MOST AMAZING CORAL that I have seen ever! It stretched out from the rocks for about 4 metres, and then suddenly the shelf dropped off and you were looking down through 60 or 70 metres of crystal clear water to the sandy bottom! It’s a little daunting to realise how far down you can see, but wow! What an experience!
The outer islands were probably the most amazing! We spent the day out at a tiny island and had lunch at the one restaurant there and then went snorkeling. We watched a local man climb the coconut trees to pick us coconuts for lunch, and the water was the bluest that I’ve ever seen out there! There was also amazing coral and a million little fish swimming around, and we spent as long as we could out there, before we started to lose water depth because of the tides!
It was also really cool to go to the markets back on the mainland in Tonga, and they have heaps of carvings and woven items for sale. And you get to barter, which I find so much fun! Before I went to Tonga, my parents had told me that Tongan people are some of the happiest people on earth. And now, having been there myself, I know that this is true! Everyone is so friendly and smiles at you, whereas in some countries they ignore you just because you’re not from around there! I loved Tonga, and I will definitely go back!
|Jumping off the boat, Tonga|