Essentials

Situated off the East Coast of Tongatapu, ‘Eua island is part of the Kingdom of Tonga and the second largest island in the Tongan archipelago. The economy of Eua is based around tourism, agriculture, forestry and fishing.

To ensure climbers can enjoy this special place it is critical that climbing is supported by the local community. To help achieve this the Kaka Maka Group has been formed as a partnership between climbers, the Kings Office and the Eua Tourism Association. The Kaka Maka Group is working with locals to develop ‘Eua as an international climbing destination and is the central point of contact for all climbing related queries and issues. You can contact us via email: kakamakaeua@gmail.com

Best time to visit

The best time to climb in Tonga is during the Southern hemisphere’s winter, from the start of June to August. Happily, each year Whales arrive sometime around mid-June and stay till early October, so keep that in mind if you want to swim with these curious cetaceans.

The shoulder season of April to May or September to October are warmer, but still cool enough to climb if you stick to shadey aspects, but expect hot and humid conditions from November to  March.

Getting There

The beautiful island of ‘Eua is just a 9 minute flight or 3 hour ferry from Nuku’alofa, which itself is just 3 or 4 1/2 hours flight from Auckland or Sydney respectively. Alternatively, you can fly to Nuku’alofa from Fiji or Samoa.

If you take an early AirNZ flight on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays you can book a same-day onwards flight to ‘Eua, but keep in mind that poor weather or maintenance requirements can affect both the ferry and airline schedule.

Useful links

Visa

Visitors from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, UK, US and most of Europe are NOT required to apply for a visa to enter Tonga. A 31 day vistor’s visa will be issued upon arrival, free of charge and this can be extended for up to six months.

Read more about Visa Requirements here.

Getting around

There’s no public transport on ‘Eua, so you’ll need to walk, hire a bike or use a local taxi service to get from your accommodation to any of the climbing locations. The Kaka Maka Group have typically stayed at Ovava Tree Lodge and used their transport service for T$10 each per ride.

You can hire a car from one of the “Chinese shops”, but to do so, you may need to register for a local license with the Ministry of Transport in Nuku’alofa.

Some of the accommodation providers have bikes, in various states of disrepair, but which may suffice.

Hopefully someone starts hiring motorbikes soon.

Maps

An app that provides offline use of OpenStreetMap.org is the best option, as we are editing this open source map to add climbing tracks etc.

Suggested map apps:

  • Guru Maps
  • Topo GPS
  • View Ranger
  • Maps.me

Google Maps is not too bad, but some of the place and beach names are incorrect.

Accommodation

There are four main accommodation places:

  • Ovava Tree Lodge has eight units, there is also a small area where camping may also be possible. For people wanting to stay in a private room at the Ovava Tree Lodge you should note that during the whale season, 1st of July to the 1st of October, you will need to purchase whale watching or diving services and you should look at the Ovava Tree policy. Self catering, backpackers dormitory style accommodation will be available from late July 2019, so watch for announcements on the Ovava Tree website.
  • Deep Resort which has single,  or family fales, located on a sandy beach with safe swimming.
  • Hideaway Resort has around twelve rooms, but is still closed following damage from cyclone Gita. Re-opening for 2020 apparently.
  • ‘Alakoka Tahi Moana ​Guest House is just uphill from Tufavai village and also runs whale swimming.
  • AirBNB has Seta Homestay, in Tufavai village, for up to 5 guests.
  • Taina’s Place offers basic accommodation and camping.
  • Camping is not permitted at any of the crags. If found you may be voted off the island!

Other useful links:
Government tourism site (www.thekingdomoftonga.com)

Lonely Planet – Tonga > Eua

Food and Dining

All the accommodation outlets can provide meals. Currently there are only a couple of small restaurants on Eua. A number of Chinese owned shops sell a limited range of foods, snacks and other essentials. If you have particular tastes, or specific dietary requirements, consider bringing your own supplies.

Health and Safety

Climbing is inherently dangerous; all climbers must take responsibility for their own safety.
Climbers should note that there are no rescue facilities on Eua and nobody locally with the skills to conduct a rescue operation. In the event of an accident parties would need to self rescue.
There are only limited medical facilities on Eua and only a small hospital, so it is recommended that parties carry a comprehensive first aid kit and have the knowledge to use it.

Sundays and Church

Each Sunday almost all Tongans attend one of the many Churches on the island and all businesses are closed. You’ll still be able to get a meal from your accommodation provider, but don’t count on exchanging money for anything else, anywhere else on the island. Plan ahead and stock up on supplies Saturday night!