Tongatapu – Day 2 – The Tour

After a long Kava drinking session last night, I slept well into the morning. Unable to get a rental car, I decided to take an Island tour with Toni, the guy who owns the guest houses. We started at 10am at the guest house and headed to the western end of the island. The drive was entertaining enough with a fairly good road built by the Chinese. One thing you notice when driving around the Island is that Tonga has a lot of churches. A LOT of churches. On this trip alone, there are 36 mormon school/churches. In most villages there are at least two churches, often right next to each other. It’s surprising when you think that there are only a handful of people in each village, and the churches are so large. Anyway, the views from the western tip of the island are pretty good and there were flying foxes sleeping in the trees.

From the tip, we headed south a little to a beach where the two young lads with us could swim. There are few actual sandy beaches on Tongatapu island and this fact will become apparent as we made our way further around the island. The tour group enjoyed a short break at the beach before heading on.

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Next stop is the blowholes. Most the southern end of Tongatapu Island south are cliff lines and below them are a secondary, smaller set of cliffs. The crashing of the waves against the lower cliffs sends great waves of spray and water splashing onto the top of them. Over time, holes have formed in the rock plate atop the lower cliffs and as water crashes spray pumps through the blowholes. It’s rather spectacular, especially if the waves strike at an angle, the spray going along the coastline. The blowholes span pretty much the entire of the south side of the island.

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We stopped off at Keliti Beach Resort for lunch, and sat on the verandah watching the bow holes out front. There is a beach out front of the resort, with about 5 metres of sand out front. The food was pretty good.

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Further down the island, we came to Hufangalupe, also known as the Pigeon Doorway. This is apparently where Maui threw his spear at a pigeon and missed forming a hole in the ground and a natural arch where the water rushes in from the sea. The Irish story is slightly different. This is where St Patrick dug his staff to rid the island of snakes.

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Further around the island is Anahulu cave, a stalactite cave that you can walk down into with a pool in the bottom where you can swim. To get it, you duck through a low entry and follow steps cut into the ground. The cave is fairly large and is lit in places by a jury rigged lighting system and dark in others. The pool is quite large. One of the lads in the group went for a swim among the Tongan kids that were there. For T$10 it was worth seeing, even though I didn’t swim.

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At the eastern end of the Island is the Ha’amonga Trilithon. A ‘man-made’ structure built about 800 years ago, that on the longest day of the year apparently the light shines through it on a certain angle. It was also used as a calendar. There are still disputes of how it was constructed and like the egyptian pyramids, the great 30-40 tonne blocks were lifted and placed in perfect alignment. How humans did this in those days there is much speculations, but the trilithon stands.

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Lastly, on the drive home around the bay, we spied fishing pigs. That’s right, pigs out in the bay fussocking for food. The will eat whatever the can find, sand worms, bugs, small fish, crabs etc. But the can be seen all the way around the bay. Amusing.

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This evening I’m off to Friends cafe for dinner with a lady and her sons from the tour. Tomorrow I ferry over to ‘Eua for some hiking and climbing.

Trail Wanderer

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