‘Eua – Day 1 – ‘Eua National Park

Of all the islands in the Kingdom of Tonga, ‘Eua is the one with the big national park you can walk around. This was one of the main reasons for coming here, so today I arranged to go on one of the unguided walks through this natural paradise.

Everything is closed on Sunday in Tonga, so this is the perfect day for a hike. There are several hikes on the island, some guided and some unguided. While I am pretty confident with hiking unguided, after several incidents of travellers getting lost and falling into sink holes, the resort prefers that the guided tours are guided. Also, since the guides do not work on Sunday, I arranged to be dropped off for one of the unguided ones.

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I was driven to the edge of ‘Eua National Park and Forest plantation and given a roughly hand drawn map. My driver – the owner of the accommodation – highlighted the path I should take, and some of the points. I then headed off on my way.

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The initial part of the walk is along a gravel road to and old forest nursery. It’s a disused house, but it’s hard to tell as many of the homes on the island look in worse condition. The path splits off and heads to a place called the Hafu Pool. Hafu Pool is a mini dam made with a concrete wall. A small stream runs down the hill in the pool and then beyond via a couple of channels. This would be a good place for swimming.

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Beyond the pool the trail continues for a hundred metres to Big ‘Ovava – a giant Banya tree. The tree grows out of sink hole and you can follow a path down to the bottom where there is a cave. The cave is fairly large with a hole in the ceiling.

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There is a crack in the wall at the base where you can follow the cave in further, but I decided not to follow it, as it was rather slippery and I had a while to go. To exit the cave, you can climb up the Bunya tree and out.

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I was told the path to the west from the Banya tree was overgrown, but I went that way anyway and yes, it’s overgrown, about half way up, I turned back. No point getting lost. I headed back to the old forest nursery and along a 4×4 track that lead up a steady climb into the forest. I followed the designated ribbons and cut through some over grown but obvious paths until I came to the cliff tops at a place called the rats cave. It’s a small, waist high hole in the rock.

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I crawled in and it goes for ten metres before dropping down into a cave. The cave is small, but it opens out onto the cliff face and the views out into the Pacific. Climbing out of the cave is not the cleanest. It’s more of a scramble on your stomach. I emerged covered in dirt.

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Walking through the forest again, I quickly came to the Lokupo lookout, a wooden platform looking out to see. Brilliant views of the Pacific, the beaches and the forest at the base of the cliffs. I walked along to the Louua lookout, a similar platform looking out more to the north. I hung out here for lunch and a rest in the sun.

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I walked back to the start point, mostly downhill, and instead of ringing for a lift back to the resort, I decided to walk – it’s only an extra 3-4km and I’ve been walking anyway, so what’s another 45 minutes?

Dinner at the resort is a Umu – like a Hangi but more Tongan. I was joined by a couple of girls I’d met at Toni’s Guest house for dinner and beers.

Tomorrow, a guided tour.

The Trail Wanderer.

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