Where is Tonga ?
Its fun the first time you have to point out where on the World Atlas our little Kingdom resides, after all there’s a whole new world to be discovered for many not knowing who we are let alone where we are.
But a spec on any globe, grossly enlarged in the map below is a locator of where the Kingdom resides (physically) in relation to our many island neighbours. Our big island brothers, Australia to the west, and New Zealand to the south west are at least visible without a magnifying glass.
The Kingdom of Tonga is located between latitudes 15S and 23S and longitudes 173W and 177W. This places Tonga just to the west of the International Dateline, south of Samoa and south east of Fiji.
Tonga consists of four island groups: Tongatapu/‘Eua, Ha’apai, Vava’u and the Niua’s. There are 170 islands in the Tonga Group of which 36 are inhabited. Dry land area of Tonga is 699 sq km and the sea area covered by the group is 362,500 sq km.
Ryan Wilkes’ Path Less Travelled provides some incredible imagery of the islands
- 'Eua‘Eua is a large hilly island near Tongatapu. Off the beaten tourist track, it can be reached by taking the short flight from Fu’amotu Airport departing daily from Tongatapu (except Sundays), or by taking a boat ride across the sea passage separating ‘Eua from Tongatapu.
‘Eua is one of the oldest islands of the Pacific, 19km long and 7.5km wide with the highest point 312m. Millions of years ago sections of the sea floor were pushed up and tilted by huge earth movements.
- Ha'apaiThe Ha’apai Group consists of low coral atolls set amongst coral reefs, spectacular in their colour and variety, however channels can only be navigated by smaller passenger vessels. The villages are neat and carefully set out on manicured lawns.
Ha’apai’s administrative centre, Lifuka, is the sort of place which some people come to for a couple of days and wish they could stay a couple of months, while others wish themselves elsewhere after a couple of hours.
- NiuaNiuafo’ou & Niuatoputapu Niua Fo’ou (diagrammed) and Niuatoputapu present the northernmost island group of the Kingdom of Tonga. Folklore history recalls
Niuafo’ou is an example of the determination of mankind to persevere, cling to their ancestral homes through large risks and inconveniences. Niuafo’ou is prone to volcanic eruptions, and there have been at least ten major recordings since 1853, as well as getting a fair share of the cyclones in the region.
- TongatapuThe Sacred Island Tongatapu (“Sacred Tonga”) is Tonga’s main island, containing one-third of its land area and nearly two-thirds of the population. The island is a flat sloping atoll with grand cliffs along its southern shore, a wide lagoon along its northern coast. Attractions include historical sites as well as the beaches, beautiful coral reefs, exotic caves, and the magnificent blowholes.
“Most of Tongatapu looks very much like all other parts of Tonga.
- Vava'uAgainst a backdrop of steep, green hills and dense forest lies the breathtaking Port of Refuge. Esquisite coral waters of aqua and turquoise glisten against the darker, inky depths. Palm clad, coral islets with deeply undercut cliffs almost seem to float above the crystal waters. Villages straggle down green hillsides have hidden cave, the subject of many books and legends, can only be reached by diving. The cathedral like Swallows Cave which is lit by shafts of multicoloured rays of light, can be entered by launch.
- TravelInternational Air Transport Regular flights from Australia, Fiji, Hawai’i, New Zealand, and Western Samoa provide a gateway to Tonga for travellers from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Pacific, and Americas. Daily arrivals and departures allow visitors to schedule their stay for their convenience or business requirements.
Air New Zealand**, which provides a connection service for travellers to the Niues through Tonga or for travellers coming and going to Apia, the Hawai’i/USA, New Zealand and Australia.