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The sheer beauty of Vava’u can be overwhelming. It’s a photographer’s dream. The heavily forested main island, actually a coral atoll, rises in to more than 150 metres.
The first humans in Vava’u "island-hopped" from nearby islands around 2,000 years ago. They are believed to have come from as far west as New Guinea and Indonesia. Spanish navigator Don Francisco Antonio Mourelle discovered the Vava’u islands in 1781, just a few years after Cook landed on Tonga’s main island, Tongatapu. Although Mourelle claimed Vava’u for Spain, the Spanish never took proper possession or colonised the group of islands. In the mid 1800’s Vava’u united with other islands in the region and became part of the Kingdom of Tonga.
Tongan and English
Constitutional Monarchy since 2010
Guest favourites, the most booked Shore Tours at this port
Our handpicked Shore Tours are a must for any guest.
The waters encircling the island are perfect for diving, snorkelling, swimming and sailing. Whale watching and sea kayaking are also popular pursuits.
Join our Nuku Island and Swallows Cave tour for a full-day snorkelling and cultural safari. Enjoy exploring the waters surrounding Nuku Island and walk along one of the largest stretches of white sand beach - perfect for swimming. Fascinating Swallows Cave is home to an abundance of sea birds. Explore inside and outside the cave while swimming amongst spectacular geological formations, coral and schools of fish.
See Tonga’s only botanical garden on our Polynesian Cultural Tour and Swim. Ene’io Botanical Garden offers visions of incomparable natural beauty and is only minutes from one of the most awe-inspiring beaches on the Vava’u mainland. After exploring the gardens, enjoy a swim and relax on the beach with a cool drink from the Beach Bar.
Our Cultural Land Tour and Swim gives you a taste of island life. Visit a vanilla plantation before travelling to Anu Beach where you will witness a kava ceremony demonstration, tapa cloth making, weaving, preparation of “umu” and traditional Tongan dancing. To conclude the day you will have free time to relax at the Tongan Beach Resort.
Your ship will anchor offshore and tenders will provide a regular service to and from Vava’u throughout the day.
Taxis are available pier-side and throughout the town. Make sure you take small change with you to pay the fare.
Neiafu, the main town on Vava’u, has a good range of cafes and restaurants specialising in traditional Polynesian and other regional dishes that utilise local ingredients, in particular seafood. Quarantine authorities do not generally allow food such as fruit and vegetables, dairy and meat products or sandwiches to be taken off the ship however commercially packaged confectionery, chips and bottled drinking water are allowed subject to inspection.
Stalls selling handicrafts and a duty-free shop are located at the pier. The Utukalongalu Market in Neiafu sells everything from fruit and vegetables to jewellery, handicrafts and wood carvings. Any souvenirs that are made of plant material or animal products must be declared to quarantine authorities on arrival in Australia or New Zealand. Plant material such as certain seeds and animal products including feathers maybe restricted or need to be treated at the owners’ s expense on arrival in Australia or New Zealand.
Tonga’s climate is tropical. The summer months can get particularly hot and humid with the winter months bringing generally warm, sunny days. Make sure you stay hydrated and sheltered from the sun.
Major credit cards and charge cards are accepted in some restaurants, hotels and larger shops. Foreign currency may be exchanged ashore or automatic teller machines can provide currency to foreign card holders.
Public telephones are available throughout Vava’u. Mobile coverage is generally available as long as global roaming is selected prior to leaving home. Internet Cafes may also be available, however Wi-fi hot spots will be harder to come by.
To make your day ashore as enjoyable as possible, please wear comfortable flat soled shoes, lightweight clothing and a hat. You are also advised to bring sunscreen, bottled water and a warm jacket in cooler months. It is also a good idea to bring an umbrella. Please dress modestly. Revealing clothes are not considered suitable by the Tongan people. If you intend to go to the beach please do not wear revealing swimwear. Men and women should consider wearing a t-shirt or similar top, even when in the water.
There are a range of tours available for you to really get the most out of your time in Vava’u. Tours can be booked onboard at the Shore Tours desk and are subject to availability. Passengers are required to meet at a specific location for each Shore Tour departure. Please refer to your tour ticket for the correct time and place.
Coral is an extremely precious marine organism. In an effort to preserve its natural beauty and habitat please avoid touching it in all circumstances. During your time ashore we also ask that you dispose of your rubbish thoughtfully. Furthermore, just as with Australia’s beaches, blue bottles can visit occasionally in the summer months.