Nuku'alofa, Tonga

Mar 20 - 22, 2001

 Our Travel Experience

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Tourist Info


Our Travel Experience

We were extremely happy to be back in town after spending three grueling nights on Fafa Island. We read in the lonely planet that Harbour view Motel was "spotless" - so that's where we headed when the Fafa Island boat dropped us at the wharf.
The only air conditioned room they had available was the top floor suite. We asked to see the room and were very relieved when it looked acceptable. We immediately settled in with a shower! Ahhh - to be clean again. Seth then took a long nap while Tara sorted and cleaned all the shells she'd collected so far from Fiji and Tonga. We were in a huge open-plan apartment and relished the space, the concrete walls, the screens in the windows and the wraparound balcony. We were so glad to be off Fafa!
Shell sorting was quite a task actually. The shells that Tara had collected and boxed up quickly in Fiji couldn't be sent home from Fiji since the postoffice in the airport was not open at 7am when we flew from Fiji to Tonga. Since Tara had collected so many more shells while on Fafa Island, she decided to lay them all out on the kitchen counter, sort through them and hopefully reduce the number by 50%. Her efforts were sucessful. She also separted them into three different batches so that we could mail shells to her Mom, Dad and Seth's parents. This separation would ensure that hopefully one set got through the mail intact. It was a good project for Tara to work on while Seth slept and slept and slept. 

It wasn't until dinner time when we ventured out of the hotel room. We had an enjoyable night with Brian and Jan in their "Room 105 Bar" before leaving for a yummy Italian meal together. We met Trevor, a Kiwi, from the International Dateline, Grace, an Italian, from the ?Waterfront? and another Kiwi woman who ran a beverage company. It was neat getting an inside view at the expats in Tonga. At the Italian restaurant we met Marco, an Italian, and his Tongan wife Ana. Again, neat to get a look into who chose to move to Tonga.
We got home late, but even so, Tara had to try out the whirlpool bath. Good thing she did too - since in the morning we found out the room was not free for a 2nd night and we rushed to pack up since we had agreed to an island tour at 9:30am. 
We were late for our island tour, but Stan - our guide, didn't seem to mind. Stan, a Tonga who'd lived in Utah & then Hawaii for 30 years, brought with him a friend, Ron, from San Francisco, to continue our tour while Stan went to court for a speeding ticket. We enjoyed the island tour: Captain Cook's landing place, views of the Royal Palace, Royal Residences, Royal 'London taxi', resting stone, pristine beach, powerful blowholes, flying fox bats and coconut tree field after coconut tree field.  We concluded a tour by stopping by two hotels on the Western tip of the island. We decided to move the next day to the first one we visited that offered a luxury suite apartment instead of the one that offered a USD10/night coconut leaf bungalow on the beach.
 Captain Cook Lanking Place
 Ha'amonga Trilathon Monument
That night we enjoyed the International Dateline's Tongan buffet, traditional dancing by men and women plus yukelele playing. Seth had never seen greased women having paper money stuck to their bodies as they danced! The yukelele show was actually great. 
We sat at a table with another couple who were traveling. They were from Germany and it was neat hearing that they also were carrying a Vaio and keeping up a web site. 
We thought staying at the International Dateline hotel was kool - if only for the name. The staff were very friendly and the common facilities good. Tara went for two swims in the pool and we FINALLY found suntan lotion on Tonga - in the Dateline's sundry store. However, the room itself needed remodeling - especially the bathroom. The Halloween welcome mat, though, was a fun - if bizarre - touch.

The next day, we did not rush off to the Western coast. We enjoyed a leisurely 12 noon check-out and then set out to explore the town. We started at the Little Italy restaurant (where supposedly Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone had dined). Then, we walked into town past the Palace. We saw royal chickens and roosters, but not the royal pigs. Everyone else kept pigs - why not the royal family we supposed. After mailing off a package, we enjoying looking at the commemorate Tongan postage stamps. Then, we just wandered through town. It was a very enjoyable town with a little cafe, numerous T-shirt shops, a bookstore and one internet computer. We got to the market just before it closed. Thankfully Tara was still able to buy a watermelon - for all of T$2!

Tara's standard hair style for tropical areas actually gave her a new short-hair-look, but in actuality, most of her hair is braided down the back of her head -it's only the part that used to be shaved that is sticking out and looking short.


Category Rating Comments
Overall Experience
Ease of Journey
Harbour View - the top floor suite was EXACTLY what we needed after FaFa 
International Dateline hotel - good dinner show, nice pool, but past its prime
Coolness 8  
Tourist Info

Harbour view Motel's top floor suite T$170 per night

International Dateline standard room T$72 per night
Buffet dinner with entertainment T$20 per person + drinks

Incoming Flight:
17 March: Nadi to Tonga on Air Pacific 211 at 7am - economy seats 36A and 36B.
Outbound Flight:
24 March: Tonga to Nadi on Air Pacific 210 at 9pm - economy seats 29E nd 29F.

American Airlines reward ticket. Paid USD 95 total in processing fees for a return tickets since we did not book 21 days in