‘Eua National Park in Tonga

The ʻEua National Park is located on the island of ʻEua in Tonga and is the only forest national park in the country, covering an area of 4.51 km² (2 square miles), with about 800 meters of tropical jungle and cliffs rising above the ocean. This park is situated on the eastern coast of the island, protecting an 800-meter strip of rainforest. To the west, it is bordered by steep cliffs that plunge into the ocean, characterized by numerous caves and natural abysses. Designated as a national park in 1992, the area is under the protection of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).

Information about ʻEua National Park


ʻEua National Park was established in 1992 with the aim of protecting its diverse ecosystems and unique species. Since then, it has been managed by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, ensuring the conservation of this valuable natural environment.

'Eua National Park in Tonga

National park directions

  • ʻEua Island, Tonga

Conservation and management objectives

The park was created to preserve biodiversity, provide educational and recreational opportunities, and promote sustainable ecotourism. These objectives continue to guide management policies and actions today.

Recommended tours and activities

Powered by GetYourGuide

What to see and do in ʻEua National Park

Swim with humpback whales

Swimming with humpback whales in ʻEua is a fascinating experience. You can choose to visit the warm waters of the island group north of Vava’u or the colder area of ʻEua, where organized whale swimming tours are available.

Swim with humpback whales in ʻEua National Park, Tonga

Initially, I was worried about the confusion on the Internet regarding the whale season duration and my lack of knowledge about Tonga’s geography. However, I found out that these mighty creatures still transit through southern island groups like ʻEua on their journey to and from Antarctica, offering exceptional opportunities to swim with whales here as well.

The ideal time for this whale activity in Tonga runs from June to October, with sightings more frequent during August and September. The whales usually stop in the waters around ʻEua before continuing their migration to Antarctic oceans. This means the whale-watching season in ʻEua extends until early November.

Early September is a good time to see them, as most of the whales will have left Vava’u and will be beginning their migration south. Booking a trip to ʻEua at this time gives you an excellent chance to see them.

4×4 island tour of ʻEua

4x4 tour of ʻEua island

Exploring the island of ʻEua on a 4×4 tour is the best way to enjoy its landscapes and highlights. Most accommodations on the island offer guided tours or can arrange one for you with other guests.

Despite being the second largest island in the country, ʻEua is compact and allows you to cover everything on a full tour in one day.

These tours are usually quite informal and offer similar itineraries in terms of destinations and prices, regardless of who you decide to go with. It is important to mention that it is not possible to book in advance online, so I recommend contacting your accommodation directly upon arrival.

It is crucial to note that many of the places you will visit are remote and require a 4×4 vehicle and local knowledge to access them safely. Although it may be tempting to explore on your own, it is not recommended due to the difficulty and limited accessibility. Guided tours are an economical and safe option to make the most of your experience in ʻEua.

Rats Cave

Exploring Rats Cave in ʻEua is a unique and memorable experience. After having breakfast on the island, you can take a 4×4 to travel through the muddy and winding roads of the national park until you reach a viewpoint with spectacular views of the jungle and ocean, framed by steep cliffs.

From the viewpoint, you can see the cave entrance, a small hole in the rock a few hundred meters above the ground.

The name Rats Cave comes from the fact that you have to crawl on the ground to enter, not because there are rats.

The cave opens out to the cliff with incredibly beautiful views of the ocean.

Big Ovava Tree (The Great Tree of the Forest Plantation)

Big Ovava Tree (The Great Tree of the Forest Plantation)

The Big Ovava Tree is a towering tree located in the center of the forest plantation of ʻEua, Tonga. Known for its gigantic size and impressive presence, it is said that this tree was the inspiration for the Tree of Life in the movie Avatar. Surrounded by dense jungle, its massive trunks and hanging vines offer a unique experience for visitors, allowing them to explore its magnitude and take spectacular photos.

The Big Tree (in Tongan: Ovava Nui mo Haʻalao ʻi he ʻUta o e lau Lafa, in English: Big Tree) is a large tree. It can be seen walking through the forest plantation in the center of ʻEua, immersed in dense tropical forests that will transport you to the world of Tarzan.

The "Big Ovava Tree" is a must-see, legendary for its monumental size and is said to have inspired the Tree of Life from the movie Avatar. Surrounded by lush jungle, stroll among its mighty trunks and climb its vines to admire its magnitude.

Hafu Pool

Continuing the walk from the Big Tree, you reach Hafu Pool, a natural spring highlighted in local legends. Here, a winding stream feeds several small waterfalls, offering a unique serenity accompanied by the natural charm of the place.

Ana ‘Ahu Cave

Ana 'Ahu Cave, ʻEua Island, Tonga

Ana ‘Ahu Cave, also known as the smoking hole, is a fascinating cave in ʻEua. Inside, a tall waterfall descends through a deep, dark tube, creating a mysterious mist that seems to rise from the bottom of the cave. This phenomenon gives it its characteristic name. Accessing the cave involves a small adventure through the jungle and slippery slopes, but the sight of the rising mist and the natural surroundings make the visit worthwhile.

It can be reached by continuing the route that leads to Big Ovava Tree and Hafu Pool.

Laku Fa’anga Cliffs, the rock garden, and the land bridge among wild horses

The Laku Fa’anga Cliffs are impressive and can be seen along with the rock garden and the land bridge among the wild horses by heading to the southern end of ‘Eua, where you experience a great contrast with the dense vegetation of the national park.

Wild Horses

Upon arrival, warnings are usually given about the wild horses, as caution is needed. Their temperament is not the same as that of horses that roam freely in the countryside where we live. These horses were introduced years ago and now live freely.

Rock Garden

The arid landscape with scattered rock pillars is known as the "rock garden." This, along with the cliffs, provides a very beautiful perspective. You can see seabirds nesting, trees growing from the rocks, and a quite spectacular panorama.

The journey ends with a dirt path that goes through the jungle to the sign indicating the arrival at the land bridge (Li’Angahuo ‘a Maui Arch) that frames the ocean.

Lokupo Lookout

Lokupo Lookout offers an unparalleled panoramic view of the coast of ʻEua. From this point, visitors can admire the stunning landscape of steep cliffs, the vast ocean, and the lush vegetation that characterizes the island. It is a perfect place to contemplate the natural beauty of ʻEua and capture memorable moments, especially at sunset.

Beaches of ‘Eua

Another recommended activity is to visit some of the beaches of ‘Eua. On relaxing days, you can enjoy the volcanic beaches filled with cliffs, watch the sunset, or swim. Some of the recommended beaches are:

  • Fangatave Beach
  • Tufuvai Beach
  • Ha Aluma Beach
  • Lokupo Beach

Viewpoints of ‘Eua Island

Another highlight is the island’s viewpoints, where you can enjoy spectacular views of the ocean and cliffs. ‘Eua has many spots to observe, enjoying impressive views and magical sunsets. Some viewpoints are:

  • Fangatave Cliffs Viewpoint
  • Lokupo Viewpoint
  • Laua Viewpoint
  • Laku Fa’anga Cliffs

Sunday Church Service

If you want to immerse yourself in the local culture, you can visit the Sunday church service. This gives another perspective on the ‘Eua travel experience. The Sunday service is conducted in the Tongan language, so you might not understand much, but you can observe and listen to the choral singing with Moana’s musical interpretation.

Cliff Climbing

Climbing in Tonga, specifically at Fangatave Beach and other areas like "The Lost Walls" and Laku Fa’anga, offers a variety of routes with difficulty grades ranging from 17 to 30 (equivalent to 5.9 to 5.13 on the difficulty scale). Fangatave Beach is known for being the most developed spot for sport climbing on limestone.

For interested climbers, useful resources with updated information and topos are available. It is important to note that climbers must bring their own equipment and have sufficient knowledge, as well as pay an entry fee to climb on the island.

Flora of ‘Eua

The park is home to numerous endemic species such as Aglaia heterotricha, Podocarpus pallidus, and Dysoxylum tongense. These unique plants contribute significantly to the park’s biological diversity.

The park’s vegetation is dominated by dense tropical rainforest, with tall trees and a rich understory. The combination of different types of plants creates a complex and biodiversity-rich habitat.

Many of the species present in the park are classified as rare or endangered, highlighting the importance of conservation efforts to protect these valuable natural resources.

Fauna of ‘Eua

The park is home to endemic fauna such as the ‘Eua forest gecko (Lepidodactylus euaensis) and the red-breasted Koki parrot (Prosopeia tabuensis). These species are emblematic of ‘Eua’s biodiversity.

It is also a paradise for bird watching, with species like the white-tailed tropicbird (Phaethon lepturus) and the black-naped tern (Aerodramus spodiopygius) that can be seen in their natural habitats.

In addition to birds, the park is home to various mammals, reptiles, and other animals, contributing to a balanced and vibrant ecosystem.

How to Get to ‘Eua from Tonga

To get to ʻEua from Tonga, you have two main options: take a short 7-minute flight or a ferry that takes about 1.5 hours from Tongatapu, the main island of Tonga.

ʻEua is the most accessible outer island of Tonga, making the journey relatively straightforward. If you are coming from abroad, international flights from Sydney (Australia), Auckland (New Zealand), and Nadi (Fiji) arrive at Fuaʻamotu Airport in Tongatapu, which is the main gateway to the country.

By Plane

Flying to ʻEua from Tongatapu is a unique and convenient experience thanks to Lulutai Airlines (formerly Real Tonga), which offers one of the shortest flights in the world at less than 10 minutes in duration. Tickets usually cost around 100 TOP (approximately 45 USD) and flights operate daily from Tuesday to Saturday.

It is important to note that, despite being Tonga’s national and only airline, the service can be a bit more relaxed. The most updated information on schedules and cancellations is more frequently found on their Facebook page than on their official website.

Due to the tiny size of the aircraft, adverse weather conditions can significantly affect operations and flights may be canceled at short notice. To book, you can try their website or platforms like Kiwi, although if you don’t find availability, calling the airline directly is usually the best option due to limited online availability.

Ferry to ‘Eua

An alternative to flying to ʻEua is taking the ferry, which is much cheaper than commercial flights, and there are two ferries available.

The slow ferries MV ʻOnemato and MV Alaimoana, which transport cars, cost 20 TOP (approximately 8 USD) and take about 2.5 hours to complete the journey. The MV ʻOnemato is larger but completely open, while the MV Alaimoana is smaller and offers indoor seating.

Another option is the fast passenger-only ferry, known as MV Maui, which costs 30 TOP (about 13 USD) and provides both indoor and outdoor seating. This ferry shortens the travel time to approximately one hour.

It is important to note that none of the ferries operate daily, and the schedules can be somewhat irregular. It is recommended to check the operators’ pages for updated schedules on the date you plan to visit or stop by the port and tourist information center in Tongatapu in advance to avoid any unforeseen issues.

Also, it is essential to plan your return trip in advance so that your flights or other transportation coincide.

Both the plane and ferry are suitable means of transportation to reach ʻEua National Park. Although the ferry schedules are not exact or frequent, the ferry trip offers a pleasant experience. However, strong winds and sometimes powerful tides are common, so it is not recommended for those who get seasick. But if that is not a hindrance, you might spot fish and, if you are lucky, see humpback whales swimming in the turquoise blue ocean that surrounds the palm-fringed islands during the trip.

Transportation within ‘Eua

After arriving, to get around ʻEua, Tonga, the best option is to use transfers or tours organized by your accommodation. The island has a single main road that circles the coast and passes through about 15 different villages along the way. Most attractions and points of interest in ʻEua are only accessible by 4×4 vehicles, as the terrain can be very rugged and covered in jungle. Therefore, it is not advisable to venture alone unless you are very familiar with the area.

Some accommodations offer car rentals, but it is worth noting that the island is remote and transportation means are not always reliable. If you prefer a more accessible and flexible option, renting a bicycle can be perfect. Bicycles are available for rent throughout the island, and most accommodations offer options for around 20 TOP (approximately 8.50 USD) per day. It is safe to cycle on the main roads, as they are usually not very busy.

Accommodations in ‘Eua

Accommodation on the island of ʻEua has faced significant challenges due to travel restrictions and the tsunami a few years ago, leading to the permanent closure of many options. Below are some of the hotels and guesthouses still in operation:

Alakoka Tahi Moana Guest House (Kiko’s Guesthouse)

Run by legendary local fisherman Kiko, this guesthouse is just a 10-minute walk from the beach and close to grocery stores. It offers an authentic family experience with amenities like a kitchen, pool table, and tour guide services.

Blue Water Retreat

Located near Tufuvai Beach, Blue Water Retreat offers individual bungalows with modern furnishings and private terraces ideal for whale watching. In addition to high-quality accommodation, the resort organizes various excursions and has an excellent restaurant.

Seta’s Guest House

This two-bedroom vacation home is a 3-minute walk from the beach and offers all the necessary amenities for a comfortable stay. The hosts are available to assist with shopping, providing a more private lodging experience.


There are some houses and rooms for rent, equipped with free Wi-Fi and all necessary services, making it a valid option for one or several people. In some of them, you can observe whales from the porch. An excellent option for relaxation moments.

Best Time to Visit ʻEua National Park in Tonga

The best time to visit ʻEua National Park, Tonga, is between August and September. During these months, the weather tends to be dry and warm, ideal for enjoying all the outdoor activities the island offers, as well as the protected areas.

August and September coincide with the peak whale season, the high season for sightings, when these enormous marine mammals are present in greater numbers in the waters around the island.

It is recommended to avoid the later months of the year as the weather usually becomes humid, increasing the risk of cyclones.

The temperatures in ʻEua are typical of a tropical climate, with daytime temperatures ranging between 25 and 30 °C (77 and 86 °F) throughout the year.