Ha'apai is a group of about 60 islands, south of the Vava'u group and north of Tongatapu. Ha'apai offers an excellent range of accommodation, from budget to up market resorts. There are many sandy beaches as well as good diving and snorkeling and the opportunity to see some whales.

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About Ha'apai

General Information About Ha'apai

Ha'apai is a group of about 60 islands, south of the Vava'u group and north of Tongatapu. Only 20 islands are constantly inhabited. This is where the Mutiny on the Bounty occurred in 1789. The total population is approximately 5,500. There are plenty of sandy beaches plus good diving and snorkeling and the opportunity to see some whales. Ha'apai offers the whole range of accommodation, from budget to up market resort.

Ha'apai Lulunga is the southern cluster of the Ha'apai group. To visit here you must get off the ship in Ha'afeva, usually in the middle of the night! Many motor boats cluster around the ship's loading platform and you have to jump onto one of the boats as they sway up and down on waves. Babies and supplies are thrown across the gap to waiting arms like rugby balls. Just about any boat with space will take you back to Ha'afeva (about a 40 minute ride) you may or may not be charged a small fee depending on how friendly you are with the skipper.

Most likely you will be invited to stay with someone on the boat during your ride, so make sure you like the person, once you are staying with them it would cause the family to lose face if you go stay with someone else. Ha'afeva is a lovely island with a medium sized village on the harbour side. The back side of the island (referred to as 'Liku' on all the islands) is pristine beaches and forest. You could camp just about anywhere near the sea as the whole shoreline is designated as government nature preserve. There are usually two or three trails that meander back to different areas of liku shoreline on all the Lulunga islands.

You will see fascinating coral rock formations and cliffs, pristine sand beaches and forest right down to the water in places. Papayas, mangoes, guavas, lemon and sour oranges, Sour-sop, rose apple, candle-nuts festoon the littoral forest, especially mango trees, perhaps seeds were long ago strewn by some Tongan Johnny Appleseed.

Other islands in the subgroup around Ha'afeva are Matuku, Kotu, Tu'unga, O'ua, Fotuha'a. O'ua is elevated and surrounded by breathtaking cliffs. Kotu is closest to the volcanic islands of Kao and Tofua. and has pristine beaches on the northwest liku. Tungua is likewise a fascinating assortment of lovely deserted beaches. Transport between all islands is relatively easy especially on Sunday when families circulate back and forth between the various islands. You would do well to have some Tongan language under your belt but people are exceedingly friendly and accommodating. Each island has an island primary school and teachers are relatively fluent in English should you need help. A hospital is located on Ha'afeva, the most developed of the group. None of the islands have electricity or roads, so people get around on foot or horseback. Basic foods are available at small shops.

For more information on where to stay, visit our Ha'apai directory.

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