Tonga: The Friendly Islands
Tonga is a Polynesian kingdom in the South Pacific with 176 islands, 53 of which are inhabited. The state can boast of being the only one in Oceania that has never been colonized by Europeans. The nickname “Friendly Islands” was given to the islands by Captain Cook, who was overwhelmed by the friendliness of the inhabitants when he anchored in Tonga on his circumnavigation. Little did he realize that the exuberant hospitality towards him was part of a plan to assassinate him and his crew and pillage his ships. The plan was not implemented at the last minute because of a dispute among dignitaries of the islands. Such sinister plans obviously do not exist for today’s visitors to the kingdom and Cook’s name for Tonga is more accurate today than in 1773.
Tonga consists of four main island groups: ‘Eua and Tongatapu in the south, Ha’apai in the center and Vava’u in the north. Further north are the islands of Niua Fo’ou and Niuatoputapu, which make up the Niua archipelago. Each group of islands has its own charm.
In addition to a delightful yacht charter area at the Vava’u Islands, Tonga offers a wealth of activities: diving, snorkeling, swimming with whales, kayaking, kite boarding, surfing, fishing, bird watching, safaris inland.
The lovely lagoons of the western islands of Luapapu, Vaka’eita and Hunga are just as inviting as the dreamy beeches on Nuku with beautiful, white coral beaches lined with coconut palms, as well as the imposing waterfalls and caves that invite you to explore.
To the south you get to Ovaka, Ovalau and Mouna, to the west to Ofu Nafana and Kenutu. More than 40 fabulous anchorages await in the yacht charter area of the Vava’u Islands offer the sailor a wide range of destinations.
Tonga can look back on a history of about 3000 years when the Lapita people emigrated from Southeast Asia via the Malay Islands to Polynesia. The Tonganese monarchy, which is similar in structure to those of Europe, is more than 1000 years old. The first contact with Europeans took place in the 17th century. The famous mutiny on the HMS Bounty took place near the island of Tofua in the Ha’apai archipelago.