Nuku alofa, Tonga
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Approximately 3½ Hours
Explore Tonga's capital city on a panoramic drive. You will stop to view from the outside the Royal Palace, now used solely for ceremonial occasions. This white Victorian residence was shipped from New Zealand and assembled in Nuku'alofa in 1867.
Never colonized by the West, Tonga claims one of the last pure expressions of Polynesian culture. Get in touch with ancient Tonga at a village featuring a collection of artifacts and demonstrations of traditional island crafts. Learn about communication before the days of mobile phones and email. Watch the making of tapa cloth, mat weaving and woodcarving.
Visit a traditional Tongan fale (house) and see typical local costumes. Souvenirs and island crafts are available for purchase here.
On Tonga's western coast, you'll see the Chief's Whistles -- widely considered the most spectacular blowholes in the entire South Pacific.
Stop near Kolovai to meet the flying foxes. These nocturnal fruit bats sleep suspended from trees, heads down, and wings folded. Bats enjoy a sacred status in Tonga and live a restful, protected life. Finally, you will visit the Royal Tombs -- final resting place of King George Tupou I and his descendants.
Transportation is by basic island bus with no air-conditioning or PA system. Restroom facilities are limited and very basic. Shade is limited; to avoid sunburn, wear light, long clothing suitable for use as a cover-up. Bring a hat and sunglasses; wear biodegradable sunscreen. Bring bottled water. Bring insect repellent. Blowholes are affected by sea and weather conditions; blowhole activity is not guaranteed. Tour does not operate on Sundays.