Nuku alofa, Tonga
USDPrice between $0-$50
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Approximately 2½ Hours
Explore Tonga's capital city and the eastern shoreline of Tongatapu island. On a panoramic drive through town, 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.
See the Royal Tombs; the final resting places of King George Tupou I -- the founder of modern Tonga -- and his descendants. Travel to Lapaha, the ancient capital of Tonga's kings. This village on Tonga's eastern coast is the former seat of the Tui Tonga -- the island's hereditary rulers from 1200 to 1865. All that remains of the palace complex are 28 langi -- terraced and unexcavated royal tombs. Your guide will explain their significance. To be sure you don't step on sacred ground at the Ancient Burial Tombs, please seek the assistance of your tour guide.
Cook's Landing Place features a large monument that marks the spot where Captain James Cook landed in 1777.
You'll also visit the Ha'amonga Trilithon, an ancient stone arch (circa AD 1200) thought to have been used as an astronomical calendar. Nearby is the Maka Faakinanga Stone, believed to have been erected at the same time as the Ha'amonga Trilithon. According to the legend, the 11th King Tonga Tatui sat against this stone facing the water to see enemies approaching. He harbored a deep fear of being assassinated.
Transportation is by basic island bus with no air -- conditioning or PA system. Restroom facilities are limited and very basic. Wear sunglasses, sunscreen and comfortable walking shoes. Bring a hat and insect repellent. Tour does not operate on Sundays.