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Map of Eua, Tonga

Eua is a popular weekend retreat for travelers staying in Nukualofa. It's a high, wooded island quite different from Tongatapu. Millions of years ago Eua tilted counterclockwise, creating high cliffs along the east side of the island while the west side dips into the sea.

All of the 5,000 inhabitants live on the western side of the island where they grow vegetables and keep pigs. The villages are rather poor and rundown, an indication of why so many Tongans live in Auckland.

For the do-it-yourself traveler who enjoys hiking, Eua has much to offer. The forest reserve east of Futu has many interesting trails, including one which runs along the cliffs with several spectacular viewpoints. The truly adventurous can scramble down to Lokupo Beach in a day. A great variety of birds live in the untouched rainforest below the cliffs.

Another excellent hike is south to the coastal cliffs at Lakufa'anga. At Li'angahuo 'a Maui the spear of the demigod Maui is said to have pierced a cliff and dug out the Tonga Deep in the sea.

Fungatave Beach in northern Eua can be reached via a narrow trail down the cliffs. Tufuvai and Ufilei have more accessible beaches but the undertow can be deadly and you're better off saving your swimming for other parts of Tonga.

Eua doesn't have a real hotel but a handful of small guest houses are in the villages near Kaufana Airport. The daily (except Sunday) ferry from Nukualofa ties up to a wharf at Ononua. The boat ride from Tongatapu can be rough and the ferry is canceled whenever there's a storm warning.

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