The Kingdom of Tonga is an independent archipelago lying around a third of the way between New Zealand and Hawaii, south of Samoa and east of Fiji. Also called the Friendly Islands, a name bestowed by Captain Cook because of the warm reception he received, Tonga is the Pacific's only island monarchy.
Inhabited islands form four groups, each with distinctly different things to offer. Nuku'alofa on Tongatapu to the south is the capital of the kingdom. The Ha'apai group is made up of volcanic and coral islands. The remote volcanic Niuas lie to the north and the Vava'u archipelago has beautiful waterways.
The Vava'u archipelago of around 50 islands is formed by volcanic mountains rising from the sea. For those interested in diving, snorkelling and marine activities it is paradise. It has an abundance of fine white sand beaches, colourful coral reefs, blue lagoons, lush coconut plantations and displays of superb shells. There are shipwrecks and caves to explore, and boating is superb in protected waters, usually with reliable trade winds to help you along.
Between July and November huge pods of humpback whales accompanied by their new offspring arrive, and often swim alongside boats.
Tongan beach feasts are held regularly, and there are many island beach bars and restaurants, ideal for watching Tonga's beautiful sunsets.
The Moorings South Pacific Yacht Charters has operations around the world, and has 12 Beneteau yachts in its Tongan fleet. If you wish to charter one of their boats, you will be assured of excellent service from the moment you make contact. They will help you plan the holiday of a lifetime. No matter your level of sailing skill, they have just the yacht and itinerary for you.
No formal certification is required and when you arrive, your craft will be ready to go. Ice, fuel and water, snorkelling gear will have been loaded and most yachts have a barbecue grill, GPS and autopilot. Berths will be made up and after a briefing, you're ready to go, armed with the knowledge to find the best anchorages, restaurants and beaches and the location of navigational hazards.
There is the option of having the services of an experienced skipper who will accompany you on the first afternoon so you feel totally at ease. Rental cars, guided tours, sea kayaks and dive equipment can be arranged before your arrival, ensuring no precious holiday time is wasted.
The Moorings' boats are custom-built for easy handling and comfort and are meticulously maintained. They also have Crewed Yacht Vacations with captain and cook if you really want to relax.
Gateway to Paradise is a local company dedicated to putting the icing on your holiday cake. The only thing you will need to do is to pack your bags and they'll take care of the rest. Tell them your holiday dream and they will tailor the perfect itinerary.
Tonga, in the southern Pacific Ocean.
The Moorings South Pacific Yacht Charters has five-night sailing packages starting at $475 per person twin share, based on four people in two cabins. They include yacht or catamaran hire, airport transfers, welcome drink and snorkelling equipment. Captain and chef costs extra.
Pacific Blue has flights to Tongatapu.
|Brisbane & Melbourne
There are limited seats which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares are one-way on the net. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one way flight is applicable. Fares are correct at September 27, 2007, and are subject to change.
Prices correct at September 27, 2007
For more information
The Moorings Tonga
South Pacific Sailing Holidays and Charters
Toll Free from Australia 1 800 798 400
Ph: +64 (9) 378-7900
Fax:+64 (9) 379-8088
Gateway to Paradise
Box 63, Post Office
Kingdom of Tonga
Ph: +676 874 0241
Airlines Tonga Air Fiji
Kingdom of Tonga
Ph:+676 26-125, +676 23-690
Special offer for Getaway viewers
If you are one of the first 50 callers you will receive 35 percent off yacht rentals for five or more nights. You need to sail between October 1, 2007 and June 20, 2008.