A Travellerspoint blog

Day 1

Malo e leilei!!!

rain 21 °C

After a great flight from Auckland that took only 2 1\2 hours, we touched down in the rain at Tonga’s tiny airport. Rick from Heilala Holiday Lodge was there to greet me & placed 2 beautiful, fragrant frangipani lei around my neck. I can still smell the lovely perfume here in my fale (a basic little cabin made from wood & woven leaves).

I got lei'd!

We drove first into Nuku’alofa where I had lunch at Friends café – famous in Tonga for great food. I ordered what I thought was a pretty boring (& expensive at approx. NZ$7.50) chicken lettuce & mayo sandwich. Turned out it was the best dang sandwich I have ever had! The freshest softest white bread, sliced an inch thick & the tasty, marinated chicken with plenty of mayo made it amazing. I know, I’m easily impressed, but it was fab…

The drive to Heilala took about an hour I think, though I wasn’t timing it. Island time combined with island driving means no one goes anywhere fast. The landscape is mostly flat with lots of coconut & banana palms and pawpaw & mango trees. I’m looking forward to fresh pawpaw, watermelon & banana but disappointed it’s not mango or pineapple season yet.

The weather isn’t exactly tropical island holiday-ish yet, and it’s raining again even now, but I’m hopeful for tomorrow. Heilala Holiday Lodge is essentially a bunch of little fales arranged in landscaped grounds next to Ha’atafu Beach.

This is my tiny home for the next 9 days...

The view from my hammock.

There are lots of coconut palms & tropical plants - & mosquitos! Apparently the fales are supposed to be mozzie-free with netting on all the windows, but the little suckers zoom in as soon as you open the door. There are also lots of Kiwis here. It seems this place is THE spot for NZers to holiday in Tonga. They are a pretty friendly bunch, & most seem to enjoy a drink or three dozen! Also met a German couple who are really nice but they are flying out late tonight to spend a few weeks in NZ.

It’s pretty humid, but not very hot because it’s been a bit breezy & overcast. I took a walk along the beach mid-afternoon & it started raining just as I turned back – typical! Lots of broken coral on the beach so I had to watch where I put my tender townie feet. You can see it's not exactly azure waters & hot sun yet!


This afternoon, lying in the hammock on my wee veranda, I could hear the waves crashing on the reef off the beach & even though it wasn’t yet the sunny, hot vacation I’m hoping for, it was still relaxing & idyllic.

We were taken along the road to a ‘resort’ restaurant for dinner tonight because our restaurant was closed for some reason. Disappointing to say the least! I ordered pan fried fish - they should have named it completely dried out overcooked tasteless leather that bore a passing resemblance to tuna about 2 years and one freezer ago – possibly the worst meal I have ever paid for. Yuck!

The forecast for tomorrow is better so I’m looking forward to seeing some sun & getting in the water.

Posted by judesbucketlist 02:33 Archived in Tonga Tagged lodge tonga tropical_island tongatapu heilala_ holiday_

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