Do you remember the movie Avatar? The lush rain forest with huge cliffs dropping off into verdant jungles and jaw dropping views? Well we found the place that inspired the movie. Exploring much of this island we discovered secret caves, stunning lookout points and the iconic 800 year old tree that was the centerpiece of the show. Join us as we go hiking on Eua, Tonga.
Our post about Swimming with Whales on Eua Tonga speaks to all the logistics: How to get to the island, where to find accommodations, where to find food and what to bring due to the lack of restaurants and other amenities.
Map of Eua
We have depended on googlemaps for finding our way during most of our travels. However for hiking on Eua, Tonga the only map that you will need is maps.me.
In fact please don’t use googlemaps unless you are a fan of getting lost. There are very few trail signs (if any) and trails intersect nonsensically throughout the island. Somehow maps.me plots out the perfect route showing each little turn. I was truly amazed at their accuracy.
Another helpful resource for hiking on Eua, Tonga is this brochure listing all the hikes.
Hiking On Eua
Although Eua is a tiny island (and the oldest one of the 169 islands of Tonga) the options for hiking on it are quite extensive. We could not wait to start. For perspective, from the most northern point of the island (Olu Beach) to the most southern point via the only road on the island it is 22.7 km.
Length of Hike from Hideaway: 9 km one way Approximate time: 2 – 2.5 hours one way
If you are going to do one hike on Eua, I would highly recommend doing this one. The views are beyond stunning and the hike is straight forward as long as you follow the maps.me directions carefully.
After passing through a short single track in the rainforest we reached the platform and gasped. At this point I did not know the connection between Eua and the famous movie. As I looked out over cliffs covered in deep layered jungle facing the majestic ocean I immediately said: “Oh my god, this is straight out of Avatar!”
Only 150 meters north of the Lokupo Lookout on a beautiful jungle single track we found the Rat’s Cave. The path is also well marked on maps.me. This is a cave hanging high up the cliff face of the Eua National Park.
Climbing down the narrow tunnel of the first cavity we felt like rats (rest assured there are no rats in the cave). Beware if you are claustrophobic, the tunnel felt like squeezing through a sausage. Once through this tight fit, we had to climb down approximately 1.5 meters to the next cavity of the cave. We were rewarded with a gorgeous view of the park and ocean below us.
Length of Hike from Hideaway: 7.4 km one way Approximate time: 1.5 – 2 hours one way
Most of this hike is on dirt roads and double track, so if your accommodations can drop you off at the dirt track leading towards the Ovava Tree – accept the ride at least in one direction. Marta from the Hideaway was kind enough to drop us at the sign and we quickly made our way up the hill towards the giant tree.
Seeing the giant and mystical Ovava Tree for the first time is quite emotional to many. Some of the guests at the Hideaway warned us of the feelings that overcame them when they first saw it. It is such a majestic living being. One that is at least 800 years old.
It is impossible to capture this giant tree in one picture. It’s girth is so colossal you can walk through it’s many trunks. I must say that there is something quite mystical and bewitching about it. I felt a presence there and a strong connection to mother nature unlike anything I have felt before.
Natural Archway Lookout
Length of Hike from Hideaway: 15 km one way Approximate time: 3 – 3.5 hours one way
This is the longest hike on the island but the stunning views are well worth the trek. After much walking, standing on the viewing plantform we were rewarded with the view of this large naturally created archway.
The Tongans believe that the Polynesian god Maui in an angry rage caused an earthquake. His mother had been nagging him to tend to the kava plantation which he did not want to do. Hence, the anger and the earthquake. Exasperated with her son, Maui’s mother threw his hoe across the island. Where it landed in the earth created this archway. Or so the legend goes.
Regardless of how the archway was created, it is incredibly beautiful. The cliffs around it are equally interesting to look at. Showing off the aqua blue crystal clear water below.
Along the Way to the Natural Archway
There are a few lovely stops that one can make along the way to the Natural Archway. Each is worthy enough to see on it’s own:
- Ha’Aluma Beach – great place to watch whales and a beautiful beach overall
- Rock Gardens – previously these rock formation were part of the coral reefs at the bottom of the ocean – they were pushed up by volcanic activity
- Laku Fa’anga – beautiful cliffs overlooking the ocean
Hiking on Eua was a magical and mystical experience. The raw combination of cliffs, ocean, rain forest, unusual flora and fauna as well as diverse and beautiful animals makes this tiny islands a real jewel in the South Pacific.
Have you been to Eua? Did we miss anything? Would love to hear your thoughts and feedback.