Our Islands

The Kingdom of Tonga

Our trips to the Kingdom of Tonga incorporate activity at our main island base on Tongatapu and the outer islands.

Tongatapu (Sacred South) Main Island in the Kingdom

Area: 260 sq kms | Population: 69,000

Malo e lelei!

Welcome to Tongatapu. The ancient Kingdom of Tonga is an archipelago of 176 islands (52 of which are inhabited), scattered over 700,000 square kilometres of ocean in the South Pacific. As the Kingdoms cultural and political centre, Tongatapu is home to our Base Clinic.

  • Largely flat with many geological and cultural attractions
  • Myriad of beaches, coral Islands, reefs, villages
  • Dramatic landscapes
  • Numerous excellent day trips
  • Home to King George Tupou V and the sovereignty
  • Often overlooked by tourists on their way to other Islands, Tongatapu offers a great deal

Nuku’alofa, the capital, is located on the main island of Tongatapu. The island is also home to the Royal Family, the Government, many businesses and the majority of the Tongan population.

Most travellers who come to the Kingdom will arrive via Nuku’alofa, Tongatapu. The town is well equipped for visitors and the terrain is flat, so it is easy to explore by car or bike or simply walk around.

Nuku’alofa, meaning abode of love, on Tongatapu, meaning sacred south, is home to reminders of the Kingdom of Tonga’s ancient past. Take your time to discover and explore Tonga’s key archaeological sites including the mysterious Ha’amonga ‘a Maui Trilithon (stone hedge of the Pacific) and the Langi (terraced tombs) and moats on the Eastern side.

To find out more on Tongatapu go to:

Tonga Visitors Bureau (Ministry of Tourism)

Tourism Tonga


Vava’u is the Kingdom of Tongas most visited island group. It is simply stunning and very popular with the international sailing community, whale enthusiasts, and provides amazing diving and deep sea fishing opportunities.

Area: 60 islands | Population: 16,000

  • The waters of Vava’u are truly magnificent – you can see the bottom at 40 metres
  • Vava’u is home to one of the worlds finest natural harbours: Port of Refuge Harbour
  • Exceptional sailing – numerous anchorages, great social scene
  • In season one of only two or three places in the world where you can swim with whales
  • Vibrant cafe and nightlife in Neiafu township
  • The Kingdoms favourite tourism destination!

With its sheltered anchorages, Vava’u is a haven for yachties and is reknown as both the sailing paradise of the Pacific and one of the world’s great sailing centres. It is also regarded as a water based nature lover’s paradise and the most scenic region in the Kingdom of Tonga.

There’s an extensive charter boat operation and, from July to October, you can see the magnificent humpback whales that come to the warm waters to mate and calve. For something really special, you might choose to swim with the whales.

Snorkelling, diving, sports fishing and sea kayaking are all on the menu here. Beneath the water, the great visibility – up to 30m – makes journeys out to remote underwater caves and mysterious shipwrecks a delight.

Swim inside Swallows Save, dive into Mariners Caves or discover the calm waterways by sea kayak. If you are feeling up to it, why not venture out overnight and stay under the stars on your own white sandy beach.

To find out more about Vava’u go to:

Tonga Visitors Bureau (Ministry of Tourism)

Tourism Tonga


The history of the Niue Island can be traced back to a 1000 years when the Polynesian settles came here. Traces of Pukapulan dialect are still there in the native language which is based on the Samoan and Tongan language. The Polynesian settlers were raters isolated as there was very little inter island trade and the existence of the limestone island was in itself very difficult due to lack of rivers and cultivable soil.

The island of Niue is one of the smallest island countries in the Pacific Ocean. It is a small and beautiful country, friendly in nature and now emerging as a major tourist stop in the Pacific Ocean.

The Tongans called it Behold Coconuts when they first discovered the island of Niue. The word Niue means Behold Coconuts in the native Tongan and Samoan language. The rock island just 1500 miles to the north east of New Zealand had huge straight cliffs of more 60 feet height rising out of sea. The Island was full of coconut trees initially and hence was given the name Niue. The population of the island is miniscule and sometimes in the fall the number of whales visiting the island outnumbers the visiting humans.

To find out more about Niue go to:

Niue Island Tourism


Comprising of ten islands, Samoa has something to offer every type traveler, from gentle rainforest hikes to fun water sport activities and of course, swimming with the turtles! A day at Papaseea Sliding Rock is a favourite past time with Samoan families.

A trip to author Robert Louis Stevenson’s house in Vailima conjures up romantic images of the South Pacific, making Samoa an obvious inspiration for his famous novel, Treasure Island.

Those looking for a soft adventure option must not miss out on the powerful blowholes of Savaii or the stunning swimming site, To Sua Trench at Upolu.

For those looking for a romantic getaway, Samoa’s coast is dotted with glorious beach front resorts ranging from deluxe properties offering a little (or a lot) of luxury in an intimate setting, or the traditional fale – a Samoan beach hut located steps away from the glistening waters and surf breaks of the South Pacific.

State of the art conference centres are located in Upolu, making Samoa the perfect place for your next meeting and conference while our new sporting facility meet international standards and is a popular off season training ground for international teams for Rugby and Swimming.


However, what really sets us apart is our Fa’a Samoa, a unique tradition 3,000 years in the making and is the essence of the Samoan culture. We see this as a guide on how we manage our relationships with our family, our elders, our community and the environment.

With an emphasis on respect and pride for oneself, each other and the environment, coming to Samoa is like entering one big family home, where everyone takes care of and watches out for each other!

To find out more about Samoa, go to:

Samoa Tourism


Kia Orana!

Rarotonga is the most populous island of the Cook Islands. The Cook Islands’ capital,  Avarua, is on the north coast of Rarotonga, along with the international airport. Rarotonga is a very popular tourist destination with many resorts, hotels and motels.

The island is surrounded by a lagoon, which often extends more than a hundred metres to the reef, then slopes steeply to deep water. The reef fronts the shore to the north of the island, making the lagoon there unsuitable for swimming and water sports, but to the south east, particularly around Muri, the lagoon is at its widest and deepest. This part of the island is the most popular with tourists for swimming, snorkelling and boating. Agricultural terraces, flats and swamps surround the central mountain area.

The interior of the island is dominated by eroded volcanic peaks cloaked in dense vegetation. Rarotonga is encircled by a main road, Ara Tapu, that traces the coast and which makes for a great round-the-island bicycle trip. Due to the mountainous interior, there is no road crossing the island, but for the adventurous there is a popular cross-island walk that connects Avatiu Valley with the south side of the island. Transportation is provided by two bus routes along the main road: Clockwise & Anti-Clockwise. Although there are bus stops, the buses pick up and set down anywhere en route.

A large tract of land has been set aside in the south east as the Takitumu Conservation Area to protect native birds and plants.

To find out more about Rarotonga and the Cook Islands go to:

Cook Islands Tourism



Fiji is an island country in Melanesia. The country comprises an archipelago of more than 332 islands, of which 110 are permanently inhabited, and more than 500 islets. The two major islands are Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. The former contains Suva, the capital and largest city. The international airport is also in Suva.

Fiji’s culture is a rich mosaic of Indigenous Fijian, Indo-Fijian, Asian and European traditions. Fijian society has also evolved over the past century with the introduction of more recent traditions, such as Indian and Chinese, as well as heavy influences from Europe and Fiji’s Pacific neighbours – particularly Tonga and Samoa. Thus, the various cultures of Fiji have come together to create a unique multicultural national identity.

Fiji has a significant amount of tourism with the popular regions being Nadi, the Coral Coast, Denarau Island, and Mamanuca Islands. Fiji’s attraction is primarily its white sandy beaches and postcard perfect islands with all year round tropical weather. Fiji has a significant amount of soft coral reefs and scuba diving is a common tourist activity.

To find out more about Fiji go to:

Fiji Tourism

We are a New Zealand based organisation founded because of our strong historical and cultural connections to the Pacific plus a very real need to provide this service. Quite simply, animals need our help – to be a voice to better their lives in whatever way we can. Welcome to our journey.

Contact SPAW
Telephone   + 64 27 527 3642
Email      volunteer@spaw.org.nz