Kingdom of Tonga (map) is a Polynesian sovereign state and archipelago comprising 169 islands, of which 36 are inhabited. While exposed to colonial pressures, Tonga has always governed itself, which makes it unique in the Pacific. The largest island, *Tongatapu (map), on which the capital city of *Nukuʻalofa (map) is located, covers 257 square kilometres (99 sq mi).
The capital, Nuku’alofa, on the north coast, has a relaxed air, despite the troubles of a few years ago. There are some interesting places to visit, such as ancient tombs and coastal blowholes, and some nice beaches with good snorkelling. Tongatapu also provides a good opportunity to view a unique culture.
*‘Eua Island (map) is located only 17.5km east southeast from Tongatapu. It has beaches on the western side but dramatic cliffs on the east coast, with Tonga’s largest tropical rain forest, which is a great place to go trekking.
+ Tonga Tourism Authority
The roads are good in and around Nuku’alofa but deteriorate the further from the town and the further south you travel.