Despite being known as the ‘friendly islands’ because of the reception Captain Cook received when he first visited in 1773, Tonga avoided formal colonisation by the British. However under a Treaty of Friendship, Tonga became a British protected state in 1900, which lasted for seventy years. Samoa, on the other hand, was attractive to both the Americans and the Germans, a claim which resulted in a partition that remains in place today. The eastern group of islands were known as American Samoa, while the western group were called German Samoa but now simply referred to as Samoa, after New Zealand seized control in 1914.
Tonga enjoys a tropical climate with the year divided into two seasons, summer and winter. February is the hottest month with an average peak temperature of 29 degrees, while the mercury rises to around 24 degrees in August. The wettest months are between February and April. Samoa’s temperate remains steady year round at an average of 30 degrees, dipping to 29 degrees in winter. The rainy season lasts from November to April.
Both nations feature festivals throughout the year. In Samoa the Teuila Festival is an annual event that features fire knife dancing, fautasi racing and a variety of traditional performances. In Tonga the Heilala Festival celebrates the unique culture of Tonga with traditional dance, song and art.
Virgin Australia flies direct from Sydney to Apia, Samoa and Tongatapu, Tonga.
Both Tonga and Samoa are popular destinations for cruises .
All Inclusive Resorts
Tonga and especially Samoa are considered luxury resort destinations and holiday makers are spoilt for choice when it comes to suitable accommodation options. There’s a range of resorts available offering lavish décor, tropical surrounds, picturesque island views and a range of activities. View Resort options
Honeymooners will be spoilt for choice for romantic accommodation options on both Tonga and Samoa. All inclusive resorts offer couples intimate privacy, luxurious suites and all the trimmings to ensure an unforgettably romantic experience. View Honeymoon options
To find out more about the range of holiday accommodation available with Travel Associates call 1800 017 849 or enquire online.
Sights to See
Being South Pacific island nations the primary attractions centre around the beach, the sea and the sun. Diving, fishing, snorkelling are popular pursuits. Upolu and Savai’I, part of Samoa, are known as great dive spots and Tonga is known as a terrific location to snorkel with humpback whales as they migrate from the Antarctic. Yachting enthusiasts will head straight to Vava’u, a collection of 50 islands.
These paradise islands offer the opportunity to laze the day away on a secluded beach. Ha’apai, Tonga boasts beautiful sandy beaches while Lalomanu Beach on Upolu is a famed beach that features incredible powder-white sand. Perhaps much enjoyment can be had exploring the islands and finding your own piece of paradise away from civilisation and another soul; just you, your loved one and the beautiful Pacific Ocean.
If you’re a history buff, it’s worth visiting Ha’apai because in 1789 this is where the infamous mutiny on the Bounty took place. Nature lovers will appreciate the various inland walks offered throughout the islands. Savaii and Upolu feature national parks with extensive trails. The Falealupo Rainforest Preserve also has a canopy walkway for a fascinating bird’s eye view of the tropical vegetation.
Don’t Leave Without…
Although Tonga and Samoa sell sun protection and insect repellent, it can be quite expensive. Pack an ample amount with you and don’t forget to re-apply your sun protection every few hours.
Samoans and Tongans are relatively conservative. Many businesses close on Sundays and its best to avoid walking through villages on Sundays. Avoid wearing revealing clothes away from the beach with nude bathing an absolute taboo. Remove your shoes before entering a private house.
Things to be careful of…
Some sea urchins are poisonous. So avoid contact when snorkelling. Also be aware of purple cone shells and fire coral. Wear fins or footwear when exploring the ocean bed.
Stray dogs roaming Samoa can become aggressive. If in doubt, take a taxi.