Niuatoputapu Island, 300 km north of Vava'u, is a triangular island of 18 square km with a long central ridge 150 meters high. You can climb this ridge from Vaipoa village in the north and explore the many bush trails, which lead to small garden patches on top. A plain surrounds the ridge like the rim of a hat, and lovely white sandy beaches fringe the island, with a sheltered lagoon on the north side and pounding surf on the south. Much of the island is taken up by gardens producing copra and exquisite limes, but some fast-disappearing native forest remains in the south.
Niuatoputapu is a traditional island, where horse-drawn carts are still used and fine pandanus mats are made. All 1,300 inhabitants live in the three villages along the north coast. Hihifo, the administrative center, is about three km north of the airstrip. The wharf at Falehau offers good anchorage for yachties, good swimming for everyone.
The finest beaches are on Hunganga Island, accessible by wading at low tide. The channel between Hihifo and Hunganga is strikingly beautiful, with clean white sands set against curving palms, and the majestic cone of Tafahi Island looming in the distance. The waterways south of the village are not only scenic but also idyllic swimming areas. Within Hihifo itself is Niutoua Spring, a long freshwater pool in a crevice—perfect for an afternoon swim. Countless pigs forage on the beach at Hihifo, and from July-October, whales are numerous offshore.
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