Niuafo'ou, the most northerly island of Kingdom of Tonga, is among the remotest islands in the Pacific. Shaped like a doughnut, it is a typical volcanic Pacific island. Despite there being no safe anchorage for large vessels, Niuafo'ou tours are still popular just for cruising along the island. The most prominent feature of Niuafo'ou is the 260 metre high peak, actually the tip of a large volcano. Simply sailing past the island helps you to relax and brings about thoughts of what it means to be away from the mad rush of city life.
As you sail past Niuafo’ou, you’ll notice the island’s most distinctive feature, a 260 metre high peak. The peak is the tip of a large volcano, most of which can’t be seen because it’s underwater. Niuafo’ou is a classic example of a Pacific volcanic island. It’s shaped like a doughnut, with a crater lake in the centre. The island is quite small, around 50 square kilometres.
Less than a thousand people live on Niuafo’ou. The eldest of them returned here in 1958 after evacuating the island 12 years earlier when Niuafo’ou erupted violently. That eruption is a reminder of how many of the tranquil, exquisitely beautiful islands of the Pacific were shaped – and continue to grow – by turbulent, often frighteningly dramatic geological events. Thankfully, over the last fifty years or so, major eruptions around the Pacific have been rare, but volcanic activity continues, literally, just under the surface of many islands.
Niuafo’ou is one of the most isolated specks in the Pacific and it is the Kingdom of Tonga’s most northerly island, located between Fiji to the east and Samoa to the west and more than 600 kilometres north of the main island of Tonga, Tongatapu. Niuafo’ou’s isolation from the rest of Tonga and, indeed, the world has fostered a proud, friendly, but essentially conservative Polynesian population, self-sufficient in most things.
Because there is no safe anchorage for large vessels at Niuafo’ou, we won’t be landing. Instead we’ll sail past giving you the opportunity to contemplate a slower, more relaxed version of life; the Pacific as it used to be – and still is for a few, some would say privileged people. This is life in the slow lane, far removed from the hustle and bustle of the world you’ve sailed from.