BEST FOR… Polynesian culture, snorkelling, wow-factor
WHY GO? Most of Ha’apai’s scattering of 62 islands are tiny, low-lying coral atolls. Add in the lack of infrastructure (don’t expect telly) and perhaps the most traditional Polynesian culture in the region, and you have an old-school Pacific paradise.
WHAT TO DO: The diving and snorkelling is sublime; try the sea-cave sites around Ofolanga. Sleep in a fate (open-sided thatch hut).
WHILE YOU’RE THERE: Absorb local culture (including a hula hula dance) on one of Ha’apai’s 17 inhabited islands; Pangai, on Lifuka, is the main hub (population circa 3,000). Learn about maritime history-the Mutiny on the Bounty happened here.
GET THERE: Lifuka has an airport, with connections to the Tongan capital, on Tongatapu.