17 February 2013

The only beach in town

Among the construction that has been going on around Nuku'alofa for the last few years, the project that I was really, truly glad - even excited - about was the walkway that stretches from the Royal Palace along the water west to the town of Sopu. This last week, we were a bit tired from several very hectic weeks, so we decided to stay closer to home, and visit one of the only beaches here in the capital city.

Throughout the past three years, we've watched more and more people appear every morning and evening to run or walk along the waterfront. One of my favourite places has always been along the road to Sopu; unlike almost anywhere else in the capital city, it is lined with trees and a strip of grass, and looks out to a breathtaking view of the ocean. With the new walkway, it's idyllic.

A group of guys on their evening workout

We headed down past the Royal Palace and along the water and within a few minutes on the scooter, reached long but narrow strip of beach that was slowly being made narrower by the incoming tide. Rocky but pleasant, we watched the waves come in and played cards as the sun set. Swimming isn't great at the beach, as it's shallow for very very far out, as most beaches are in Tonga, but decent -- we waved to other swimmers as we arrived.

The walkway and road takes a "U" inland around the Royal Palace. Although we like the walkway, I imagine some of the homeowners along the water were less pleased!

We always see a lot of people hunting for shellfish out in the water too. The beach is filled with coral chunks and seaweed.

The "entrance" to the beach along the path.
It's been a busy time for Tonga in general. The only domestic airline pulled out of operation in Tonga, related to the government arranging for the gift of two planes from China to start another competing airline. Now two high-ranking police officers are under investigation for allegations they wiped a large number of criminal records. There's a lot of drama that everyone's talking about right now! So what better time for us to take a stroll, play some cards on the beach, and go to Sopu.

A great place to relax
From the Post Office, walk west, past the back side of the Palace. Follow the road as it turns towards and then along the water. Go past the Tonga Cable building until you like the look of the beach!

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