Vavau is the island group of one large island and 40 smaller ones in Tonga. It is part of Vavaʻu District which includes several other individual islands.
They are either raised coral limestone or coral atolls. The beautiful harbor opposite the main town of Neiafu (known as the Port of Refuge Harbour) is a common destination for yachties sailing the South Pacific. The waters of the islands are known for their clarity, it is said that you can see the bottom at 40 meters.
The area attracts many humpback whales between June and November and there are lots of companies organizing tours to see them. There are numerous places to stay, to suit most budgets.
Vava’u has a tropical climate with average temperatures up to 29ºC in January and down to 24ºC in June. It is sunny throughout the year. Between November and April, it is more humid and thunderstorms and cyclones do occur. From May to September there are southeast trade winds but during the summer months, the winds are from the northeast.
History of Vavau
In Polynesia, it is explained that the islands were created by the god Maui, who caught the bottom of the sea with his magic hook, fished up and left on the sea surface what became the islands of Vavaʻu. In total there are 70 islands, of which 17 are inhabited, spread over six districts.
Don Francisco Mourelle de la Rúa, commanding Spanish frigate Princesa was the first European to come to Vavaʻu, on 4 March 1781. He charted Vava’u as Martín de Mayorga who was the Viceroy of New Spain at the time. Captain James Cook knew about the islands a decade before, but the people in Haʻapai told him it would be no good for him to go there as there was no harbor. Apparently, they did not want him to go there, and Cook heeded their advice anyway.
But Mourelle found excellent anchoring, of which he was in desperate need after having failed on Fonualei and Late, and he gave the spot the name Port of Refuge.