Whales, worship and weird cabaret: the Tongan triumvirate
Humpback whales bring their (very big) babies into the safe waters of Tonga each year, from July to October. Photo: Belle Jackson
We've all been lamenting the devastation in Fiji from the recent Cyclone Winston, but spare a thought for Tonga, which was in the cyclone's frontline, and is still picking up the pieces.
The Vava'u archipelago, where I spent most of my time on my recent Tongan visit, was hardest hit.
So if you're not a Fiji aficionado, preferring something a little more laid back and - to use the word of the decade- 'authentic', why not skip one country further east from Australia for whale swimming, a spot of choral singing and the funniest drag shows I've seen for many a year.
And if you are a Fiji fan, from this month (April 2016) you can now fly from Australia to Nadi (Fiji) for a little five-star R&R, then fly Nadi direct to Vava'u (Tonga) for said pleasures, with Fiji Airways.
You can read my story about whales, worship and weird cabaret in Sydney's Sun-Herald newspaper's Traveller section by clicking here.