There were two terrible and devastating fires at Vava’u this past year. The Paradise Hotel’s restaurant and office were consumed by flames on December 17, 2008, and then the downtown burnt down and five businesses were gutted and torn down. They were from left to right: Kelly’s, Vaiokolele (the Tongan bar), Arnott Enterprises, Bounty Bar, Teta Tours, and the accommodations underneath. All of the businesses have relocated and are up and running again, all except for one, the Bounty Bar, which is no more.
The Compass Rose Restaurant is no longer in business. Sandy and I now have that property (above The Moorings) and it is going to be called the Giggling Whale Bar and Grille.
Another new project, the Guttenbeil Building, was completed in March, 2009. It’s a small shopping centre beside the Business Development Bank and now contains the Chathams Pacific office, the new Blue Lagoon Restaurant, Dolphin Diving, an Apple computer store and internet shop, and the Hakula Lodge booking office. Other new restaurants around Neiafu include Il Gambero Rosso, an Italian restaurant across from Tonga Visitors Bureau, The Balcony, opposite the Giggling Whale, and Mahi Mahi Curry, a take out across from the Paradise Hotel.
Real Tonga is providing the air service between Nuku’alofa and Vava’u and they’re doing a great job. No problems with the flights anymore! There are two flights a day, one in the morning and another in the evening, both originating in Nuku’alofa.
My travel guidebooks have been serving island travelers since 1979. Moon Handbooks South Pacific is now in its 8th edition, and Tahiti and Fiji each have guides of their own. This blog site is intended to share new facts as they cross my desk, and to discuss issues of interest to visitors. So grab a seat: We're off on a virtual island tour.