There aren’t a lot of must- do activities on Tonga’s main island, Tongatapu. Regardless, we had a really fun time, renting a car and driving all over the island to various sites.
We love animal- related experiences, so when we read about Tonga’s “famed fishing pigs” in Lonely Planet, we wanted to see these porkers in action.
The main area to get a glimpse of the fishing pigs is around a 45 minute drive from where we were staying.
There didn’t seem to be much information about the pigs so we stopped by the tourism office. We were told to go early, at low tide to get a chance to see the pigs.
We made our way towards the area, even seeing a brown (tourist site) road sign for the fishing pigs. Once we turned towards the coastal road, there were no more signs! We had no clue where to stop, so we drove towards the area pointed out to us.
After driving for a while, we decided to ask some locals. We were told that it was not the right time of day to see the fishing pigs and to come back later in the day. However, we weren’t given an exact idea of where to go!
We still came back and again saw nothing besides some pigs along the side of the road. I then stopped at a roadside shop and asked about the pigs. This time, a local woman told me the tide was too high so there wouldn’t be any pigs fishing!
The following day we were flying to Fiji in late afternoon. This gave us some time in the morning to wander around in town and grab lunch.
Kim was over these fishing pigs, but I wasn’t about to give up!
Lonely Planet mentioned that the fishing pigs could also be seen along Vuna Rd. We had been on this road many times and it was a short ride from our guest house so I had to make one last attempt.
A few days back, we saw a pig wandering close to the coast when we stopped by a restaurant (Little Italy) during lunch time. The restaurant was only open for dinner but at least I knew there was a chance of seeing pigs in the area. But would they go fishing???
I parked across from Little Italy on the ocean side of the road. Kim waited in the car with Theo, while Lucas and I went to explore. I stepped onto a rocky, area a couple of feet high and was happy to see…. Two Fishing Pigs!
I went back to the car to get Kim and then slowly and quietly got close to the pigs.As we got closer, the two pigs separated but went about their business.
Based on the crunching sounds, my guess is that they find various shellfish in the low coastal water. Seeing fishing pigs isn’t an everyday occurence so it was definitely an awesome experience, if only for about 10-12 minutes.
As we walked around, the pigs got nervous and eventually ran off. I guess they don’t love visitors while they fish.
Check out a short video I took of the fishing pigs:
In the end, this was a fun, free experience (great for families!) which we all enjoyed. How many other people can say that they’ve seen fishing pigs!