For our Summer 14 shoot, we flew two Summit Club members and two Kathmandu staff members to the tropical islands of Tonga to adventure-test our latest gear.
With ear-to-ear smiles and an 'up-for-anything' attitude, our team – Ruby, Tess, Ari and Andy – hiked, cycled, swam, snorkelled, climbed and caved their way through the Polynesian archipelago that's affectionately known as the 'Friendly Islands'.
From climbing ovava trees and jumping off shipwrecks to helping our German host bake wood-fired pizzas on ‘Eua Island, outdoor rec student Ari was into any and every adventure in Tonga. “I like getting amongst it,' he says. "Just watching is all right, but if you can get in there and do it you learn, and it’s just a better experience.”
Environmental scientist Andy loves being in the outdoors and Tonga didn't disappoint. “My favourite experience was hiking the east coast of ‘Eua," he says. "There are some really impressive 100-metre cliffs and we hiked along the very edge and camped along the very edge. Tonga met and exceeded any expectations I did have. I’ll definitely be back.”
University student and part-time Kathmandu staff member Tessa spends a lot of her time travelling. “Tonga is probably one of the most rural places I’ve been to," she says. "The people are a bit guarded at first, but once you say hi and have a chat to them, this whole other side appears. This is the friendliest place I’ve ever visited.”
“Places have different personalities; it’s built into the culture,” says Ruby, also a Kathmandu staff member. “Tonga’s personality is undisturbed, laid back and very friendly."
"As for Kathmandu, I love the culture behind the team: the ‘live the dream’ culture goes into the everyday working life. I’m surrounded by creative people who love what they do, and every now and again an amazing opportunity comes up, like the opportunity to travel to Tonga.”