What Wallis lacks in lofty emerald peaks and pearly white beaches it makes up for with its outrageously clear-blue lagoon, weird circular crater lakes and extensive archaeological sites tucked back in the bush. It’s a big, flat jungle of a place where traditional life is played out behind plain, modern concrete walls.
Mata’Utu is the country’s sprawling administrative and business centre. The 35km island-circuit road is unsealed and at times fairly rough: it never actually runs along the coast, although in a few places there are detours that run along the water’s edge. Unmarked side roads lead inland to archaeological sites such as To'oga Toto, and alluring-looking lakes, including the rather amazing circular Lake Lalolalo, with its sheer walls.
The calm, turquoise waters and impressive variety of islets of Wallis’ lagoon are as much a reason to visit this island as the sights of the interior. Look forward to diving trips and watery explorations to islets such as Île Fenua Fo’ou.
In addition to a few restaurants, simple snack bars dot the island. There’s a supermarket in the Fenuarama shopping centre.