The island of Ta'u is believed by many to be the birthplace of Polynesia and is rich in legend and oral history. The Manuâ€™a Islands were considered the spiritual center of Polynesia and Taâ€™u was the â€˜capitalâ€™ of Manuâ€™a. Some believe that this island is the ancient Hawaiki, or place of origin of the second great migration to the Hawaiian Islands.
It is also here that the last of the great chiefs, or Tuâ€™i Manuâ€™a, was buried. It is also the place where Margaret Mead wrote her tantalizing (and controversial) novel Coming of Age in Samoa in 1925. Located near the center of the island is Mt. Lata. At 966 meters (3,170 ft.), it is the highest peak in American Samoa.
The National Park in Ta'u includes the beaches and forests in the south-eastern half of the island. When given advance notice, Park Service staff can arrange guided hikes, including a six hour hike from Taâ€™u Village to Judds Crater, a large volcanic crater that includes the beaches and forests in the south-eastern half of the island.
Other places of interest to visit while on Taâ€™u include:
The Tomb of the Tui Manu'a on the island of Ta'u. This is the tomb of the last reigning great chief of Samoa.
Laufuti Falls This 450-meter high waterfall is located a few kilometers southwest of Saua, which is the legendary birthplace of Polynesia. Depending on terrain conditions, the waterfalls may be difficult to access.