Best Book Publishers UK | Austin Macauley Publishers
Volcanic Adventures in Tonga - Species Conservation on Tin Can Island-bookcover

By: Ann Göth

Volcanic Adventures in Tonga - Species Conservation on Tin Can Island

Pages: 204 Ratings: 5.0
Book Format: Choose an option

*Available directly from our distributors, click the Available On tab below

The wonder of the South Pacific comes alive in this real-life adventure story. A travel memoir based on the experiences of a young conservation scientist in Tonga. The delights and harsh realities of life on tropical islands are revealed in detail.

Are you a traveller with a wanderlust for faraway islands, an enthusiast for Tongan culture, an explorer wanting to learn about a mysterious part of the world, or a lover of exotic birds? This thrilling adventure takes you to far-away places – volcanoes overdue to erupt and coral cays rarely visited by most people.


Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live a simple existence on a remote Pacific Island? To leave the world behind and live in ‘Tongan Time’? Are you intrigued to learn about the mysterious ‘volcano bird’ that buries its eggs and abandons its chicks completely?


Join Ann and her boyfriend on a 17-month escapade on the isolated Tongan islands, where they try to save an endangered bird from extinction while living in a very different culture to their own. Guided by a youthful passion for conservation and authentic cultures, Ann tests her physical and mental stamina when confronted with cyclones, stifling humidity, stinging bugs, little fresh food, illness, and the imminent danger of volcanic eruptions.


This book is likely to leave you grateful for home comforts of electricity, showers, the internet and books to read, or perhaps it will entice you to consider a life changing adventure of your own. You can achieve far more than you ever imagine! 

Dr Ann Göth is an ecologist, high school teacher, public speaker and passionate writer. She is co-author of Moundbuilders, a book about megapode birds in Australia. Her career has taken her from Austria to islands in Tonga, the UN in Geneva and to universities, government agencies and schools in Australia. She now lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband and son. Ann’s writing reflects a strong passion to bring natural history and conservation issues closer to non-scientists and scientists alike. This book is a vivid account of her very first adventure as a conservation ecologist.

Customer Reviews
10 reviews
10 reviews
  • Wayne Taylor

    This is a great story - impassioned young scientists studying a unique and elusive bird species on a remote tropical island. There are sharp insights into the life of islanders, and underlying larger themes, all related in a clear and direct style. The coloured photos remind one that it is a true story, and bring the place, characters, and of course those birds, to life. As I read I felt very attached to young Ann and the people around her.

  • Leo Hitchcock

    Conservation biologist Dr Ann Göth’s vivid description of her time with her boyfriend on the remote volcanic island of Niuafo’ou and other remote locations in the islands of the Kingdom of Tonga is a compelling read. The author’s informative, easy writing style draws the reader in to share their adventures and their 17-months research, bringing their experiences with the Tongan lifestyle, and the unique bird known locally as Malau to life. One learns a lot from this book, not only the geography and biological landscapes of the Tongan islands, but also how to live ‘comfortably’ in such remote places far from Western luxuries. I defy you to put this book down!

  • Fil Bufalo

    This fascinating travel and research narrative is based on a 17-month expedition to Tonga, 30 years ago. It is not just a travelogue, but a deeper exploration of how to conduct species conservation in remote and often difficult situations and how ‘to be’ in the absence of most Western comforts. The narrative describes a culture with a deep connection to the past, and a focus on the now, rather than the future. The text is easy to read and I especially enjoyed the humourous descriptions of local cuisine, some of which are quite alien to us Westerners. I don’t usually read many non-fiction books, but this one is so easy to read and attracted me because the narrative has such an adventurous spirit to it. You don’t have to be a scientist to enjoy this book, for sure.
    Come on. Give it a go ! I did, and I loved it!

  • Sassy Reviews

    "Volcanic Adventures in Tonga - Species Conservation on Tin Can Island" written by the author Ann Göth is an intriguing read. As an undergraduate student of Biology, Ann always wanted to contribute to the conservation of endangered animals. When her boyfriend Ivo from Germany called to ask whether she wanted to join him on a two-year conservation mission to help save an endangered bird, Ann jumped at the opportunity.

    Ivo and Ann have been in a relationship for only seven months but they get along well. Ann knew that she can extend into a two-year expedition with Ivo easily. Having a one-way ticket to Tonga, the danger of volcanic eruption, lack of proper medical service, and many other challenges are involved in this expedition.

    Read this story to get to know more about Tonga culture and the adventure Ann, Ivo had on their expedition. I enjoy reading travel memoirs and this book fits perfectly according to my reading taste. Being a traveler, I am highly inspired by this book to have some new adventures in my life. However, I also appreciate the comfort and safety that our home offers us.

    Those who love reading stories involving adventure, romance, challenges, danger, discovery, etc should get their hands on this one. The writing style of the author is amazing and the cover photo is nice. Ann has shared about her journey in a detailed manner. Go ahead with this book.

  • Peter trommsdorff

    This is a book worthwhile to read: not only a fascinating story, but also you learn about the life on a remote Pacific island with a very small population. Money is basically not in use, exchange is the way economy works and traditions strongly dominate the social life.
    The book is well written and pleasant to read - I can only recommend!

  • Otto Stricker

    What a good flow: A journey through the Tongan culture, food, nature, habits and a great adventure on top! Could not stop reading till the end. Thank you for sharing your great adventure and your wonderful mission with us!

  • Tyrel

    Volcanic Adventures in Tonga: Species Conservation on Tin Can Island is a memoir of a fledgling Austrian scientist’s first significant journey to do fieldwork in the South Pacific in 1991. This funny and evocative story details the 17 months Ann Göth spent with her partner on a remote Pacific Island, where they documented the life of unique megapode birds. These fascinating birds dig pits in volcanic sand, lay their eggs, then conceal the hole and leave the eggs to incubate in the warm subterranean nest. chicks hatch, feet first, dig themselves out, and from the first day fend for themselves. A couple of young scientists hope they can transplant several eggs to a neighboring island, which, if successful, will increase the species’ chance for survival. But this book is not just about an interesting bird species’ move to a new island. It is also about how our young scientists navigate the customs of the local people, the bureaucracy of the government on the islands, and the mental challenges of being stuck on an island for long periods of time. It felt exciting to read this story and imagine the young Dr. Ann Göth crossing paths with a bespectacled paddler in the region simultaneously: Paul Theroux. This story is full of perseverance, curiosity, humanity, and love for the natural world. It is a book that belongs with other great travel adventures of young scientists such as Jane Goodall or Alfred Russell Wallace, who journeyed to the farthest reaches of the planet, in order to better know themselves.

  • Paul Taylor

    I am someone who knows what Niuafo'ou is firsthand. I am a geologist who completed my MSc in Niuafo'ou during the early to mid-1980s. Niuafo'ou is a volcano that last erupted in 1946 causing considerable stressful times for Niuafo'ouans for 15 years. They were evacuated and had to live in other parts of Tonga until they were allowed to return in 1959. Ann has really struck a chord with me bringing back many memories of my time on Niuafo'ou living with my Niuafo'ou family in Alele"uta village. During the time since I first went to Niuafo'ou in 1982, I have visited my second home many times, the last being in 2000. Ann has described how the wonderful Niuafo'ouans live on their beautiful island. However, during all my visits to Niuafo'ou, I did not see a Malau, but I was told many stories of them. Niuafo'ou thus provides an ideal environment for the Malau, however, they are a prized delicacy for the Niuafo'ou, which lead to Ann's study, and the follow-on to find a suitable environment for future survival.

    Congratulations to Ann for writing a wonderful personal experience on a beautiful tropical island in the Pacific and a unique species of megapode.

Write a Review
Your post will be reviewed and published soon. Multiple reviews on one book from the same IP address will be deleted.

We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience and for marketing purposes.
By clicking any link on this page you are giving your consent for us to set cookies