Tonga, is a miniature kingdom in the heart of Polynesia, is one of the world’s few remaining constitutional monarchies. Ruled by His Majesty King Taufa’ahau IV Tonga, Tonga preserves ancient traditions alongside policies designed to stimulate economic development and improve the well-being of the 96,000 Tongans. Tonga is famous for the humpback whale migrations through its waters.
Every year humpback whales undertake one of the longest migrations known to man, which takes one population from their feeding grounds in Antarctic waters to their Tongan breeding grounds. These whales form part of an Antarctic feeding population south of New Zealand and Australia but little is known about the migration path of this small population and their movements between the Southwestern Pacific Islands. A chance to see these majestic animals is an experience of a lifetime. You also cannot beat the diving in Tonga. The waters are crystal clear with the visibility averaging 100 ft plus. A big plus for the diving is the incredible variety found all in one group of magnificent islands. Tonga diving offers hard corals that truly are untouched, and soft coral gardens with rainbows of colors. One of the best life size Gorgonia fan dives in the South Pacific is located in Vava’u, a small island group in the north of the Kingdom of Tonga. Unique caves and caverns, spectacular underwater archways, large black coral trees, and wall dives that vanish into the inky blue. Also the wreck of the Clan McWilliam which sank over 65 years ago sitting upright and is still intact. There are over 50 islands in the Tonga group so one can only imagine all the wonderful dive sites that are still being discovered and explored.
Best Diving Destinations in Tonga
When you are not whale watching here are some dive sites all located in Vava’u.
King Neptune’s Sea Fan Grotto
The size of the sea fans on this dive are beyond belief. Flute fish and butterfly fish swim gracefully through the fans as the Clown Fish triggers dart back and forth. After passing the fans you enter “Clown Fish Heaven” home for hundreds of anemones and every size of clown fish possible. This dive is a photographer’s dream.
This cave can not be seen above water, it can only be found underwater. There are two entrances to the cave, the diver’s entrance at 50 ft and the snorkeler’s entrance at 12 ft. Once inside that cave you slowly surface into the most magnificent 40 ft high chamber with beautiful rock formations and stalactites. Inside the chamber it will turn into a blue-green fog then clear as the swell goes in and out making you think your mask has fogged up. Only seconds later the air is crystal clear again. The adventure repeats itself with each swell. Magic! Truly Magic!
This is the dive site for the soft coral lover. Deep magenta, pastel pink and sunny yellow soft corals abound throughout this dive.
The Clan McWilliam
The beautiful old copra steamer sank in the 1920’s with brass portholes, mast and crows nest still in place. The wreck is teaming with bat angelfish, and snappers galore. Legend has it that the Captain and Chief engineer went down with her. Some say as they descend onto the upper deck they can feel the presence of the Captain watching over his mighty ship.
This dive is appropriately named. This 40 x 40 ft rock looks as if God took an ax and split the rock in half. Divers can swim through the middle of the split. The hard coral reef is adorned with Christmas tree worms of every color. A couple of friendly white tip reef sharks bid you farewell from their cave near the end of the dive. sharks bid you farewell from their cave near the end of the dive.
When to Visit Tonga
The Season for Humpback whale trips is from July – November. The scuba diving season is best from March – May.
Feeling inspired to visit Tonga? Check out our Tonga travel guide and start planning your next diving trip!