Tonga travel is aimed primarily at independant travellers and there are several exceptional regions to explore offering secluded beaches, excellent snorkelling, sailing and whale watching. There are only a coule of resorts, none with more than 30 guests at a time.
Tongatapu is the main island and centre all of things Tongan. The capital, Nuku’alofa sits on a protrusion, looking north over the small motu islands surrounding the fringing reef, and south over a tranquil lagoon. The flat coral island is quite small, running about 30 km east to west and in most places less than 5km wide. The highlights are its impressive archaeological sites in the east, the south coast with its cove sandy beaches and blowholes, the stunning offshore coral atolls, several with small resorts, and the good scuba diving sites around the lagoon.
The Ha’apai Group, about 100km to the north, consists of over 60 low lying coral atolls. Only three have accommodation. The region is very traditional, bans camping and only a few guesthouses and small hotels operate here. The beaches and snorkelling, together with the traditional culture, make this a great place for relaxing on the beach and immersing with the local people.
Tonga’s most popular attraction is the myriad of limestone islands and waterways that make up the Vava’u Group. Neiafu is the administrative and tourist centre of the group, with a few small resorts and guesthouses and lots of lively bars and restaurants overlooking the picturesque harbour (sailing season May-Oct). There are few lovely beaches around the group, notably on Kenutu and Mounu, but this is not the main attraction. The Vava’u group is a fantastic sailing spot and has several yacht charter companies and lots of moorings around the bays. Neiafu has a fully serviced marina. Game fishing and scuba diving are also highly rated, and this is one of the best spots in the South Pacific for snorkelling. If you visit between July and November, there’s a good chance of spotting humpback whales.
In the far north of Tonga is isolated Niuas. Warmer than the southern islands and even more traditional, the Niuas has three islands, but only one with accommodation. If you make it this far, you’ll find a few very warm guesthouses to make your stay an experience.
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Luxury Tonga Accommodation
Fafa Island Resort – Offshore Tongatapu – Tonga
Delightful small resort with gorgeous beach and lots of privacy
Tongan Beach Resort – Vavau – Tonga
Duplex bungalows on the beach facing Port of Refuge Passage – base for water activities
Standard Tonga Accommodation
Royal Sunset Resort – Vavau – Tonga
Small island resort with bungalows, water activities and restaurant, close to Nukualofa
Waterfront Lodge – Offshore Tongatapu – Tonga
Old colonial house with charming rooms close to downtown – ideal base
Budget Tonga Accommodation
Lagoon Lodge – Nukualofa – Tonga
Sopacious apartment style rooms overlooking lagoon close to Nukualofa Town. Great base
- 30-day visas granted on arrival
- Tonga $ – ATM machines, EFTPOS and major Credit Cards accepted
- 12 hours ahead GMT
- Electricity – 24volts AC – 3 pin plug (as Australia)
- Tropical climate year round – Jan 25 ; July 21 – more humid Nov-April
- Light clothing – jumper in evening necessary from May to November
- Tongan and English language
- 24-hour money exchange at airport – no luggage storage
- taxi from airport to Nuku’alofa town = T$25
- No airport bus
- Daily Flights to Ha’apai and Vava’u except Sundays
- Weekly Ferry to Ha’apai and Vava’u
- No services of any kind on Sunday
Scuba Diving in Tonga?
Check out our Tonga dive guide and start planning your next dive trip!