The mostly uninhabited 176 islands of Tonga offer a choice of fascinating sights with several must-see attractions, including the following…
Explore some of Polynesia’s finest archaeological sites on the island of Tongatapu. On the eastern tip of Tongatapu, ponder the massive Ha’amonga’a Maui trilithon, a 12-tonne stone archway made from three single limestone slabs where the sun rises and sets in perfect alignment during the winter solstice.
At Mu’a, stroll between 28 pyramidal stone langi (tombs), which were traditionally used for burying royalty; admire Paepae ‘o Tele’a (Platform of Tele’a), a monumental pyramid-like stone memorial; and ponder the Langi Namoala and ‘Esi’aikona, an elevated platform used as a rest area by the chief and his family.
Come at high tide on a windy day and be treated to geyser-like fountains of seawater that shoot up to 30m-high. These spectacular blowholes stretch for 5km along the southern shore of Tongatapu. The seawater spouts are formed when seawater is forced under pressure through natural vertical vents in the coral limestone.
Get an insight into Tongan culture at this fascinating museum in Nuku’alofa, which features historical artifacts and cultural items that are still used in Tonga today. Join a tour to see demonstrations of tapa making, carving, weaving and basketry and traditional dancing.
Stay for dinner, which starts with a kava ceremony, followed by a feast of delicious traditional dishes cooked in an umu (underground oven). Nearby on the Nuku’alofa waterfront sits the Royal Palace and the Mala’ekula (royal tombs).
This underground cavern features an impressive natural display of stalactites and stalagmites near the beach of the same name, about 24km from Nuku’alofa on Tongatapu.
This rugged and pristine island offers sheer limestone cliffs, caves, sink-holes and a pristine tropical rainforest to explore. Take a guided tour and spot birdlife as well as dolphins and whales from the shore or take to the sea and explore a choice of unspoiled dive sites. 'Eua is just a short boat ride south-east of Tongatapu.
For an insight into the heart of Tongan culture, try to participate in a Tongan feast. Marked with huge quantities of food and traditional dancing, this boisterous occasion is held to celebrate weddings, birthdays and to welcome important people to the village.
As is the custom, fish, root crops and pigs, which are highly prized in Tonga, are cooked together in an underground oven. Often, mats and tapa cloth are presented as gifts to honoured quests.
Latest update: Top attractions in Tonga: 13 January, 2023