Fafa Island – Image courtesy of Fafa Island Resort
Honeymoon guide to Tonga
The ‘Friendly Islands’ of Tonga offer an idyllic honeymoon destination for that special holiday.
Sunbathe on a choice of soft, sugar-white beaches, swim and snorkel above pristine coral gardens teeming with tropical fish and be spoilt with creature comforts at a choice of fabulous honeymoon resorts.
The three main island groups of Tonga – Tongatapu, Ha’apai and Vava’u – offer some of the best white-sand beaches in the South Pacific where you can choose to do nothing at all or be as active as you like on your honeymoon.
Dubbed the ‘Friendly Islands’ by Captain Cook in 1773 and renowned for its friendliness and gentle pace of life, Tonga is the Pacific's last monarchy and the only Pacific nation never to be formally colonised.
Best beaches in Tonga
The ‘Friendly Islands’ of Tonga are home to some of the most beautiful, unspoiled and secluded beaches in the South Pacific – just perfect for couples celebrating a honeymoon holiday or romantic getaway.
Create your own footsteps in the gorgeous white sands of Vava'u, where hilly islands lie amid fjord-like channels.
Play ‘Robinson Crusoe’ on the tiny sugar-white coral atolls of Ha'apai and Vava'u or sunbathe and beach comb the long, surf-pounded white-sand beaches that fringe the pristine coastline of Tongatapu.
The best beaches in Tonga, include…
(Tongatapu) – Choose your own spot to sunbathe on the gorgeous white-sand beach that surrounds this picturesque palm-fringed atoll.
Enjoy safe swimming and perfect snorkelling in the crystalline water of Tongatapu lagoon.
Come for the day with a picnic or stay longer at the 4-star Fafa Island Resort. Fafa Island is located just 30 minutes by boat from the capital of Nuku'alofa.
(Tongatapu) – Dig your toes into the powder-white sand of this gorgeous beach that fringes a long peninsula on Atata Island.
Sunbathe on the soft sand and swim, snorkel or dive in the sheltered waters of Tongatapu Lagoon.
Atata Beach is located just minutes by boat from Nuku'alofa. Come for the day or stay longer at the beachfront 2-star Royal Sunset Resort.
(Tongatapu) – Make your own footprints in the pristine sugar-white sand of this marvellous beach that encircles the tiny, palm-fringed atoll of Pangaimotu.
This picture-perfect atoll is just a short ferry ride from Nuku'alofa and is simply perfect for swimming, snorkelling and sunbathing.
(Tongatapu) – Sink your toes into the fine white sand of this 1.5km-long beach that fringes the western tip of Tongatapu Island.
Here, in this protected marine reserve, you can swim and snorkel among more than 130 different species of tropical fish and coral.
Further south, discover world-class surfing conditions from April to October and offshore breaks between November and March.
Located just 21km from the capital Nuku'alofa, Ha'atafu Beach is perfect for a day trip.
Or stay longer at one of the charming budget-style resorts, which offer traditional thatched-roof fales (bungalows). Try the charming Ha'atafu Beach Resort.
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(Tongatapu) – Unwind on this gorgeous pocket of white sand, which stretches between large coral rocks, palm groves, steep cliffs and the crystalline waters of a stunning turquoise lagoon, in one of Tongatapu Island’s most scenic areas.
The beach is also known as ‘pigeon’s gate’, named after the natural coral land-bridge that hangs above the crashing surf.
Hufangalupe Beach is located near a village of the same name on the south coast of Tongatapu.
(Vava'u) – Enjoy the natural solitude of this perfect crescent of white sand that shelves gently into the clear waters of the lagoon. Do nothing at all or enjoy swimming, snorkelling, diving, sailing or fishing.
Savour a cocktail from the beachside bar of the Blue Lagoon Resort, which sits beneath palm trees overlooking the beach. Foe’ata Island is located in the Vava'u group, around 45 minutes by boat from Neiafu.
Port Maurelle Beach
(Vava'u) – Play 'Robinson Crusoe’ on this perfect crescent of white sand that nestles between the palm-fringed beach and the clear waters of the sheltered lagoon, which offers perfect conditions for swimming and snorkelling.
Come for a day’s excursion or stay longer on a chartered yacht anchored in Port Maurelle Bay. Port Maurelle Beach is located in the Vava'u group.
(Vava'u) – Dig your toes into the velvety sugar-white sand of this gorgeous beach and cool off with a dip in the crystal-clear waters of the aquamarine lagoon that is perfect for snorkelling and kayaking.
Come for the day or stay longer at the beachside 3-star Tongan Beach Resort. Utungake Island is accessible on a causeway from mainland Vava'u, just a 10-minute drive from Neiafu.
(Vava'u) – Pick your own spot to sunbathe on this gorgeous palm-fringed white-sand beach that edges the northern tip of tiny Eueiki Island in the Vava'u group.
Go swimming in the calm crystalline waters of the turquoise lagoon, snorkel amid colourful reef fish above pristine coral gardens and savour a range of creature comforts at the beachside Eueiki Island Eco-Resort.
(Vava'u) – Play 'Robinson Crusoe’ during the day on this gorgeous and secluded white-sand beach that surrounds a tiny coral atoll.
Go swimming in the clear waters, snorkel or kayak above a pristine coral garden in the shallow lagoon, then savour a range of creature comforts at the award-winning 4-star Mounu Island Resort, a luxury eco-resort that nestles hidden beneath palm trees just meters from the beach.
Mounu Island is located in the southern waters of the Vava’u archipelago.
(Ha'apai) – Make your own footprints on the pristine soft white sand of this gorgeous palm-fringed beach that fringes the northern tip of Foa Island in the Ha'apai group.
Go swimming and snorkelling in the turquoise waters of the sheltered lagoon. Admire views across the lagoon to Nukunamo Island.
Go horseback riding along the beach, ponder the ancient burial mound at the southern end of the beach and look out for dolphins at any time of year and whales from August to November.
Come on a day trip with a picnic or stay longer at the beachfront 3-star Sandy Beach Resort.
(Ha'apai) – This idyllic island offers a string of beautiful white-sand beaches that are accessed on foot or by bike across a causeway from neighbouring Foa Island.
Start by discovering the gorgeous white-sand beach on tiny Uoleva Island, easily reached by wading across the reef from the southern point of Lifuka.
The west coast of Lifuka offers an uninterrupted stretch of unnamed white-sand beaches that offer excellent swimming and snorkelling in the lagoon.
While currents along the east coast do make swimming dangerous, the 3km-long beach offers great beachcombing. A series of 16th century burial mounds can be found in the middle of the island.
Historical note: It was on Lifuka Island that Captain James Cook dubbed Tonga ‘The Friendly Islands’; and it was in the waters off nearby Tofua Island that the mutiny on the Bounty occurred in 1789.
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What to do and see
Sunbathe on the gorgeous palm-fringed white-sand atolls of the Ha’apai group or scramble over ancient archaeological sites on Tongatapu.
Scuba dive the outer reef and surf offshore waves from May to October. Hike paths through tropical rainforest on pristine ‘Eua Island and meet friendly locals in traditional fishing villages.
Or hire a yacht for a cruising honeymoon along the maze of narrow channels that snake through Vava’u islands – also the perfect spot for snorkelling, kayaking and watching humpback whales from June to November.
Wherever you decide to honeymoon, Tonga is the perfect choice for the active honeymoon couple.
Sunbathe on a choice of soft, sugar-white beaches, swim and snorkel above pristine coral gardens teeming with tropical fish or hike forest and cliff top trails.
Things to do in Tonga, include…
The Tongan archipelago is renowned for its excellent scuba diving. Around Tongatapu, discover drop-offs, walls and pinnacles inhabited by shark, grouper and school fish.
Within the Vava’u Group there are around 30 different dive sites to explore with visibility often exceeding 40m. Drift dive along walls, caves and drop-offs to see soft and hard coral reefs, fan grottos and wrecks.
Around Ha’apai, explore an underwater wonder-world of coral gardens, walls, canyons, caves and tunnels that are home to variety of marine species including turtles, eagle rays, sea snakes and tropical reef fish.
Choose from dive sites located within the reef as well as those in open water to see barracuda, tuna, trevally and sharks.
Don’t miss ‘the cathedral’ dive on ‘Eua Island, where visibility is up to 80m year round. Here, natural light pours into a gigantic cavern from three holes in the roof creating a searchlight effect.
The cavern is around 100m-long, 50m-wide and 30m-deep. A 20m-long tunnel gives access into the large cave that stretches almost to the surface.
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The coral gardens off Nuapapu Island and the reef off Mala Island offer exceptional snorkeling with the chance to see clams and a variety of colourful marine life.
Try Swallows Cave, Coral Gardens and Mariner’s Cave for the best snorkeling sites. Other good sites include tiny Nuku Island, Port Mourelle Beach and off Ha’atafu Beach on Tongatapu.
Catch a wave at the southern end of Ha’atafu Beach on western Tongatapu. Here waves break over a shallow coral reef around 100m from the shore.
In Tonga, here are no beach breaks – surf typically breaks over coral reefs – and is not for beginners. The best surf lasts from May to October, and in religiously sensitive Tonga, surfing is not allowed on Sunday.
Charter a barefoot (or skippered) yacht for a day or longer and cruise the deep-water channels and protected bays of the northern Vava’u group, which are perfect for sailing between May and October.
With so many gorgeous palm-fringed white sand atolls in the Vava’u group, this might be one way of spending an idyllic honeymoon in Tonga.
With its protected inlets, channels and limestone islands, the Vava’u group offers ideal calm conditions for sea kayaking.
Hire a kayak for a day of exploring neighbouring islands then relax with a picnic on a secluded sugar-white beach where the only footprints are yours.
Or join a 10-day adventure tour with a professional guide. The best time for sea kayaking is between May and December.
The deep channels and currents of Vava’u attract a variety of big game fish.
Hook up a fishing charter for yellow fin tuna (available year round but best from May to September), walu (available all year), wahoo (best from May to September), mahi mahi (best between December and January then June through August) and marlin (best from November to February).
Arrive in September and join Tonga’s International Billfish Tournament, held annually in Vava’u.
Stroll the trails and caves of ‘Eua National Park, a 450ha reserve of unspoiled tropical rainforest to see exotic bird life, including lorikeets, musk parrots, pacific pigeons, kingfishers and tropical sea birds.
‘Eua Island is just a 10-minute flight from Tongatapu. The volcanic island of Tofua in the Ha’apai group offers scenic walks through unspoiled rainforest rich in bird life.
Between June and October each year humpback whales migrate to the protected waters of the Vava’u group to mate and give birth to calves. This is probably the best place in the South Pacific to see humpback whales.
Join a registered whale watching operator – such as WhaleSwim Adventures – to spot whales and even snorkel close to these amazing creatures and listen to their singing, which can reverberate through the water for kilometres.
Or spot whales from the raised limestone cliffs at Toafa Lookout on west Vava’u. Other species of whales and spinner dolphins can be seen around the protected Vava’u waters year round. Note: scuba diving with whales is not permitted under the law in Tonga
For the best forest trails and hilltop lookouts head to the northern Vava’u and southern ‘Eua Island. For coastal cliff top trails try Tongatapu Island’s south coast and on Lifuka Island, head to the south-east coast for good beach walks.
In the Ha’apai group, hike to the summit of Mt Talau (131m) for panoramic views overlooking Neiafu, Port of Refuge, the Vaipua causeway and the 128m-high Sia Ko Kafoa on the other side of Vaipua Inlet.
Along the way, spot rare fokai (banded lizard), the distinctive bright yellow chested male hengehenga (Tongan whistler bird) and peka (flying fox), which are best seen at dusk.
Colourful Tongan shirts and handicrafts including tapa, mats and baskets are all good buys. It’s probably best to buy handicraft direct from village artisans if possible, rather than in the shops of Nuku’alofa where prices can be high.
The mostly uninhabited 176 islands of Tonga offer a choice of fascinating sights with several must-see attractions, including the following…
Ha’amonga’a Maui Trilithon & Mu’a tombs
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.
Mapu’a ‘a Vaca blowholes
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.
Tongan National Centre Museum
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.
Tongatapu Islands, Tonga
Mainly flat and covered in agricultural plantations, sleepy villages and numerous churches, Tonga's main island of Tongatapu boasts a stunning lagoon that is sprinkled with tiny coral atolls fringed with sugar-white beaches – the perfect honeymoon spot for sunbathing, snorkelling, kayaking and swimming. (Photo: Royal Sunset Resort, Atata Island, Tongatapu)
Tongatapu also hosts one of densest concentrations of ancient Polynesian structures in the South Pacific.
Read more about Tongatapu…
Ha’apai Islands, Tonga
Discover a slice of honeymoon paradise in the low-lying coral islands of Ha’apai, with a choice of secluded white-sand beaches fringed by swaying palm trees and lapped by crystal clear turquoise water.
Sunbathe on soft, powder-white beaches and snorkel or dive above coral gardens teeming with tropical rainbow-hued fish for an idyllic beach honeymoon. (Photo: Foa Island, Ha'apai – Photo courtesy of Sandy Beach Resort)
Read more about Ha’apai…
Vava’u Islands, Tonga
Considered one of the world’s great sailing destinations, the 50 or more thickly wooded islands of Vava’u (pronounced Va-va-oo) offer a maze of deepwater channels, protected anchorages and tiny coral islands fringed with white-sand beaches and surrounded by reefs teeming with tropical fish – the perfect honeymoon destination for the seafaring couple.
While there are literally hundreds of secluded beaches among the island group, check out at least one of these unforgettable beaches: the powder-white sands of Port Maurelle Bay on Euakafa Island, tiny uninhabited Nuku Island and the picture-perfect Foe’ata Island are all ideal for a honeymoon picnic at any time.
(Photo: Mounu Island, Vava'u Islands – Photo courtesy of Mounu Island Resort)
Read more about Vava’u…
Where to stay in Tonga
Within Tonga's collection of 48 inhabited islands it’s easy to find honeymoon accommodation to suit every budget, from charming and less-expensive traditional beachfront fales to secluded island retreats, including the following resorts…
Reef Resort Vava’u
Location: Kapa Island, Vava’u
Prices: from AUD328 per room
Description: Located on the remote Kapa Island, Reef Resort Vava'u offers bungalow-style accommodation directly opposite the Japanese Coral Garden, a popular snorkelling spot. This secluded property provides complimentary wetsuits and whales may also be seen from the resort during the annual breeding season from July to October. All rooms at the Reef Resort offer sea views and an outdoor terrace with a seating area. The private bathrooms feature a double vanity and free toiletries. The on-site gourmet restaurant boasts panoramic lagoon views and serves contemporary Polynesian European food served by the European chef. Changing daily, the menu features fresh produce from the local market, with a focus on seafood. The property can organise complimentary catamaran or boat trips to the beach and Japanese Coral Garden.
Sandy Beach Resort
Location: Foa island, Lotofoa, Ha’apai
Prices: from AUD291 per person
Description: This tropical resort is set alongside a long, private white sand beach and is surrounded by palm trees. Each of the 12 bungalows are just steps from the beach and offer a private terrace facing the ocean. Guests enjoy an on-site restaurant and free WiFi. Each bungalow has a tiled floor, ceiling fans, refrigerator and clock radio. The spacious bathrooms offer a high-pressure, solar-heated shower. Beach towels, deck chairs and free drinking water are provided. The restaurant is open to the hotel's guests only and serves fresh fish and lobsters, delivered to the beach every day by the local fishermen. You can dine on the terrace, which features a bar overlooking the ocean. Facilities include 24-hour room service, free luggage storage and a fitness room. Guests have free access to all non-motorised water sports including snorkelling, kayaking and canoeing. Sandy Beach Resort Tonga is located on the island of Foa in the Ha’apai Island group. It is a 30-minute scenic flight to Ha’apai from Tongatapu. The town of Pangai is 15 km away.
Fafa Island Resort
Location: Fafa Island, Nuku'alofa
Prices: from AUD280 per room
Description: Surrounded by private beaches and tropical gardens, Fafá Island Resort offers traditional beachfront bungalows, a restaurant and a bar. Guests enjoy free use of kayaks and snorkelling equipment. Each of the bungalows is set just metres from the sand and features a patio with sun loungers. All offer high ceilings built from coconut palms, a refrigerator and a ceiling fan. Each has a bathroom with hot water and an outdoor shower. The restaurant serves a varied menu offering both Polynesian and European cuisine. The open-air bar offers a wide range of beer, wine and cocktails. The tour desk books rental cars, bicycle rental, scuba diving, game fishing and island tours. There is a BBQ held once a week, followed by a cultural show featuring Tongan and Polynesian dances. Fafa Island Resort is located on a small island 7 km north of Nuku‘alofa. It is reached via a 30-minute private boat from Faua Wharf.
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Tongan Beach Resort
Location: 'Utungake Island, Vava’u
Prices: from AUD263 per room
Description: At Tongan Beach Resort, guests have access to a safe, private beach area, a restaurant, which is open for all meals, a library with over 500 books and an outdoor pool. Free bicycle hire is available. All rooms and apartments have a refrigerator and a terrace with both beach views and outdoor furniture. Some have a fully equipped kitchen. After a day of enjoying an array of activities on site or in the surrounding areas, including snorkeling, diving and canoeing, guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant, serving international and local cuisine. The complimentary continental breakfast includes toast, cereals, fruit, juices and tea/coffee. The resort is 20 m from the beach, a 14-minute drive from a variety of shops and restaurants in Neiafu Town Centre. It is a 26-minute drive from Lupepau'u International Airport.
Royal Sunset Island Resort
Location: Atata Island, Nuku'alofa
Prices: from AUD157 per room
Description:Set on Atata Island, Royal Sunset Island Resort offers bungalows with free Wi-Fi and a patio. Surrounded by 8 acres of tropical gardens, this beachfront resort boasts 24/7 reception, a swimming pool and a restaurant. Guests enjoy free breakfast, free kayaking and free windsurfing. Located alongside the beach, each bungalow offers lagoon, garden or ocean views. All include a bathroom with hot water, a refrigerator and tea/coffee making facilities. Polynesian Restaurant boasts water views and is open each night offering international and Polynesian cuisine. Ata Bar serves cocktails and a range of wine and beer. Full board and half board packages are available. Your breakfast includes cereals, fresh fruit, bread and tea, coffee and juice. The tour desk books scuba diving, kneeboarding, game fishing and free daily village trips. Live entertainment and kava parties can be arranged upon request. Other on-site facilities includes massage services, a gift shop, a beach volleyball court and a tennis court. Nuku‘alofa Royal Sunset Resort is reached via a 20-minute boat transfer from Nuku'alofa Wharf. It is a 30-minute drive from Fuaʻamotu International Airport to Nuku'alofa Wharf.
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Find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about these and more resorts in Tonga at TripAdvisor.
Best time to honeymoon in Tonga
The best time to honeymoon in Tonga is during the dry season between May and October. Tonga’s climate is tropical and has a daytime average of 26°C throughout the year.
Fresh sea breezes keep things pleasant and Tonga is slightly cooler than most tropical regions. The wet season in Tonga lasts from November to April with March the wettest month, especially in Vava’u.
For more climate info: Tonga Weather Guide…
Scattered over 7700sq km of ocean, the islands of Tonga are 775km south-east of Fiji, 1190km north-east of Auckland and 3220km north-east of Sydney.
Virgin Australia Airlines operates direct flights between Sydney and Nuku'alofa; Air Pacific operates flights from Sydney to Nuku'alofa via Nadi, Fiji; Air New Zealand operate flights to Nuku'alofa via Auckland with connections from all major Australian airports.
Information on how to get to Tonga…
Latest update: Where to Honeymoon in Tonga:
18 November, 2018
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