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Things to do in Tonga

Honeymoon couples have a good choice of things to do in Tonga, from scuba diving, snorkeling and sailing to sea kayaking, whale watching and hiking.

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Whale encounters

Whale encounters – Image courtesy of Brandon Cole/majesticwhaleencounters.com.au


What to do in Tonga

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…

Scuba diving

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.

Snorkelling

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.

Surfing

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.

Yachting

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.

Kayaking

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.

Game fishing

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.

Eco

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.

Whale watching

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

Hiking

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.

Shopping

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.


Latest update Tonga honeymoon destination: 7 February, 2017


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