What to See in Tonga

Neyafu, Wawau Islands (Tonga)

Neiafu is the second largest port of Tonga and the administrative center of the island group of Vavau. To visit in Neiafu we can only recommend the Sailoam market and the city harbor, which in winter is filled with yachts. Between May and October, the yachting season officially opens on the Vavau Islands. It is no coincidence that this place has become one of the most famous yachting destinations: on the south side, the island of Vavau is bordered by many coral islands, and the lagoons formed by the islands are the best suited for boat trips. On yachts, you can go to secluded sandy beaches or go to the caves that the Vavau Islands are famous for. Numerous caves are suitable not only for swimming or snorkelling, but also for diving. The walls of the local caves are covered with multi-colored soft corals, among which the most unusual fish live. The most famous caves suitable for diving are located near the island of Tuungasika, the islet of Eukafa, off Nuapapu Atoll and Cap Island. Among divers, the bay of the capital Neiafu, where the freighter Clan MacWilliam has been buried since 1927. The ship has a length of 128 m and is located at a depth of 22 m. This is a great place for wreck diving.

It is also worth going to Mount Talau National Park, towering on the island of Vavau. Mount Talau has a height of 131 m. A hiking trail leads to its top, a journey along which takes 45 minutes. The park is home to a rare stone lizard and many flying foxes. No less interesting are the nearby Eneio botanical gardens, where more than 500 plant species are represented.

Humpback whales appear in the waters surrounding the Vava’u Islands each year during the winter months between July and November. They come here from Antarctica to mate. To Neiafu you will find many agencies that will offer you to go to the sea in order to watch whales. To do this, excursions are offered on boats, catamarans, boats, yachts or canoes, or walking tours along the rocky east coasts. During a sea excursion, you can not only see whales, but also swim near them with a mask. It is worth remembering that you should go to the sea to see the whales only with a guide accredited by the Ministry of Fisheries. Diving near the whales is not allowed, but swimming or snorkeling within 30m is allowed.

In addition, fishing is possible on the Vavau Islands. Large fish such as barracuda, marlin, sailfish, dorado and tuna live in coastal waters. Every year in September, the International Tongan Fishing Tournament is held on the island of Vava’u.

Pangai, Ha’apai Islands (Tonga)

According to jibin123, Pangai is the administrative center of the Ha’apai island group. The village is located in the southwestern part of Lifuka Island. There are practically no attractions on the island, mostly tourists go here to go diving. But still, the island of Lifuka can boast that it was here that Lapita culture pottery was discovered, which indicated that people appeared on the archipelago as early as the 1st millennium BC. In 1995, the entire island group of Ha’apai was declared a protected area, so there are not many places to accommodate tourists.

In the village of Pangai there is only one dive center that organizes diving on the Ha’apai Islands. In the coastal waters of the islands, you can see coral gardens, walls and caves. One of the best diving spots in this region is the coastal waters of Ofolanga Island. Here is the famous Arch. It represents the entrance to a cave 20 m wide and 15 m high. In addition, in the western part of the Haapai island group, a chain of underwater volcanoes Falcon stretches, which are surrounded by lava fields. This region contains some of the most spectacular dive sites in the archipelago. It is worth recalling that the Tonga archipelago located in the southern part of the Pacific Ring of Fire zone, which extends at the junction of the Indo-Australian and Pacific lithospheric plates. It is the western part of the Haapai island group that is located on the most active part of the earth’s crust. In addition to underwater volcanoes, the dormant volcano of Kao Island is interesting here, which is also the highest point of the archipelago, and one of the largest and most active volcanoes of the state – Tofua island volcano. Tofua Island is very picturesque: the slopes of the volcano are covered with tropical forests, and beaches of volcanic sand stretch along the coast. Tourists are invited to climb to the top of the volcano, in the crater of which there is a freshwater lake.

Hihifo, Niuas Islands (Tonga)

Hihifo is the administrative center of the Niuas group of islands. This is the northernmost group of islands in the Tonga archipelago, it is located about 400 km from the Tongatapu group. It includes the islands of Niuatoputapu and Niuafou. Getting to the Niuas Islands is quite difficult: the ferry runs here once a month, and planes fly twice a week, but flights are often cancelled. The isolation of the islands from the central regions of the state allowed the local population to maintain their identity. It is here that you can get acquainted with the “pure” Polynesian culture, which has escaped Western influence. The only place where tourists are accommodated is the Palm Tree resort. It is located on a small island off the northern coast of Niuatoputapu. Niuatoputapu Island is volcanic, its area is 18 square meters. km. On the island you can go hiking, visit traditional Polynesian villages, climb to the top of the extinct Tafahi volcano or spend time on the beaches of the northwest coast. Niuafou Island is located 100 km northwest of the island of Niuatoputapu. An active volcano rises on it, which erupted 4 times in the 20th century.

Hihifo, Niuas Islands (Tonga)