Natural Sights in Tongatapu
Nature creates some of the most impressive places for sightseeing, which is certainly the case in the island group of Tongatapu. Not only are there stunning uninhabited islands with dreamy beaches scattering the northern part of the island group, but the main island itself has some pretty impressive natural features too. If you’re not astounded by the limestone caves with their own natural swimming pools, then arches etched into the island’s mighty cliffs just might. As for the three-headed coconut tree… Well, we’ll leave that for you to decide. So get the itinerary out and add these amazing natural attractions in Tongatapu to it!
1. Mapu ‘a Vaea Blowholes
Lining some 5km (3 miles) of the south coast of Tongatapu, the Mapu ‘a Vaea Blowholes is an impressive natural attraction. Watch the waves crashing in and through the blowholes shooting water as high as 30m (100ft) into the air when the conditions are right.
Location: Houma, westside of Tongatapu
2. ‘Anahulu Cave
A limestone cave and home to Tongatapu’s only freshwater pool, ‘Anahulu Cave is a must-visit natural attraction on the island. Duck into the cave entrance and emerge at a 400m (1,300ft) long cave with a towering ceiling of stalactites and all sorts of other limestone features. Follow the walkway and you’ll find a pool for a refreshing swim.
Location: Fatumu, eastside of Tongatapu
3. Flying Foxes of Kolovai
The village of Kolovai might be close to some of Tongatapu’s best beaches, but its main claim to fame is the flying fox colonies residing in the village’s trees. Just walk around the village and look up at the trees to watch these large fruitbats loving life and making all kinds of crazy noises. Check out more wildlife experiences like this in the 7 Best Wildlife Experiences in Tonga.
Location: Kolovai, westside of Tongatapu
4. Hufangalupe Landbridge
A worthy photo opportunity on the south coast of Tongatapu, the Hufangalupe Landbridge is a large rocky arch on the coast. You can even walk on top of the arch and a little further along the coast to get some incredible views across the cliffs.
Location: Off Liku Road, west of Fua’amotu and south of Vaini. Eastside of Tongatapu
5. Toloa Rainforest Reserve
On the grounds of the Tupou College Methodist boys’ secondary school is the Toloa Rainforest Reserve. Drive on through the school grounds to get to this rainforest with a walkway through the vegetation with interpretation signs to show the various plant species that are naturally found in Tonga but many are no longer found elsewhere in The Kingdom.
Location: Tupou College grounds, Toloa, eastside of Tongatapu
6. Tsunami Rock
This mysterious large boulder in the middle of an otherwise flat coconut plantation is a fun photo opportunity in Tongatapu. A sign at the rock tells of theories of how this giant boulder got here, perhaps thrown onto the land by a tsunami…
Location: Kala’au, west side of Tongatapu
7. Three-Headed Coconut Tree
Ever wondered what a coconut tree with three heads looks like? Us neither, but if we’ve now piqued your interest, then you can see one on the roadside in Liahona. Farmers in the area have been careful not to cut down this natural wonder over the years, and thank goodness!
Location: Liahona, westside of Tonga
8. Hina Cave
Hina Cave is not just an amazing natural attraction on Tongatapu’s east coast, but it’s also the venue of one of the island’s most popular cultural shows. The Oholei Beach Resort hosts cultural performances and a Tongan feast every Wednesday and Friday night and every Sunday afternoon, giving a unique way to experience this natural attraction. See The Best Cultural Shows on Tongatapu for more information.
Location: Oholei Beach, eastside of Tongatapu
9. Malinoa Island
The main island of Tongatapu might not look like your dreamy paradise island, as the plantations and urbanisation kind of ruins that aspect, but if you’re looking for a stunning slice of the South Pacific then you can certainly find it on some of the islands in the northern reefs of the Tongatapu group. Malinoa Island is one of many stunning islands that are left for nature, but accessible on island boat tours, snorkelling tours and whale swimming tours. What’s more, Malinoa Island is surrounded by a marine reserve, making it an ideal place for a snorkel. Learn more about snorkelling in this island group in the 7 Best Places to Snorkel in Tongatapu.
Location: Malinoa Island, north of Tongatapu
10. Ha’atafu Beach
Finally, other natural attractions you’ll most likely want to check out in Tongatapu are the beaches. There are many great beaches in Tongatapu, which you can learn more about in The Guide to Beaches on Tongatapu. However, one of the most popular is Ha’atafu Beach, not only for its surfing, marine reserve and snorkelling, but because it looks pretty darn good.
Location: Between Kanokupolu and Ha’atafu, east side of Tongatapu