10 Amazing Natural Attractions in Tongatapu(c) tongapocketguide.com
10 Amazing Natural Attractions in Tongatapu

Sightseeing on Tongatapu: Top 10 Sights & Natural Attractions

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The Most Breathtaking Natural Sights on 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 might just do the trick. 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 sights and natural attractions in Tongatapu to it!

1. Mapua ‘a Vaea Blowholes

Lining some 5 km (3 mi) of the southern coastline of Tongatapu, the Mapua ‘a Vaea Blowholes are an impressive natural attraction. Watch the waves crashing in and through the blowholes shooting water as high as 30 m (100 ft) into the air when the conditions are right. Needless to say, the best time to visit is at high tide.

Location: End of Vaea Road, Houma, southwest side of Tongatapu.

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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 400 m (1,300 ft) 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. Check out ‘Anahulu Beach while you’re there, as listed in the 25 Best Beaches on Tongatapu.

Location: Signposted from the southern end of Haveluliku village, east side of Tongatapu.

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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 squealing at each other and loving life. Check out more wildlife activities like this in the 10 Best Wildlife Experiences in Tonga.

Location: Kolovai, west side of Tongatapu.

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4. Hufangalupe Land Bridge

There are a few impressive natural features to admire in the Hufangalupe area. After a drive down a dirt track (the last 50 m/yards is rough, so it’s best to park up and walk the rest of the way if you’re in a rental car), you’ll first come to a side trail to an astonishing lookout over Hufangalupe Beach. Another fainter trail leads down to the beach from the road. Alternatively, continue down the dirt road and follow a well-formed trail down to a cliff archway covered in vegetation, the Hufangalupe Land Bridge. Walk over the land bridge and continue for approximately five minutes before turning back to see an amazing view of Tongatapu’s rugged cliff coastline.

Location: Access off Hufangalupe Road, southeast coast of Tongatapu.

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5. Toloa Rainforest Reserve

On the grounds of the Tupou College is the Toloa Rainforest Reserve. Drive on through the school grounds to get to this rainforest with a nature walk through the vegetation with interpretation signs to show the various plant species that are naturally found in Tonga. Furthermore, many species are no longer found elsewhere in The Kingdom.

Location: Toloa Road, Tupou College Grounds, Toloa, east side of Tongatapu.

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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 Tsunami Rock tells of the different theories of how this giant boulder got here, perhaps thrown onto the land by a “tsunami”…

Location: Kala’au, west side of Tongatapu. There’s a car park and beach access at the end of the access road. However, Tsunami Rock is up the turn-off just before reaching the beach, approximately 140 m (150-yard) down a dirt road.

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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, we say, thank goodness!

Location: Signposted along Loto Road, western end of Liahona village, west side of Tongatapu.

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8. Hina Cave

Found on the private beach of the Oholei Beach Resort, Oholei Beach not only boasts idyllic white sands but also hides the famous Hina Cave. Explore the large cave with an opening in the ceiling and see Hina herself laid to rest while still waiting for her lover to return (or at least, the rocky outline of her). Take some time to relax on the stunning beach while you’re there. At the time of writing, the beach and cave are free to visit but a small fee may be introduced when the resort reopens its accommodation. Check out more caves across The Kingdom in the 10 Best Caves in Tonga.

Location: Oholei Beach Resort, well signposted from Lavengatonga, east side of Tongatapu.

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9. Malinoa Island

The main island of Tongatapu might not look like your dreamy paradise island, as the plantations and urbanisation kind of ruin 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 only accessible on snorkelling 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: Off-shore island north of Nuku’alofa. Whale tours visiting this island depart from Faua Wharf, Vuna Road, Ma’ufanga, Nuku’alofa.

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10. Ha’atafu Beach

Finally, other sights and natural attractions you’ll most likely want to check out on Tongatapu are the beaches. There are many great beaches on the main island and outer islands, which you can learn more about in the 25 Best 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: Ha’atafu (access road off Hihifo Road at the southern end of Ha’atafu village), west side of Tongatapu.

10 Amazing Natural Attractions in Tongatapu© TongaPocketGuide.com

More About Sightseeing on Tongatapu

That’s it for our list of the best sights and natural attractions on Tongatapu. Of course, there’s much more to see on Tonga’s main island, so take a look at the guides below to learn more about sightseeing on Tongatapu.

Finally, make seeing the sights easy by using A Self-Guided Day Trip Around Tongatapu: One Day Itinerary or taking one of the 5 Best Guided Island Land Tours of Tongatapu.


Laura (Lola) S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of Tonga Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as Tonga. She knows the islands inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Tonga’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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