10 Best Dive Sites in Tonga(c) Tonga Ministry of Tourism
10 Best Dive Sites in Tonga

10 BEST Dive Sites in Tonga

(c) Tonga Ministry of Tourism

Amazing Dive Sites in Tonga

Uncrowded untouched underwater magic awaits in Tonga. The dive sites in this South Pacific kingdom are certainly something for the experienced diver who wants to see something new. From wreck dives to crazy coral formations to pinnacles, the dive sites in Tonga are almost as diverse as its marine life which thrives in the tracts of healthy coral, from the tiny nudis to the majestic humpback whales. Take a look at what you’re in for when diving in Tonga with this list of the best dive sites in Tonga!

While you’re here, don’t forget to bookmark your complete bible to scuba in this island archipelago, The Guide to Scuba Diving in Tonga.

1. Cathedral Cave, ‘Eua

This cave under the island of ‘Eua is something else! An underwater cathedral extends 100 m (330 ft) long and 50 m (165 ft) wide at 30 m (100 ft) deep below the island. Join one of the dive operators from Tongatapu to reach this amazing cave to explore with healthy corals and schools of cardinalfish, butterflyfish, sweetlips and more. Check out operators to dive with to this location in The Best Snorkel & Scuba Dive Tours on Tongatapu.

10 Best Dive Sites in Tonga(c) Tonga Ministry of Tourism

2. China Town, Vava’u

Coral has been inspired by Chinese architecture at this dive site near Tu’uangasika Island in Vava’u! This intriguing dive site is home to all sorts of colourful critters, from multi-coloured tubeworms to bright red anemones. Clownfish, surgeonfish, butterflyfish and more and calling anemone home, while the tunnels and crevices hide more amazing marine life to spot along the way. Check out dive operators that go to this site in The Best Scuba Diving Tours in Vava’u.

10 Best Dive Sites in Tonga(c) Tonga Ministry of Tourism

3. Clan McWilliam, Vava’u

Tonga’s best wreck dive, the Clan McWilliam is an upright ship that was sunk by a fire more than 50 years ago. The wreck is just 30 m (98 ft) deep in Vava’u’s Neiafu Harbour, making it relatively accessible for a range of certified divers. The wreck is awash in soft and hard coral which attracts all sorts of colourful reef fish. Check out more popular dive sites in this island group in the 10 Best Dive Sites in Vava’u.

10 Best Dive Sites in Tonga(c) Pixabay

4. Hot Spring Cave, Ha’apai

The island group of Ha’apai also holds an array of amazing dive sites, starting with Hot Spring Cave. With an underwater hydrothermal vent gushing into the cooler cavern waters, this is a dive you’re unlikely to forget! Aside from temperature changes, the dive site also offers sponges and corals just before diving into the 22 m (72 ft) cave entrance which then has a depth of 15-30 m (49-98 ft). See more Ha’apai dive sites in our list of the 5 Best Dive Sites in Ha’apai.

10 Best Dive Sites in Tonga(c) Tonga Ministry of Tourism

5. Arch of Ofalanga, Ha’apai

Another adventure in Ha’apai awaits at the Arch of Ofalanga, a 20 m (66 ft) wide and 15 m (49 ft) tall arch that is amazing to explore. The dive is 30 m (98 ft), taking you along a coral arch that was formed during the last ice age. Look out for huge crayfish hanging onto the roof and sides. Check out the dive operators who can take you to the Ha’apai dive sites in The Best Scuba Diving Tours in Ha’apai.

10 BEST Dive Sites in Tonga© Tonga Ministry of Tourism

6. J-Caves, Ha’apai

Ha’apai’s other epic dive site is J-Caves with a depth of 28 m (92 ft). Enjoy amazing swim-throughs, huge overhangs and winding tunnels at this diverse dive site. An array of coral can be admired along the way, where it’s possible to spot eagle rays, whitetip reef sharks, as well as critters like whip coral shrimps and bubble coral orangutan.

10 Best Dive Sites in Tonga(c) Tonga Ministry of Tourism

7. Hunga Magic, Vava’u

You might just be lucky enough to experience some real magic at this reef amidst humpback whale calving grounds between July and October. Otherwise, Hunga Magic in Vava’u offers a pretty reef dive site with all sorts of coral, including leather coral, carnation corals, stone corals and more.

10 Best Dive Sites in Tonga(c) Tonga Ministry of Tourism

8. Split Rock, Vava’u

As if carved in two by a giant knife, Split Rock near Tu’ungasika Island in Vava’u provides an interesting dive site to descend. Look out for colourful nudibranchs clinging onto the walls, while you are also likely to encounter whitetip reef sharks along the way.

10 Best Dive Sites in Tonga(c) Tonga Ministry of Tourism

9. Outer Reef, Tongatapu

In comparison to Tonga’s other island groups, Tongatapu certainly has fewer options when it comes to dive sites. Nevertheless, if you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Nuku’alofa, hop on a dive boat to the Outer Reef where you’ll get the opportunity to check out beautiful underwater canyons, caves and drop-offs with a wide array of large fish, whether it’s trevallies, barracuda or even reef sharks. Rays, turtles, and bright schools of parrotfish, damsels and butterflyfish are also often seen. Operators to dive with to this location can be found in the 5 Best Dive Shops & Operators in Tonga.

10 Best Dive Sites in Tonga(c) Tonga Ministry of Tourism

10. Swallows Cave, Vava’u

Finally, a popular spot for both snorkelling and scuba diving, Swallows Cave is a cool dive site in Vava’u. Join thousands of small fish creating amazing patterns in the cave with a few larger fish in the mix. Beams of light shine through the entrance and a depth of only 18 m (59 ft), making for some amazing dive photography.

10 Best Dive Sites in Tonga(c) tongapocketguide.com

More About the Dive Sites in Tonga

That’s it for our list of the best dive sites in Tonga but it’s by no means the end of our advice on scuba diving in The Kingdom. Take a look at the following articles for more essential scuba tips:

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in The Guide to Scuba Diving in Tonga.


Robin (Lopini) C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of Tonga Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before settling in the South Pacific, so he knows a thing or two about planning the perfect trip in this corner of the world. Robin works and consults regularly with the Ministry of Tourism of Tonga. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides and is a regular host of webinars with the South Pacific Tourism Organisation.

Was this article useful?