Amazing Tonga Dive Sites!
Uncrowded, untouched and underwater magic, Tonga’s dive sites 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!
1. Cathedral Cave, ‘Eua
This cave under the island of ‘Eua is something else! An underwater cathedral extends 100m (330ft) long and 50m (165ft) wide at 30m (100ft) deep below the island. Join one of the dive operators either from ‘Eua or 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 and The Best Scuba Diving Tours in ‘Eua.
2. China Town, Vava’u
Coral have 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 anemone. 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 5 Best Scuba Diving Tours in Vava’u.
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 30m 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.
4. Hot Spring Cavern, Ha’apai
The island group of Ha’apai also holds an array of amazing dive sites, starting with Hot Spring Cavern. 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 22m cave entrance which then has a depth of 15-30m. See more Ha’apai dive sites in our list of the 5 Best Dive Sites in Ha’apai.
5. Arch of Ofalanga, Ha’apai
Another adventure in Ha’apai awaits at the Arch of Ofalanga, a 20m wide and 15m tall arch that is amazing to explore. The dive is 30m, 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.
6. J-Caves, Ha’apai
Ha’apai’s other epic dive site is J-Caves with a depth of 28m. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 18m, making for some amazing dive photography.