The Best Dive Sites in Vava’u
What sort of scuba diving can you expect in the Tongan island group of Vava’u? From shipwrecks to pinnacles to shallow caves to deep caves, there’s a dive site for just about anyone among the stunning seascape of Tonga’s northern island group. Check out what sort of scenery and marine life can be seen with this list of places to dive in Vava’u. Make your bucket list from this guide and let your scuba guide know where you want to go – see The Best Dive Shops & Operators in Vava’u.
Before we get started, be sure to bookmark The Guide to Scuba Diving in Tonga.
1. China Town (Tu’ungasika Island)
It appears that the coral has been inspired by Chinese architecture at this dive site near Tu’ungasika Island, hence the name “China Town”. All sorts of colourful critters can be found at this intriguing dive site, from multi-coloured tubeworms to bright red anemones. You’ll also see an array of colourful fish among the anemones, from clownfish to surgeonfish to butterflyfish and more. The dive goes down to around 27 m (89 ft) where you’ll then return to the surface, probably checking out tunnels and cervices with more amazing marine life to spot along the way.
2. The Clan McWilliam
Vava’u’s famous wreck dive right in the Neiafu Harbour, the Clan McWilliam is awash in beautiful hard and soft coral. The 128 m (423 ft) ship that was first launched in 1918 met an ill fate more than 50 years ago when it sank in the Neiafu Harbour due to a fire on board. Today, the wreck sits upright at an accessible depth of just 30 m (98 ft) where a wide variety of marine life can be admired, from stonefish to colourful reef fish.
3. Hunga Magic
Combine scuba diving with possible whale watching at this dive site which shares calving grounds with humpback whales between July and October. The seascape is also spectacular with sea fans, carnation corals, leather corals, stone corals and much more. Learn more about the whale season in The Guide to Whale Swimming in Tonga.
4. Split Rock
Another amazing dive site near Tu’ungasika Island, Split Rock is exactly that: a giant split in the rock that you can descend down. Check out the colourful nudibranchs holding onto the wall or possibly have encounters with majestic whitetip reef sharks!
5. Swallows Cave
One of the most popular snorkelling spots in Vava’u, Swallows Cave (‘Ana Pekapeka) is also worth trying for scuba diving. Join thousands of small fish creating amazing patterns in the cave, as well as a few larger fish in the mix. With the beams of light shining through the entrance and a depth of only 18 m (59 ft), Swallows Cave sure makes for some amazing dive photography. Check out more popular snorkelling spots in the 10 Best Places to Snorkel in Vava’u.
6. Shark’s Tooth Cave
Get a real cave diving fix at Shark’s Tooth Cave with three openings joined by a 16.5 m (54 ft) tunnel. Inside the cave are several chambers, two of which are above sea level. Look out for schools of fish decorating the cave’s waters, as well as crayfish which divers are requested not to catch in order to boost the populations. There is something to find in every corner, from nudibranchs to butterflyfish and more.
7. Sea Fans
Another stunner at Tu’ungasika Island, Sea Fans is two different sea caves that are suitable for most levels of divers. The largest cave has nudibranchs clinging to the walls, while around the corner is an array of gorgeous gorgonian fans lit up by the light beaming into the cave. Magical!
8. Mariner’s Cave
Strong snorkellers can make it into this airtight chamber in the upper two metres or you can dive at the lower entrance at 16.5 m (54 ft). The cave is interesting to check out with this fog created by the outgoing surge making the pressure and temperature drop. Outside of the cave, there are a few nudibranchs to admire.
9. No Worries
One of the newest discovered dive sites, No Worries is a deep dive for certified to advanced divers. It hits the 40 m (131 ft) mark as you descend down dramatic pinnacles with big fish and bigger views!
10. Whale Reef (Lua Tofua’a)
Dive this underwater reef (lua) near Longito’o Island with interesting coral formations to admire attracting some large fish, like amerjack, rock cod and Maori wrasse. Across the reef is a relaxing 3-8 m (10- 26 ft) while the edge drops 14-25 m (46-82 ft), making for some interesting diving.
More About Scuba Diving in Vava’u
That’s it for our list of the best places to scuba dive in Vava’u. For more about scuba diving in Vava’u, check out the following:
- 5 Best Dive Shops & Operators in Tonga
- 5 Best Dive Resorts in Tonga
- The Guide to Scuba Diving in Tonga
Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in The Complete Travel Guide to Vava’u.