Stunning Natural Sights in Tonga
Tonga, being a remote nation in the South Pacific with around 170 islands, just sounds like nature’s paradise, but that would be an understatement. It’s a place where humpback whales frolic, where parrots can be heard through the ancient rainforest, where coral reefs have their own societies and beaches, caves and blowholes are some of the formations you can see. Check out some of our favourite natural attractions in Tonga listed below!
1. Mapu ‘a Vaea Blowholes
A must-do on Tonga’s main island, Tongatapu, the Mapu ‘a Vaea Blowholes line an impressive 5km (3 miles) of coastline. Watch the waves crashing into and through tiered blowholes, shooting water as high as 30m (100ft) into the air when the conditions are right. It’s like nature’s own epic water fountain!
Location: Houma, westside of Tongatapu
2. Swallows Cave
A top snorkelling spot and hotspot most boat tours in the Vava’u group, Swallows Cave is a stunning natural attraction. Carved into the side of Kapa Island, this towering cave provides a safe harbour for large schools of fish, which create mesmerising patterns. Check out some of the tours that will take you there in the 10 Best Boat Tours of Vava’u.
Location: Kapa Island in Vava’u
3. Houmale’eia Beach
Ok, so Tonga has so many stunning beaches that it would be quite the mission to name them all here, but one well worth mentioning is Houmale’eia Beach in the Ha’apai group. Not only is Houmale’eia Beach easy to get to, but it has amazing snorkelling at the 400m (1,300ft) long reef now an established marine reserve. The beach is even backed by a couple of resorts, should you want to stay there or at least pop in for a bite to eat at their restaurants. Check out more of nature’s finest in this island group in the 6 Amazing Natural Attractions in Ha’apai.
Location: Foa Island, at the northern end of the main road in Ha’apai
4. ‘Eua National Park
Tonga’s largest national park is the obvious go-to for nature. Located on the island of ‘Eua, the ‘Eua National Park can be experienced either by hiking or by taking a 4WD tour. The national park is home to several natural attractions that we list in the 8 Amazing Natural Attractions in ‘Eua, including the breathtaking Lokupo and Lauua Lookouts, Rats Cave and more! While you’re visiting the park, look out for birds like the iconic red shining parrot that was introduced to the island in prehistoric times.
Location: East side of ‘Eua
5. The Whales
We can’t talk about natural attractions and not mention the whales! Yes, Tonga’s waters provide a safe refuge for humpback whales who migrate from the Antarctic between June and October in order to raise their young. Not only can you watch these majestic animals from shore, but you can even join a specialised whale swimming tour to snorkel with these gentle giants. Find out more in The Guide to Whale Swimming in Tonga.
Location: Available in the island groups of Tongatapu, ‘Eua, Ha’apai and Vava’u
6. ‘Anahulu Cave
Another top natural attraction on the island of Tongatapu, ‘Anahulu Cave is an impressive limestone cave with its very own natural swimming pool. After ducking through the cave entrance, you’ll be in a 400m (1,300ft) long chamber lit up for you to admire the formations hanging from the ceiling, from stalactites to pillars. Learn more about this attraction and more in the 10 Amazing Natural Attractions in Tongatapu.
Location: Fatumu, eastside of Tongatapu
7. Liangahu’o ‘a Maui Landbridge
Another interesting formation in ‘Eua, the Liangahu’o ‘a Maui is a natural archway or landbridge carved into the cliffs of the island’s southern coast. A self-guided walk to visit other natural sights, like the Rock Gardens or Lakufa’anga Cliffs, will bring you to the viewing platform to check out ‘Eua’s natural archway. See the 5 Best Hikes in ‘Eua for information on the walk to get there.
Location: South coast of ‘Eua
8. Japanese Coral Gardens
Not all of Tonga’s best natural attractions are above sea level. In fact, the country has a huge array of incredible dive and snorkelling sites where the underwater world is all the more impressive. For example, the Japanese Coral Gardens is a collection of coral bommies, each with its own city of fish and other marine life. The shallow coral gardens make for excellent snorkelling. Check out more amazing snorkelling and scuba diving sites in the 10 Best Places to Snorkel in Tonga and the 10 Best Dive Sites in Tonga.
Location: Mala Island, Vava’u
9. Flying Foxes of Kolovai
In Tongatapu is the village of Kolovai where you’ll find tens, even hundreds, of flying foxes residing in colonies in the village’s trees. Visiting this attraction is as easy as walking around the village and looking up at the trees. It’s well worth it to watch these large fruitbats loving life and making all kinds of crazy noises together. Check out more wildlife experiences like this in the 7 Best Wildlife Experiences in Tonga.
Location: Kolovai, westside of Tongatapu
10. Maninita Island
Finally, real nature-lovers can jump on a boat in the Vava’u group to visit Maninita Island. This uninhabited island provides an important habitat for 19 species of birds, including the endemic Tongan Whistler. Joining a bird-watching tour with Mounu Island Resort or the Mandala Island Resort is one of the ways to enjoy this island. Find out more in the 5 Best Places for Bird Watching in Tonga.
Location: Maninita Island