The Top Activities in Tonga
Tonga: it’s the place where you can swim with whales, right? Sure, but there’s so much more to it than that… Meet the locals, whether it’s to enjoy the richness of their arts, crafts and values or the close encounters with astonishing marine life including, indeed, humpback whales. Experience the islands’ serene beauty from the shandy shores with lagoons or the rugged interiors of the islands hiding caves to ancient banyan trees. And that’s just a general sense of some of the amazing things to do in Tonga. Check out more in the list below!
1. Swim with Whales
One of the top experiences in Tonga is swimming with humpback whales. Tonga is one of the very few places on our planet where you can legally swim with humpback whales. It is an unbelievable experience to see these gentle giants in their element. The whale season is between June and October, with whale swimming tours available in Tongatapu, ‘Eua, Ha’apai and Vava’u. Learn more about this experience in The Guide to Whale Swimming in Tonga.
2. Scuba Dive in the Tropical Ocean
More adventure can be found in Tonga’s tropical waters through scuba diving. Caves, coral gardens, tunnels, pinnacles, arches and shipwrecks can all be explored in the visibility of around 30m (100ft). Combine that with the hundreds of species of corals and fish, as well as sharks, turtles and rays, and you have some of the best dives in the South Pacific. Check out The Guide to Scuba Diving in Tonga to learn more.
3. Relax on the Sandy Shores
Tonga has around 170 islands, some are mighty volcanoes while most are postcard-perfect paradises with swaying coconut palms encircled by stunning white-sand beaches. If you’re looking for a beach holiday without the crowds, Tonga is ideal, as all of its waterfront and private island resorts are boutique, giving the feeling of having the whole place to yourself.
4. Hike the Rugged Interiors
Another side of Tonga is the interiors of some of its larger islands. The island of ‘Eua, in particular, is home to the ancient forest of the ‘Eua National Park where the hiking here is simply amazing. You’ll pass by giant banyan trees with their tangling roots on your way to caves and lookouts over remote beaches. If you’re feeling more adventurous, boats can take you out to some of Tonga’s highest volcanoes to climb and take in the stunning South Pacific vistas. Check out some of our favourite hikes in the 10 Best Walks & Hikes in Tonga.
5. See Historical Sights
Tonga has a history of kings, colonising other South Pacific Islands, being the only island nation in the South Pacific to never be officially colonised, tribal warfare, visits from the Western world and more. With that, you’ll find some interesting historical sights around the island, most famously the megalithic structure of the Ha’amonga ‘a Maui, as well as royal tombs and historic fortifications. Check out the 10 Fascinating Historical Sites in Tonga for some amazing places to visit.
6. Check Out the Natural Wonders
As well as features that man has created, there are some interesting natural wonders to discover in Tonga. Discover amazing limestone caves with freshwater pools, kilometres and kilometres of blowholes across the coast, colonies of flying foxes, sea caves to snorkel into with large schools of fish, and the list goes on and on. Check out the 10 Best Natural Attractions in Tonga as a place to start discovering these attractions.
7. Experience the Tongan Culture
Tongans take great pride in their culture of Polynesian influences combined with the Christian faith. Many traditions can be experienced throughout your stay, from admiring or even learning Tongan handicrafts to listening to the harmonies of a Tongan church service. Food is also really important and a must is to experience a Tongan umu (food cooked in an underground oven), which is typically complete with a spitroast pig. Find out the many ways you can immerse in the Tongan culture in How to Have Real Cultural Experiences in Tonga.
8. Fish for the Pacific’s Pelagics
Fishing has been a way of life in Tonga for centuries but has developed into an exciting sport to catch the biggest fish in the southern Pacific Ocean. Nothing compares to the feeling of reeling in blue marlin, mahimahi, wahoo, yellowfin tuna and the many other species in Tonga’s waters. Whether you want an easy trawling charter or want to give spearfishing a go, Tonga has plenty of options, as outlined in The Complete Guide to Fishing in Tonga.
9. Try Out an Array of Watersports
The lagoons and reefs lining the shores provide an awesome natural playground for a range of watersports. Kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, surfing and particularly kitesurfing all have a place in Tonga! Check out our following guides to follow your interests: The Guide to Kayaking in Tonga, The Guide to Stand-Up Paddle Boarding in Tonga, The Complete Guide to Surfing in Tonga and The Guide to Kitesurfing in Tonga.
With warm soothing temperatures all year round and stunning paradise islands to admire, you can be forgiven for wanting to simply relax in Tonga. Island massages and yoga classes are available at some of the resorts, as well as in spas in Nuku’alofa, should you want to add another level to your relaxation and rejuvenation. Check out the 10 Glorious Ways to Relax in Tonga for ideas.