Premium Experiences in Ha’apai
Travelling to the remote Tongan islands of Ha’apai for a special occasion? Or perhaps you just want to make the most of this secluded and stunning destination? There are plenty of ways to experience “luxury”, between exclusive experiences swimming with whales and spending the day on a private island all to yourself. While there might not be such a thing as “five-star” in Tonga, it will hardly matter once your cares effortless float away and you embrace the island life. Learn more with this list of luxury activities in Ha’apai.
While you’re here, you might also be interested in The Luxury Guide to Ha’apai.
1. Swim with Humpback Whales
A Tonga must-do, whale swimming is available in Ha’apai between July and October. While swimming with beautiful humpback whales can be enjoyed from almost anywhere in Tonga, Ha’apai offers a more uncrowded experience with only a select few licensed operators sharing a vast area. Spend the day watching and snorkelling with these majestic creatures, often with mothers and their playful calves. The experience also usually includes stopping at a top snorkelling spot or an uninhabited island for a picnic lunch. Learn more about this life-changing experience, and who to experience it with, in the 5 Best Whale Swim Tours in Ha’apai.
2. Scuba Dive Among Untouched Coral
Ha’apai offers incredible and rarely explored dive sites across the archipelago. You have two dive operators to choose from: Sandy Beach Resort’s PADI dive operation or the Ha’apai Beach Resort who is affiliated with SSI. Both offer scuba diving lessons, as well as rentals and dive tours to amazing dive sites by boat or even off the beach! Features of the Ha’apai dive sites include unspoiled hard coral bommies and soft coral gardens, exciting tunnel systems and amazing pinnacles.
3. Indulge in an Island Massage
Enhance the relaxing experience of simply being in the tranquil Ha’apai Islands by indulging in a heavenly massage. Pampering sessions are a part of the Sea Change Eco Retreat experience on Uolevu Island, which offers full-body, head, neck and shoulder massages. Alternatively, Serenity Beaches Resort, also on Uolevu Island, offers relaxing island treatments moments away from their private unspoiled beach. Learn more about the resorts mentioned and more in the 7 Best Luxury Accommodation in Ha’apai.
4. Do a Beachfront Yoga Class
Rejuvenate the mind, body and soul with a yoga class in (what we think) is the most beautiful place on earth. Serenity Beaches Resort has a purpose-built yoga pavilion on the beachfront where guests can take time for a yoga class, as well as meditation or an artist’s way class. Alternatively, on Uolevu Island, Sea Change Eco Retreat also has a fantastic yoga pavilion nestled in coconut trees. They offer exclusive “Whale & Yoga” classes, including a 45-minute pre-whale swim class to prepare you for the life-changing experience, and a 45-minute post-whale swim yoga to stretch out after swimming. Complimentary informal yoga classes are also offered.
5. Explore the Islands on Horseback
While whales are the majestic creatures in Ha’apai’s water, horses are the majestic creatures on land, used every day by locals as a transportation method. Join in on the action with a horse riding trip available from Sandy Beach Resort and Matafonua Lodge. Connect with your steed as you ride bareback “island-style” from a local village. The journey takes you through lush tropical forest then onto the beach where you’ll get the opportunity to canter across the sand. Cool off by taking your horse for a swim, if you desire.
6. Tackle Big Game on a Fishing Charter
Ha’apai’s waters are teeming with large predator fish making for some exciting sports fishing. Both Sandy Beach Resort and Matafonua Lodge offer fishing charters on the same fishing boat, set up for trolling for the likes of mahimahi, tuna and wahoo on the blue water. Alternatively, choose to do some reef fishing and cast for giant trevally! Learn more about fishing in Tonga in The Complete Guide to Fishing in Tonga.
7. Get the Castaway Experience on a Private Island Day Trip
Out of the 62 islands in the Ha’apai Group, there are 45 that are uninhabited. Spend the day on a remote micro-island all to yourself and your loved one, complete with a picnic, snorkelling gear and beach towels. You’ll get the whole day to enjoy a private island experience with Sea Change Eco Retreat where you only need to call in on the radio to be picked up again. Alternatively, Matafonua Lodge and Sandy Beach Resort offer a multi-day “Robinson Crusoe” package where you’ll spend 10 whole days in a Tongan fale on the beautiful and private Luahoko Island.
8. Be Treated to a Private Dinner on the Beach
Enjoy destination dining on Uolevu Island with Sea Change Eco Retreat which offers complimentary private dinners on the beach for their guests. Dine by candlelight with your loved one under the stars. The resort can also pack you up a picnic lunch should you want to explore the island on foot for the day. Learn more about foodie experiences like this in the 6 Things to Do in Ha’apai for Foodies.
9. Hit Tonga’s Top Kitesurfing Spot
Kitesurfing enthusiasts, don’t miss the opportunity to surf across the South Pacific’s ultimate kitesurfing playground at the tip of Uolevu Island. The island has a 500m (1,640ft) sandbar stretching to the neighbouring Lifuka Island making for a huge flat water lagoon stretching 6km (4 miles) long. You can kitesurf in any wind direction here, with April to November typically experiencing southeast tradewinds of 15-25 knots and northeast tradewinds in the summer months of 12-20 knots. Get kitesurfing instruction at Fanifo Lofa Kitesurf Tonga to up your game or join them for a day trip to their “secret spot” with more incredible terrain to cover.
10. Learn How to Sail
Speaking about tradewinds, Ha’apai is also an ideal destination for sailing. Matafonua Lodge and Sandy Beach Resort have Hobie yachts for hire, where you can enjoy some freedom sailing across the azure and tranquil waters if you know what you’re doing. Or take them up on the opportunity to have some sailing instruction. The resorts have an on-site sailing instructor to show you the ropes and have you sailing the lagoon by yourself in no time!