Luxurious Experiences on Tongatapu
If you find luxury in discovering lesser-known islands and engaging in a rich culture, then you will love the island group of Tongatapu. Tonga’s southern island group, also known as the “Sacred South”, offers a wealth of premium cultural, natural and historical experiences. Swim with humpback whales, play golf on the kingdom’s only golf course, see the sights on an exclusive private tour and more. We’ll go through all of the premium experiences in this list of the best luxury activities in Tongatapu of Tonga.
While you’re here, get more advice on luxury travel (and set your expectations right for the standards of “luxury” in Tonga) in The Luxury Guide to Tongatapu.
1. Play at Tonga’s Only Golf Course
Want to tee off in every country in the world? Be sure to tick Tonga off the list at the Tonga Golf Club. The Tonga Golf Club provides a relaxing nine-hole golf course in an attractive park-like setting. This year-round golf course is the only one in the entire kingdom.
Location: ‘Atele, south of Nuku’alofa
2. Enjoy a Private Fishing Charter
The waters off the coast of Tongatapu are teeming with exciting game fish to target – think mahimahi, wahoo, dogtooth tuna and giant trevally! Private fishing charters are available to hire from Faua Wharf in Nuku’alofa with expert guides who have been fishing in these waters for decades. They’ll help you choose the right bait, use the right equipment and get you to the “hotspots”. Compare your options in The Best Fishing Charters on Tongatapu.
Location: Faua Wharf, Nuku’alofa
3. Indulge in an Island Massage
Tonga is an incredibly relaxed country as it is, but the ambience can be heightened further with a relaxing island massage. Find glorious spas in Nuku’alofa where you can enjoy island-style treatments at Island Glow, for instance. Alternatively, Acu-Reflex-Herbal Therapy & Garden Spa offers an array of natural healing massages. Or try something new like a Japanese-Tongan fusion massage at Shilmoi Massage Therapy. Compare spas in our The Best Spas on Tongatapu.
4. Swim with Majestic Humpback Whales
A once-in-a-lifetime experience awaits in the waters of Tongatapu between July and October. Humpback whales take a remarkable journey from the Antarctic to Tonga to breed and calve. The warm, shallow and sheltered waters are the perfect conditions to swim with these amazing creatures on one of the whale swimming tours available from Nuku’alofa. Check out some of your best options in the 8 Best Whale Swim Tours on Tongatapu.
Location: Faua Wharf, Nuku’alofa
5. See the Sights of Tongatapu on a Private Tour
Tongatapu harbours an array of intriguing historical locations, amazing Royal sights, and breathtaking natural land formations. See them all and more on a private tour with Tonga Travel Troupe. This bespoke tour takes you to your bucket list attractions, whether it be the ancient Ha’amonga ‘a Maui Trilithon or the natural water displays of the Mapu ‘a Vaea Blowholes. The full-day tour allows you to stay at each attraction for as long or as little as you desire. Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor. Plus, see more guided tours of the island in The Best Guided Tours of Tongatapu.
Location: Accommodation transfers available from anywhere on Tongatapu
6. Shop for Unique Arts and Crafts
The talent and the passion of the craftspeople in Tonga are simply astonishing. Admire tapa-cloth paintings, woven bags, woven bowls, woven fans, carved pendants, carved ornaments and oh-so-much more at the amazing Talamahu Market or the Langafonua Handicrafts Centre in Nuku’alofa. Additionally, head to the Blue Banana Studios in Kanokupolu to browse hand-crafted jewellery, locally-designed lavalava (sarongs) and much more.
Location: Talamahu Market & Langafonua Handicrafts, Nuku’alofa city centre. Blue Banana Studios, Kanokupolu Beach, westside of Tongatapu.
7. Dine at one of the Island’s Delectable Restaurants
“Fine dining” as you might know it doesn’t exactly exist in Tonga – it’s more of a casual dine-in experience with mouthwatering Tongan, European and Asian cuisine. The largest and most diverse choice of restaurants can be found in Nuku’alofa, with the more “luxurious” dining venues being the Waterfront Cafe, Chef Zero, and The TOP Restaurant. See our 5 Best Restaurants in Nuku’alofa for more information. Dining outside of Nuku’alofa usually means eating at one of the beach resorts with glorious views of the sunsets, for instance at the Heilala Holiday Lodge Restaurant. Or how about a trip to Fafa Island serving Pacific European gourmet cuisine at their beachfront restaurant?
Location: All over Tongatapu. See the Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants on Tongatapu.
8. Get a Private Transfers to a Tongan Feast and Cultural Show
Experience the captivating traditional Tongan “lakalaka” dancing and Polynesian fire shows at one of the grand Tongan feasts found across the island. Travellers to Tongatapu have many options, which can be compared in The Best Cultural Shows on Tongatapu, but one of the more premium experiences is the ‘Oholei Beach & Hina Cave Feast & Show with a local guide. You’ll be privately transferred to the ‘Oholei Beach where you’ll experience some entertainment before indulging in a Tongan feast complete with a suckling pig. From there, it’s into the open-top Hina Cave for a fire-dancing show. All the while, the host will share the history and the meaning behind the dances for a more enlightening experience. The experience is available with Tonga Travel Troupe (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Location: Transfers are available from accommodations on Tongatapu.
9. Scuba Dive at Coral Reefs and Caves
Tongatapu is home to some unique scuba diving and freediving experiences. Apart from hearing whale song throughout Tongatapu’s waters between July and October, divers can experience diving among vibrant coral reefs with more than 170 fish species. Trips also depart from Nuku’alofa to ‘Eua island, which is Tonga’s oldest island with an astonishing underwater seascape of volcanic caverns. Check out who you can dive with in The Best Snorkel & Scuba Dive Tours on Tongatapu.
10. Enjoy a Full-Day Island-Hopping and Snorkelling Boat Charter
Tongatapu is just a taste of what Tonga has to offer but if you want to explore the “real” Tonga of crystal clear waters decorated with coral and scattered with idyllic islands, then it’s best to jump on an island-hopping boat trip. Departing from Nuku’alofa, Taufatahi Charters offers private full-day charters taking you and your mates or loved ones around the islands for snorkelling, swimming, beachcombing and enjoying an island lunch.
Location: Faua Wharf, Nuku’alofa