10 Most Iconic Sights in Tonga(c) tongapocketguide.com
10 Most Iconic Sights in Tonga

10 Most Iconic Sights & Landmarks in Tonga

(c) tongapocketguide.com

The Top Tourist Attractions in Tonga

What is there to see in Tonga? Where is the Tonga that you see in all of the photos? From ancient megaliths to palaces of the South Pacific’s only royal family, this list of the most iconic sights and landmarks in Tonga goes over some of the most popular sightseeing attractions and which village/town and island group to find them.

For more amazing places to visit, be sure to also check out the 10 Most Famous Places in Tonga.

1. Ha’amonga a’ Maui (Tongatapu)

The most iconic historical landmark in Tonga is the Ha’amonga a’ Maui stone trilithon, an ancient megalithic structure that is said to have been built in 1200 AD. The three coral limestone slabs weigh approximately 30 to 40 tons each, making it a true wonder of Tonga and well worth checking out while travelling the island of Tongatapu. Check out more sights like this in the 10 Best Historical Sites in Tonga.

Location: Signposted along Taufa’ahau Road, Niutoua, east side of Tongatapu.

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2. Mapua a’ Vaea Blowholes (Tongatapu)

A natural attraction that’s iconic on the island of Tongatapu, the Mapua a’ Vaea Blowholes is a display of blowholes stretching across a whopping 5 km (3 mi) of coastline. Watch as the waves crash into the rugged southern coast of Tongatapu, shooting up to 30 m (100 ft) in the air through tens or even hundreds of blowholes. See more natural landmarks like this in the 10 Best Natural Attractions in Tonga.

Location: End of Vaea Road, Houma, southwest side of Tongatapu.

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3. Giant ‘Ovava Tree #1 and #2 (‘Eua)

A spectacular photo opportunity and a wonderful slice of nature can be found at the Giant ‘Ovava Trees on the island of ‘Eua. An ‘ovava tree is a banyan tree in Tongan, known for its impressive tangling roots. Some particularly large banyan trees are, indeed, the Giant ‘Ovava Tree #1 and #2, which either one is a popular stop on 4WD tours, as well as hikes into the ‘Eua National Park. See more fascinating sights like this in Sightseeing on ‘Eua: Top 10 Sights & Natural Attractions.

Location: ‘Ovava Tree #1 – Signposted between Mata’aho and ‘Esia villages, ‘Eua, down a narrow 1.8 km (1.1 mi) dirt road. A high-clearance vehicle is advised.
‘Ovava Tree #2 – Towards the east coast of ‘Eua. Follow signposts at the intersection from the main road in Kolomaile/Ha’atu’a villages. From the intersection, follow the road, which quickly turns into a dirt road, for approximately 1.6 km (1 mi) and then take the first road left. The ‘Ovava Tree is approximately 100 m (109 yards) down this track.

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4. Mt Talau (Vava’u)

For an iconic view of the island group of Vava’u, do the short but steep climb to the top of Mt Talau in the Mt Talau National Park. Two viewing platforms here provide stunning vistas of the Port of Refuge, the town of Neiafu and the islands beyond. See more like this in the 10 Best Sights & Natural Attractions in Vava’u.

Location: Neiafu, ‘Utu Vava’u, Vava’u. From Neiafu, follow Tapueluefu Road (just past the Police Station) for approximately 2 km (1.2 mi) until you see the entrance signs for the Mt Talau National Park.

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5. The Ocean (Featuring Whales)

Ok, so the ocean is a pretty big place, but in Tonga between July and October, the surrounding waters become the temporary home of migrating humpback whales from Antarctica. Many of the photos you will see of Tonga are of humpback whales, captured on unique whale swimming tours that are available in Tongatapu, ‘Eua, Ha’apai and Vava’u – learn more in The Guide to Whale Swimming in Tonga.

Location: All over Tonga! See the 10 Best Places to See Whales in Tonga From Shore for location recommendations.

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6. Lianga Huo ‘a Maui Landbridge (‘Eua)

There are a few interesting coastal arches to admire in Tonga, but one of the most iconic is the Lianga Huo ‘a Maui on the island of ‘Eua. After a short walk along the southern cliffs of the island, which are dappled in unusual rocky outcrops and home to wild horses, you’ll come across a viewing platform looking through this natural landbridge and out to the Pacific Ocean.

Location: South coast of ‘Eua. From the Rock Gardens, follow the grass trail east through a short tract of forest to a parking area where a sign indicates a short walk to Lia’anga Huo ‘a Maui. Return the same way.

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7. Swallows Cave (Vava’u)

Yes, there is no lack of caves in Tonga either, with a must-visit being Swallows Cave in Vava’u. This cave is only accessible by kayak or boat, carved into the depths of Kapa Island where snorkelling or scuba diving unveils an amazing display of fish forming patterns in large schools. With the daylight beaming through the entrance, Swallows Cave also makes for a spectacular photo opportunity. For more snorkelling hotspots, check out the 10 Best Places to Snorkel in Tonga.

Location: Northwestern tip of Kapa Island, Vava’u.

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8. ‘Anahulu Cave (Tongatapu)

Another iconic cave in Tonga, ‘Anahulu Cave is noteworthy for its stunning limestone chamber leading to a freshwater swimming pool. The cave is lit up for visitors to admire the stalactites dangling from the ceiling. Find this cave on the island of Tongatapu and check out others in the 10 Best Caves in Tonga.

Location: Signposted from the southern end of Haveluliku village, east side of Tongatapu.

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9. The Royal Palace (Tongatapu)

Tonga is unique in that it’s the only South Pacific island with a monarchy, which is symbolised by the iconic Royal Palace. On the shores of Nuku’alofa, the Royal Palace features grand Victorian architecture. While the palace is not open to the public, you can enjoy the view from the parks on either side of the palace. Make more discoveries in the capital with our 30 Best Things to Do in Nuku’alofa.

Location: Corner of Vaha’akolo and Vuna Roads, Nuku’alofa city centre, central north coast of Tongatapu.

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10. The Beaches and Islands…

Ah, beaches, islands, more beaches, and more stunning islands… Many of the iconic images you see of Tonga are of its landscapes. Tonga is, after all, an island archipelago of some 170 islands awash in sandy beaches, swaying coconut palms and even a few volcanic islands. Discover some of the most iconic beaches in the 20 Best Beaches in Tonga and islands in the 20 Best Islands in Tonga.

Location: All over Tonga! See the links above for recommendations and their locations.

10 Most Iconic Sights in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

More Iconic Sights and Landmarks in Tonga

That’s it for the most iconic sights and landmarks in Tonga. For more about sightseeing in The Kingdom, take a look at the following articles:

Finally, inspire yourself with more experiences with the 101 Best Things to Do in Tonga: The Ultimate List. Plus, get even more tips in The Complete Travel Guide to Tonga.


Laura (Lola) S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of Tonga Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as Tonga. She knows the islands inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Tonga’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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