10 Best Things to Do in Nuku'alofa with Kids© TongaPocketGuide.com
10 Best Things to Do in Nuku'alofa with Kids

10 Best Things to Do in Nuku’alofa with Kids

© TongaPocketGuide.com

The Top Family Activities in Nuku’alofa

An interesting introduction to The Kingdom of Tonga lies in the capital, Nuku’alofa. Known as the “Abode of Love”, Nuku’alofa is a fantastic place to engage in the culture and history of the island nation. When you’re not spending time on land, you can be out on the tropical waters taking part in snorkelling tours and whale watching excursions! Find out what else is amazing to do with the little ones in this list of things to do in Nuku’alofa with kids!

While you’re here, get all your essential tips for a family trip to the capital in The Guide to Nuku’alofa for Families.

1. Go On a Family Snorkelling Excursion or Island Day Trip

Discover Tonga’s amazing array of corals and tropical fish on a family-friendly snorkelling trip from Nuku’alofa. Snorkelling tours are in sheltered waters that are safe for even younger kids (as long as they know how to swim), usually alongside idyllic islands some 20-30 minutes off the city’s shores. All of the snorkelling gear will be provided, including a mask, snorkel and fins. So all you need to do is enjoy the boat journey and discover the amazing underwater world together as a family. Note that snorkelling tours are typically only available between November and June (in other words, outside of the whale season). See current tour operators in The Best Snorkel & Scuba Dive Tours in Tongatapu & Nuku’alofa.

Alternatively, island day trips to the nearby Pangaimotu Island are available on Sundays departing from Faua Wharf at 11 am and 12 pm or on demand throughout the week if minimum numbers are met. The day trip is ideal for all ages – just think of it as the ultimate day at the beach! Learn more about the day trip in the 10 Best Island Day Trips & Tours from Nuku’alofa.

Location: See recommended tours in the link above. Most tours depart from Faua Wharf, Vuna Road.

10 Things to Do in Nuku’alofa with Kids(c) tongapocketguide.com

2. Buy Presents at the Talamahu Market

Treat the little ones to some amazing gifts while having a cultural experience at the Talamahu Market. The arts and crafts covering every inch of this market building are nothing short of awe-inspiring. Kids can oggle at handmade woven clothes and baskets and get customised hand-carved jewellery made from bones and wood (check out the Treasure Island stall upstairs), and be awe-inspired by giant carvings of whales and warriors. Even the produce side of the market is fun to browse, with impressive stands of colourful tropical fruit and vegetables. Learn more about the market and others in the 5 Best Markets in Tonga.

Location: Salote Road, Nuku’alofa city centre.

10 Things to Do in Nuku'alofa with Kids© TongaPocketGuide.com

3. See the Whales Between July and October

Whale watching and swimming tours are available from Nuku’alofa between July and October. Whale swimming is a popular option with families with older kids and teens who are strong swimmers, as swimming is in the open water and involves a lot of getting on and off the boat. Those with younger kids can experience just as much excitement from the whale tour boats, watching the whales swimming to the surface, lifting their fluke into the air, and even sometimes breaching! Learn more about the experience in The Guide to Whale Swimming in Tonga.

Location: Tours depart from Faua Wharf, Vuna Road. See operators in the 5 Best Whale Swim Tours in Tongatapu & Nuku’alofa.

10 Things to Do in Nuku’alofa with Kids(c) tongapocketguide.com

4. Check Out the Royal Sights

The capital is home to a few interesting sights, where you can teach your kids more about the South Pacific’s only kingdom! As a bonus, it doesn’t take too long to see each sight. Check out the Royal Palace, a grand Victorian building where you can get the best views from the waterfront on the west side of the palace. The Royal Tombs is a large fenced-off park where you can appreciate the grand statues and tombs from afar. Check out the 10 Historical Sites in Tongatapu & Nuku’alofa for more like this.

Location: Royal Palace – corner of Vaha’akolo and Vuna Road. Royal Tombs – seen from Meteialona Road, Vaha’akolo Road and Taufa’ahau Road.

10 Things to Do in Nuku’alofa with Kids(c) tongapocketguide.com

5. Play and Have a Picnic at Popua Park or Fa’onelua Park

Next to the Tourism Information Fale is Fa’onelua Park, the largest public children’s playground in Tonga and a pretty awesome one at that with equipment donated by various local and international organisations and maintained by Nuku’alofa Rotary Club.

Head east along the waterfront of Nuku’alofa and you’ll find a great recreational area for families. Popua Park was once a dumping ground of the city, now transformed into a picturesque park with a waterway running through it alongside landscaped flower gardens. There’s a children’s playground, beach volleyball court, sculptures and plenty of picnic areas.

Location: Fa’onelua Park – Vuna Road (next to the Tourist Information Fale). Popua Park – Vuna Road, Popua (approximately 3.6 km/2.2 mi from the Tourist Information Fale).

10 Things to Do in Nuku’alofa with Kids(c) tongapocketguide.com

6. Learn About Tongan Traditions at Ancient Tonga

Tonga is a nation with a rich island culture, best experienced through captivating performances and arts and crafts seen across the island of Tongatapu (see The Guide to Tongatapu for Families for more information on these activities). Alternatively, a fantastic option within Nuku’alofa is Ancient Tonga! The cultural centre offers “Half” and “Full Culture Tours” revolving around Tongan arts, crafts, dance and food. It’s a great way to get the kids involved in a more hands-on learning experience. Find out more about the tours in the 10 Best Cultural Activities in Tonga.

Location: Tamakautonga Road, Popua, Nuku’alofa.

10 Things to Do in Nuku'alofa with Kids© TongaPocketGuide.com

7. Make Your Own Tongan Souvenir at Tina’s Workshop

Tina’s Workshop is a three-hour handicraft workshop to make your own Tongan sei (flower hairpiece), tapa notebook, angel or doll! The experience is very affordable for families and also typically includes a traditionally cooked umu lunch, which you’ll watch being prepared at the beginning of the workshop, and then get to enjoy for lunch. And if the workshop goes over three hours, your hosts usually don’t mind, as their passion is keeping Tonga’s art culture alive!

Location: Fehoko Oceanic Arts Studio, Tamakautonga Road, Popua, Nuku’alofa.

10 Things to Do in Nuku'alofa with Kids© TongaPocketGuide.com

8. Do a Day Trip Around Tongatapu

If you haven’t already, be sure to explore the greater area of Tongatapu! At only 260 km² (100 mi²), the island is easy enough to travel around in a day, either renting a car (see The Guide to Car Rental in Tonga for tips) or taking a guided tour. Visit highlights like the limestone ‘Anahulu Caves, the Mapua ‘a Vaea Blowholes and scenic historic sites around the island, by following our advice in The Guide to Tongatapu for Families. Island tours are also available with operators listed in the 5 Best Guided Island Land Tours of Tongatapu.

Location: Tours usually include accommodation pick-ups in Nuku’alofa.

10 Things to Do in Nuku'alofa with Kids© TongaPocketGuide.com

9. Have a Coffee While the Kids Play at the Playground at Tupu’Anga Cafe

For some downtime combined with a real Tongan foodie experience, head to Tupu’Anga Cafe. The cafe roasts its own coffee beans and is known across the island of Tongatapu for its irresistible manioke (cassava) chips! Treat yourself and kids to Tongan-inspired treats, such as cassava cake, papaya scones, lu pie and much more! There’s even a playground outside to keep the little ones entertained. Check out more foodie experiences like this in the 10 Best Foodie Experiences in Nuku’alofa.

Location: Umusi Road, Popua, Nuku’alofa.

10 Things to Do in Nuku'alofa with Kids© TongaPocketGuide.com

10. Experience a Tongan Sunday

Ok, so children might be renowned for getting “bored” at church, but the experience might be a little different in Nuku’alofa… Sunday is an important day in Tonga when most Tongans go to church and take part in grand masses full of harmonious singing and the playing of brass instruments. It’s quite the experience that is sure to leave the whole family in awe! Be sure to be dressed appropriately for church – check out The Guide to the Religions in Tonga to learn more about church etiquette.

Location: All over Nuku’alofa! See the 5 Best Churches in Nuku’alofa to Experience as a Visitor for recommendations and their locations.

10 Things to Do in Nuku'alofa with Kids© TongaPocketGuide.com

More Things to Do in Nuku’alofa with Kids

That’s it for the best things to do in Nuku’alofa with kids. For more experiences that don’t necessarily fall into the “family-friendly” category but may well be just as suitable for your tribe, take a look at the following:

Finally, get even more inspiration for your family getaway with The Travel Guide to Tonga for Families and the 10 Things to Do in Tonga with Kids.


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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