Top Family Activities in Tonga
Tonga is not your typical family getaway, so you’re sure to have many first-time experiences together as a tribe. From life-changing moments like watching humpback whales to the simple pleasure of drinking from a coconut, there are lots to do in Tonga to keep the whole family entertained. We go over some of the top experiences to have with the little ones in this list of things to do in Tonga with kids!
For more advice on planning a family getaway, check out The Guide to Tonga for Families.
1. Watch Humpback Whales from Shore
Adults and kids alike want to experience the awe of seeing a humpback whale close-up. Between June and October each year, you can do just that in Tonga’s waters with licenced whale swimming tours. With swimming in the open water and bobbing around in small boats, however, it’s not the most appropriate option for kids, not to mention pricey. While you can stay on the boat and watch the whales, simply watching whales from shore can be a rewarding experience. Some of the best islands to watch whales from shore is Uoleva in Ha’apai, Foeata in Vava’u and ‘Eua near Tongatapu.
2. Swim in Natural Cave Swimming Pools
Kids love any excuse to splash about, but one of the most unique swimming experiences lies in ‘Anahulu Cave in Tongatapu. An affordable entry fee allows you to duck into the cave entrance and follow a walkway through a lit-up cavern of limestone formations, such as stalactites and stalagmites. At the end of the walkway is a freshwater pool making for some refreshing swimming! If you’re visiting Vava’u, there’s the Veimumuni Cave which also has a freshwater pool that kids typically love! Learn more in The Most Beautiful Swimming Holes in Tonga.
3. Be Amazed by Natural Attractions like the Mapu ‘a Vaea Blowholes
Tonga is home to spectacular natural land bridges, awesome caves, sweeping beaches, sinkholes and more – take a look at the 10 Best Natural Attractions in Tonga to be inspired. The best natural attraction for kids, however, is the Mapu ‘a Vaea Blowholes in Tongatapu. Kids love watching the water shooting up to 30m (100ft) into the air as the waves crash across the coast. Around 5km (3 miles) of Tongatapu’s southern coastline is filled with these amazing blowhole formations, which look like nature’s own incredible water display. Check out more things to do on Tonga’s main island in the 10 Things To Do on Tongatapu with Kids.
4. Explore the Islands on Horseback
Interactions with animals is always a fun experience for kids, one of the animal-related activities in Tonga being horse riding. On the islands of ‘Eua and Ha’apai, resorts work with local villagers to arrange for guests to experience to Tongan way of getting around the island – by horseback. Ride across the sandy shores on a beautiful horse where guides can lead the horse for your little ones. Check out more activities to do in ‘Eua and Ha’apai in the 5 Things To Do in ‘Eua with Kids and the 10 Things To Do in Ha’apai with Kids.
5. Snorkel Above Colourful Coral Reefs
Snorkelling is one of the most accessible ways for kids to enjoy exploring Tonga’s incredible underwater world through crystal clear and warm tropical waters. They’ll be amazed by the tropical fish, colourful corals and simply experience the joy of swimming. For planning a holiday with plenty of snorkel time, take a look at 10 Best Resorts for Snorkelling in Tonga and 10 Best Places to Snorkel in Tonga.
6. Make Tongan Souvenirs in a Crafting Lesson
Let the little ones embrace their creative streak and create something that both you and they can be proud of in a Tongan handicrafts lessons. Tongan handicrafts of woven items and tapa-paintings are a special part of the Tongan culture that you and your family can be a part of by taking part in a lesson, whether it’s with Ancient Tonga (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) in Nuku’alofa or with one of the villagers in ‘Eua organised through your resort. Find out more in Where to Learn Tongan Handicrafts. Plus, check out more experiences for the whole family in the capital in the 10 Things to Do in Nuku’alofa with Kids.
7. Go on a Family Kayaking Mission from Your Resort
If staying at one of the waterfront resorts in Tonga, it’s highly likely that there will be complimentary kayak hire for the whole family to enjoy. Double up in a kayak with your kids and head out on the lagoon to drift over coral bommies, explore the coast and teach the kids how to paddle. If you’re really keen on kayaking, check out the 10 Best Resorts for Kayaking in Tonga.
8. Go on an Island-Hopping Snorkelling Cruise
Most of Tonga’s islands are pristine and uninhabited, so it would be a shame to miss these out by just staying on one island! One of the best ways to get out on the water with the kids is on an island-hopping and snorkelling cruise, which are available from Tongatapu, Ha’apai and Vava’u. Particularly, Vava’u is a good destination for this, where you can stop by some stunning sandy shores for a barbecue lunch, snorkel over coral gardens and swim into large sea caves with large schools of fish. Check out the 10 Best Day Cruises in Tonga for inspiration. Plus, check out more things to do in this island group in the 10 Things To Do in Vava’u with Kids.
9. Find the Fishing Pigs or the Flying Foxes
More animal fun can be found on the island of Tongatapu with attractions such as the “Fishing Pigs” and the Flying Foxes. In the village of Mu’a, pigs can be seen popping their heads in the water in search of food – best seen at low tide. Additionally, in the village of Kolovai, simply look up into the trees to see large fruitbats known as flying foxes.
10. Drink From a Coconut
Finally, don’t forget to enjoy the simple pleasures of island life, like sipping fresh coconut water from a coconut. It might sound silly, but it’s moments like this that stick with kids. Fresh coconuts are available to purchase from cafes and resorts across Tonga. Some resort staff might even get you a coconut straight from the tree if you ask. Just get a coconut to share though, as those nuts hold a LOT of juice!