Amazing Activities in Tongatapu
Tongatapu is not only Tonga’s administrative hub being home to the capital, but it’s a hub for an array of activities in Tonga! Some of the islands’ most fascinating historical sites can be found here, as well as breathtaking natural landmarks from giant landlocked reef boulders to incredible caves. Out of the water, there’s whale swimming, kayaking and island-hopping. But spare some for seeing a lakalaka dancing show and indulging in Tongan cuisine. Why not, when it’s all part of the things to do in Tongatapu?!
Check out some remarkable ways to spend your time on the island in the list below. Plus, get more inspiration for your trip to Tongatapu with The Complete Guide to Tongatapu.
1. Explore and Swim in ‘Anahulu Cave
Tongatapu is home to many amazing natural landscapes, including ‘Anahulu Cave. Through a small cave entrance, you’ll emerge in a large limestone cave lit-up for you to admire the intricate stalactites and columns designed by nature. Follow a well-formed path and you’ll arrive at a refreshing cave pool that begs for a swim! After spending some time in the caves, there’s also a beach outside of the cave entrance to relax on.
2. See the Ancient Ha’amonga ‘a Maui Trilithon
If you’re looking for history in the South Pacific, then this is the place to come – the fascinating Ha’amonga ‘a Maui Trilithon. Also known as “Maui’s Burden”, this Stone Henge of the South Pacific was constructed around the 13th Century. Behind the arch monument, you can also check out ‘Esi Makafakinanga, a leaning stone pillar which is said to be where the king of Tonga at the time rested while watching the construction of Ha’amonga ‘a Maui. The attraction is one of many 10 Free & Cheap Things To Do on Tongatapu.
Location: Niutoua, east side of Tongatapu
3. Take a Look Around Tupou College
If you’re travelling with kids, or interestingly enough if you’re a nature-lover, then it’s worth visiting Tonga’s oldest school, Tupou College. Driving around the complex offers few interesting sights between the central Moulton Memorial Chapel, the Tuku’aho Museum and the Toloa Forest Reserve. The latter has a network of walking trails through one of Tonga’s largest tracts of remaining original rainforest. See more activities like this in 10 Things To Do on Tongatapu with Kids.
Location: Toloa, Fua’amotu, east side of Tongatapu
4. Go to a Tongan Feast and Cultural Show
Food, fun and fantastic dancing can be experienced at the dinner shows found around Tongatapu and its outer islands. Resorts, such as Vakaloa Beach Resort, Fafa Island Resort, Liku’alofa Beach Resort and Oholei Beach Resort, all host Tongan cultural nights complete with grand feasts. After indulging in an array of Tongan dishes, you’ll be treated to a night of cultural dancing known as “lakalaka”. Find out more in The Best Cultural Shows on Tongatapu.
Location: All over Tongatapu
5. Swim with Humpback Whales
Between July and October every year, visitors to Tonga get the amazing opportunity to swim with humpback whales as they migrate to Tonga for mating and calving. Tonga is one of the very few places in the world where you can swim with these gentle giants, with a selection of whale-swimming boat trips departing from Nuku’alofa. Find out more in the 8 Best Whale Swim Tours on Tongatapu. Plus, see more exclusive experiences in 10 Luxury Activities on Tongatapu.
Location: Trips depart from Faua Wharf in Nuku’alofa
6. Go Beach-Hopping
Tongatapu has an amazing selection of beaches, many of which are often blissfully deserted for a true slice of paradise. See beaches with blowholes, interesting limestone formations, lagoons, coral and caves all along the east, south and west coasts. Start making your list of must-hit beaches in The Guide to Beaches on Tongatapu. Additionally, some amazing surf can be found at Ha’atafu Beach for experienced surfers. Find more suggestions like this in 8 Adult-Only Activities on Tongatapu.
7. Scratch Your Head at Tsunami Rock
Also known as “The Maka Sio’ata”, Tsunami Rock is just one of Tonga’s gigantic boulders in an unusual place. Surrounded by coconut fields and some distance from the coast, Tsunami Rock looks a little out of place, but the natural wonder is explained by geologists to be a rock from a reef near the island that could have been deposited here by a tsunami. Get some obligatory photos and read about the rock’s history on the interpretation panels.
Location: Kala’au, west side of Tongatapu
8. Explore the Shores by Kayak
Kayaking is a tranquil way to explore the shores of Tongatapu and get to its off-shore islands. While many of the resorts offer kayak hire for cheap or free to guests, an excellent kayaking trip awaits with Taufatahi Charters. From Holonga Village, double up or get in a single kayak and make your way across a lagoon to a deserted island. From there, you’ll paddle all the way to Pangaimotu Island Resort for lunch, before returning to Nuku’alofa! See more activities like this in the 8 Romantic Activities on Tongatapu for Couples.
Location: Resorts all over Tongatapu and Holonga Village, south of Nuku’alofa.
9. See the Flying Foxes at Kolovai
Yes, Tonga is just one of those places where the wildlife is accessible to see in their natural environment. For instance, the flying foxes, or fruit bats, are easy to see in the trees in the village of Kolovai. While flying foxes can be seen all around Tonga, Kolovai is a sanctuary for these bats locally known as “peka”. Although it’s possible to see the bats all year round, the best time is between October and February.
Location: Kolovai, west side of Tongatapu
10. Check Out the Paepae ‘o Tele’a Tombs
Around the village of Mu’a are a number of interesting archaeological sites, including many royal tombs (langi) marked with giant limestone slabs. One of the most impressive of which is the Paepae ‘o Tele’a or “Platform of Tele’a”. These pyramid memorials of a 16th Century king can be found just off the main road as you pass through Mu’a.
Location: Mu’a, east side of Tongatapu