Family Activities in Vava’u
With so much emphasis on whale swimming, sports fishing and scuba diving, Vava’u might not seem like the most family-friendly destination at first glance. But by digging a little deeper, families will see that this northern island group of Tonga can provide an exciting, educational and memorable holiday. There are kid-friendly activities both on land and on the water and both free and as a special treat, that are sure to fill up your getaway with positive family memories. Check out some of our top recommendations in this list of things to do in Vava’u with kids!
While you’re here, you might also be interested in The Guide to Vava’u for Families.
1. Go on a Whale Watching Tour
One of the most popular activities in Vava’u is swimming with humpback whales! However, because swimming is on the open water, we recommend families with younger children to enjoy the experience from the boat. Seeing the whales swimming to the surface, launching their enormous flukes into the air and sometimes even breaching can be just as rewarding as getting in the water with them. Compare your whale watching tours in the 10 Best Whale Swim Tours in Vava’u.
2. Do an Island Boat Cruise to see Swallows’ Cave
Vava’u’s octopus-shaped island formation is amazing to explore on the water, especially with an array of stunning islands and coral reefs to explore. One of the best options for families is the boat cruise with Hakau Adventures. Jump on one of their six-hour day trips checking out spots like the magnificent Swallows’ Cave, as well as amazing snorkelling hotspots where the snorkelling gear is provided. You’ll be well looked after with fresh fruit and snacks after every swim, as well as a full lunch. What’s more, children under 12 get the experience for half price! See more boat cruises in The Best Boat Tours of Vava’u.
3. See a Cultural Show or a Guided Tour of ‘Ene’io Botanical Garden
Well, there are some reasons why you might want to keep your feet on dry land in Vava’u and one of those reasons is the ‘Ene’io Botanical Garden! Kids love exploring the lush tropical gardens on the botanical garden walking tour, while the adults can take in the fascinating commentary from the former Director for Agriculture and Forestry and curator of the garden, Haniteli Fa’anunu. The Botanical Garden also offers Polynesian cultural tours complete with a Tongan-style lunch and cultural demonstrations. They are also open for a Sunday feast.
Location: On the eastern side of Vava’u Island, south of Tu’anikivale Village. Neiafu/resort transfers are available.
4. Have a Peak into the Veimomuni Cave
For families checking out some of the sights around Vava’u, don’t miss the Veimomuni Cave and the freshwater pool. An interpretation panel at the entrance to the cave walkway tells of the story and legends behind the cave. It’s a 30-second walk down to the cave entrance that despite facing the sea, is not actually full of seawater. If your kids are brave enough to jump in the cave pool, they’ll swim in a cool freshwater pool only 2m (7ft) deep at a maximum.
Location: 3km (1.8 miles) south of Neiafu, clearly signposted around the village of Toula.
5. Get Some Kayak Time in!
A safe way for the whole family to get on the water in Vava’u’s sheltered waters is by kayak! The complimentary use of kayaks is a standard for any of the waterfront accommodation in Vava’u where parents can double up with younger ones to explore the shore and look at the marine life below! Check out the 10 Best Family Accommodation in Vava’u to see which family accommodation offers the use of kayaks.
6. Do Some Snorkelling from Your Resort
Another highlight of staying at a waterfront resort is snorkelling. Vava’u’s waters are teeming with fish all across the archipelago but’s it’s definitely worth heading to some of the outer island resorts if you want to get some serious snorkelling in. Otherwise, the Tongan Beach Resort offers some of the best snorkelling accessible from the mainland – look out for their resident turtle! Some resorts require you to go out by kayak to some of the best coral bommies and reefs. Make sure one person is on the kayak at all times keeping everyone safe.
7. Build Sandcastles on the Beach
While some resorts grace beautiful sandy beaches in Vava’u – check them out in the 10 Best Resorts in Vava’u, those not staying at the beach can find some gorgeous beaches around Pangaimotu Island connected to the main island by a causeway. A great couple of spots are ‘Ano and Hinakauea Beaches at the southern end of the island. They offer quiet beaches with sheltered water for swimming, decent snorkelling and backed by beautiful vegetation. The Floating Ark Gallery is also in the area for a unique art gallery on a boat.
Location: South of Pangaimotu Island near Hinakauea Village
8. Enjoy a Family Sailing Trip
Discover why sailing is so popular in Vava’u by treating the family to a yacht charter for the day (or a few days)! The Moorings is located by the Mango Cafe in Neiafu, offering chartered catamarans. South Pacific Sea Adventures, formerly Melinda Sea Adventures, offers fully-crewed day and three-day charters including whale watching, snorkelling and exploring the islands. Or join Tropical Yacht Holidays for all-inclusive day and multi-day charters (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor). Find out more in The Best Sailing Tours of Vava’u.
9. Do a Land Tour of Vava’u Island
There’s almost as much to explore on land as there is in the water in Vava’u. The islands are home to some astonishing lookouts, dense tropical forests and plantations. What’s more, some of the best spots are only accessible via 4WD. That’s why tour operators like Explore Vava’u offer tours in 4WD buggies with self-driving options, with passenger seats for the kids. Alternatively, Salesi Paea from the Port of Refuge Villas offers affordable island tours, stopping at a beach for a swim and a snorkel. See more options in The Best Guided Tours of Vava’u.
10. Visit a Local School and Donate Supplies
Finally, a rewarding experience for the whole family is having the opportunity to donate school supplies to one of the local schools. Accommodations like Mystic Sands and Lucky’s Beach House, work with local schools and guests to arrange visits and encourage donations to schools that are always in need of pencils, crayons, paper and reading materials. It’s a good cultural insight for your kids to see what a Tongan school is like.