Tonga’s Natural Playgrounds
Tonga is a stunning array of 170 islands in the vast southern Pacific Ocean with something natural to admire on all of the islands, especially considering only 36 of the islands are inhabited. So, yes, this list of islands for nature could be 170 points long but we’ve selected only the very best (in our opinion) for natural attractions, natural beauty, wildlife and that are easy enough for you to visit.
For the nature-lover, the island of ‘Eua is an obvious go-to. It’s Tonga’s oldest island at an estimated 40 million years old. The island is home to Tonga’s largest tracts of remaining rainforest in the ‘Eua National Park, where you can explore on foot or on 4WD tours, checking out amazing lookouts over the park, hiking to remote beaches and looking out for the red shining parrot. Learn more about the natural attractions to discover on the island in the 8 Amazing Natural Attractions in ‘Eua.
2. Mala Island
A small island in the Vava’u group, Mala Island is uninhabited except for a boutique island resort where guests can escape from the hustle and bustle. The island is particularly good for nature, not only for its attractive beaches and forest but for its proximity to amazing natural attractions, such as the Japanese Coral Gardens and Swallows Cave. Learn more about these natural sights and others in the 10 Amazing Natural Attractions in Vava’u.
3. Uoleva Island
So many of Ha’apai’s 62 islands could be on this list for their amazing nature, beaches, lagoons, coral reefs and volcanic features. However, if you’re looking for an island paradise that isn’t too much of a mission to get to, then Uoleva Island is the one. The island is only inhabited with a small selection of resorts and fales on the beaches. Otherwise, the rest of the island is all forest and sandy shores. Lining the island are some fantastic snorkelling spots, while it’s also possible to watch whales from shore during the whale season. Check out more things to see in Ha’apai in the 6 Amazing Natural Attractions in Ha’apai.
4. Maninita Island
A bird sanctuary in the Vava’u islands, Maninita Island acts as important nesting grounds for around 19 species of birds. It’s even a place to spot the endemic Tongan whistler. Bird watching tours to the island are available from Mounu Island Resort and the Mandala Island Resort. Find out more about Tonga’s birds and where to see them in the 5 Best Places for Bird Watching in Tonga.
5. Luahoko Island
A unique way to experience an island of nature is on Luahoko Island in the Ha’apai group. Luahoko Island is the destination of a private island experience, designed for couples who want to be marooned on a small island that is deserted apart from nesting seabirds among the coconut palms. You’ll have your own private fale on the beach and be surrounded by azure waters to snorkel with the fish. This experience is available through the Sandy Beach Resort.