Stunning Natural Sights in Ha’apai
Ha’apai are the islands of nature in Tonga. Most of the islands in this central island group are uninhabited and unspoiled, making for a real Robinson Crusoe vibe. This list of natural attractions in Ha’apai should be endless, as the beaches, coral reefs, lagoons and islands all have something amazing to discover – that’s why actually naming natural attractions is almost unnecessary here. Nevertheless, if you need some places to start your adventure off in the Ha’apai group, take a look at the list below…
For more natural attractions across the country, check out the 10 Best Natural Attractions in Tonga.
1. Houmale’eia Beach
Ha’apai has so many stunning beaches that it would be quite the mission to name them all here. However, Houmale’eia Beach is well worth mentioning as it’s easy to get to and has excellent snorkelling. Located at the northern tip of Foa Island, an island connected to Ha’apai’s main island, Lifuka, Houmale’eia Beach has a 400m (1,300ft) reef a short swim from its shores which is an established marine reserve. The beach is even backed by a couple of resorts, should you want to stay there or at least pop in for a bite to eat at their restaurants. This beach also features on our 10 Stunning Beaches in Tonga.
Location: Foa Island, at the northern end of the main road
2. Hulu’ i Paongo Point
And at the southern tip of Lifuka, you’ll find amazing views where the road ends at Hulu’ i Paongo Point. Admire the scenery of a sweeping white sand beach, as well as across the channel to Uoleva Island. Just before you reach Hulu’ i Paongo Point, there is also the Hulu’ i Paongo Tomb, a burial site of a long line of chiefs.
Location: Lifuka Island, at the very southern end of the main road
3. Hot Spring Cave
Those who are certified divers can check out this unusual natural attraction underwater! Hot Spring Cave is a sea cave with a hydrothermal vent blasting hot water into a cave camber to mix with cool water. It will certainly be the warmest dive you’ll record in your logbook! Check out more interesting dives in the 5 Best Dive Sites in Ha’apai.
Location: Ofalanga Island
4. The Whales
Arguably one of the most famous natural attractions in Ha’apai is the humpback whales that frequent Ha’apai’s tropical waters between mid-July to mid-October. They take an amazing journey from Antarctica to get here, where they mate, calve and swim with humans! Yes, you can join one of the specialised whale swimming tours in Ha’apai to snorkel with these gentle giants. Learn more in The Guide to Whale Swimming in Tonga.
Location: All over Ha’apai
5. Tofua Volcano
Ha’apai is made up of around 60 islands, most of which are uninhabited and make for an interesting excursion for boat tours. Admittedly, there has been a recorded population of “two” on the volcanic island of Tofua, but it still makes for an interesting visit to this caldera of a steep-sided active volcano that is also a bird sanctuary.
Location: Tofua Island
6. Kao Island
Next to Tofua is the stratovolcano of Kao Island, which is also the highest point in Tonga at 1,030m (3,379ft). Take a boat trip out to the island to hike to Tonga’s highest peak and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding Pacific Ocean and Tofua Island.
Location: Kao Island