8 Best Island Day Trips & Tours from Nuku'alofa© TongaPocketGuide.com
8 Best Island Day Trips & Tours from Nuku'alofa

9 Best Island Day Trips & Tours from Nuku’alofa 🏝️ [2024]

© TongaPocketGuide.com

Tongatapu and Outer Island Tours from Nuku’alofa

Explore the island of Tongatapu or discover its idyllic off-shore islands with one of the island day trips and tours from Nuku’alofa. A six-hour excursion can take you to see all of the main hotspots around Tongatapu or you can jump on a boat from Faua Wharf to one of the nearby islands to spend the day however you like. The great thing is that most of these tours operate on a Sunday when the rest of the country closes down – see more of the 10 Things to Do in Tonga on a Sunday. So, see the sights and explore the gorgeous islands around Tongatapu by taking one of these island tours from Nuku’alofa.

1. Pangaimotu Island Day Trip

Catch the Pangaimotu Island boat from Faua Wharf for a day of sand, sea and (hopefully) sun! Also known as King’s Island, Pangaimotu Island is your quintessential tropical island where you can spend the day snorkelling at the reef, walking on the beach, and finding yourself a shady spot to relax under a coconut tree (watch your head)! Snorkelling gear is available to rent for a small fee. Bring your own lunch, water and any other supplies you may need. Boat transfers only operate when there are at least 10 people booked, so it’s best to book ahead for weekday visits. On Sundays, the boat departs from Faua Wharf at 11 am and 12 pm and returns at 4 pm and 5/6 pm.

Location: Boats depart from Faua Wharf, just behind the Ngutulei Restaurant and the fish market, Vuna Road (opposite Davina House), Ma’ufanga, Nuku’alofa.

10 Best Island Day Trips & Tours from Nuku'alofa© Pixabay

2. ‘Atata Island Snorkel Tour with Deep Blue Diving

Take a day trip to ‘Atata Island, primarily to snorkel but also to get a taste of the idyllic islands of Tonga. After a 15-20-minute boat trip from Deep Blue Diving‘s base at Faua Wharf, you’ll reach ‘Atata Island’s protected waters with some of the best snorkelling in Tongatapu. Snorkelling tours include all the gear that you’ll need for snorkelling, including snorkel, masks, fins and a wetsuit, as well as snacks and a homemade cooked lunch in reusable containers (a rarity in Tonga). Note that this tour is not available during the whale season. Learn more about the tour in The Best Snorkel & Scuba Dive Tours in Tongatapu & Nuku’alofa.

Location: Trips depart from their colourful dive shop at Faua Wharf, Vuna Road, Ma’ufanga, Nuku’alofa.

7 Best Island Day Trips from Nuku'alofa© TongaPocketGuide.com

3. Teta Tours & Travel Tongatapu Tours

Whether you’re looking for a short trip, a full-day escapade or even a culture and cave tour, Teta Tours & Travel does it all! Their “West Coast Island Scenic Tour” is a 2-hour driving tour of Tongatapu’s western highlights, including the Three-Headed Coconut Tree, Mapu‘a Vaea Blowholes, the Flying Foxes of Kolovai, the Abel Tasman Landing Site and Tsunami Rock. Alternatively, the “East Coast Historical Sites & ‘Anahulu Cave” starts in Nuku’alofa with the royal sights before heading to the Ha’amonga ‘a Maui Trilithon and taking the time to swim at ‘Anahulu Cave. The tour is approximately 3 hours.

Better yet, combine it all in the 4/5-hour “Full Island Tour“. Note that lunch is not included, but your guide will stop for you to buy some (bring cash). We highly recommend Teta Tours’ “Culture Tour“, as described in the 10 Best Culture Activities in Tonga.

Location: Pick-ups are available around Nuku’alofa and Tongatapu.

10 Best Island Day Trips & Tours from Nuku'alofa© TongaPocketGuide.com

4. Tour of Tongatapu with Raea’s Taxi & Tour Services

Meet Loa, your friendly Tongan tour guide who is passionate about his island and showing visitors Tongatapu’s breathtaking sights. Whether you’re a solo traveller, a couple or a group of up to six, Raea’s Taxi & Tour Services offers a range of rates and itineraries to suit. The more people on the tour, which can be shared with other sightseers, the cheaper it is!

A typical tour has you heading up west to the Abel Tasman Landing Site, then following the coast down to Ha’atafu Beach and Tsunami Rock. Be amazed by the ocean’s power at Mapu’a Vaea Blowholes and Hufangalupe Natural Land Bridge. Then, it’s time to head east to the Terraced Tombs, Fishing Pigs, Ha’amonga ‘a Maui Trilithon and finally, a dip in ‘Anahulu Cave. Tours include a drinking coconut, smiles and good times – you bring the rest. Tours last approximately 5/6 hours.

Location: Tours depart from the corner of Laifone Road and Tu’i Road (at the gate for the Royal Tombs), Nuku’alofa.

10 Best Island Day Trips & Tours from Nuku'alofa© Raea's Taxi & Tour Services

5. Tonga Holiday Villa Island Tour

Operating out of the popular guesthouse, Tonga Holiday Villa, Tonga Holiday Villa Island Tours provides an easy way to see the sights of Tongatapu. Half-day and full-day tours are available with a local guide taking you to see highlights, such as the Ha’amonga’a Maui Trilithon, Captain Cook’s Landing Place, ‘Anahulu Cave, Mapu’a ‘a Vaea Blowholes, as well as sights across Nuku’alofa if you choose, as their tours are fully customisable. The tour also includes bottled water, tropical fruits and refreshments throughout. They offer group rates, as well as rates for solo travellers.

Location: Departs from Tonga Holiday Villa, Popua, Nuku’alofa or pick-ups from Nuku’alofa are included.

7 Best Island Day Trips from Nuku’alofa(c) Tonga Holiday Villa Island Tour

6. Fully Customisable Tongatapu Tour with Tonga Travel Troupe

Enjoy an exclusive tour, especially for you and your group of up to four on the 6-hour “Private VIP Tour” with Tonga Travel Troupe. Hit the sights on a suggested itinerary, such as the Royal Palace and Tombs, the Abel Tasman Landing Site, Flying Foxes of Kolovai, Tsunami Rock, Mapu ‘a Vaea Blowholes, Three-Headed Coconut Tree, Hufangalupe Land Bridge, Captain Cook’s Landing Site, the Terrace Tombs, Ha’amonga ‘a Maui and the Fishing Pigs – whew! Otherwise, hit any other attractions you want to see spending as much time as you want at each on this bespoke tour. Lunch is included.

Location: Includes pick-up from Nuku’alofa.

7 Best Island Day Trips from Nuku’alofa(c) Tonga Travel Troupe

7. Toni’s Island Tour

Operating a selection of well-established guesthouses across Nuku’alofa, Toni and Leni from Toni’s Guesthouses also offer island tours! The Tongan/palangi duo have been operating their tourism business for more than a decade, showcasing the sights and sounds of Tongatapu with all of the usual 10 Best Sights & Natural Attractions on Tongatapu included on the tour. This is a full-day tour, lasting anywhere between five to seven hours depending on your group and what you want to do. This is another tour where the price is cheaper per person the more you tour with, so it’s ideal if you can get a group together. Otherwise, this tour is a popular option with cruise ship passengers, as showcased in the 10 Best Tonga Shore Excursions. However, you’ll need to bring your own lunch.

Location: Pick-ups are available in Nuku’alofa.

10 Best Island Day Trips & Tours from Nuku'alofa© TongaPocketGuide.com

8. Half and Full Island Tours with Hibiscus Tours

A travel agent operating out of the Tanoa International Dateline Hotel, Hibiscus Tours can arrange half- and full-island day tours around Tongatapu. They’ll hire a driver for you to see prearranged sites, but you’ll need to bring your own refreshments. The “Western Side Tour” is 2 hrs 30 mins and features the Abel Tasman Landing Site, Ha’afatu Beach, Three-Headed Coconut, Tsunami Rock and Blowholes. The “Eastern Side Tour” is 2-3 hours and hits Captain Cook’s Landing Site, Terraced Tombs, Ha’amonga ‘a Maui and ‘Anahulu Cave (pay your own entry fee). Finally, see it all on the “Full Island” tour. A minimum of two passengers is required for the “Eastern” and “Full Island” tours to go ahead. Note that these are shared tours.

Location: Tours depart from Tanoa International Dateline Hotel, Vuna Road, Nuku’alofa.

8 Best Island Day Trips & Tours from Nuku'alofa© TongaPocketGuide.com

9. Whale Swimming (and Island-Hopping) Tours

Finally, get out on the water for the day on one of the whale tours available from Faua Wharf in Nuku’alofa. During the whale season (July to October), there’s the opportunity to go on a boat trip in search of humpback whales to snorkel with them. Part of the itinerary is stopping on a small island, usually Tau Island or Malinoa Island, for snorkelling at coral bommies and for lunch. Check out the whale tours in our 5 Best Whale Tours from Nuku’alofa.

Location: Tours depart from Faua Wharf, Vuna Road, Ma’ufanga, Nuku’alofa.

10 Best Island Day Trips & Tours from Nuku'alofa© TongaPocketGuide.com

More About Island Day Trips and Tours from Nuku’alofa

That’s it for our list of the best island day trips and tours from Nuku’alofa. For more sightseeing tours, take a look at the following:

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in The Complete Guide to Nuku’alofa.


Laura (Lola) S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of Tonga Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as Tonga. She knows the islands inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Tonga’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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