Escape the Crowd: Guide to the Lesser Travelled Islands of Tonga(c)
Escape the Crowd: Guide to the Lesser Travelled Islands of Tonga

Escape the Crowd: Guide to the Lesser Travelled Islands of Tonga


Explore Another Side of Tonga

It’s not even up for debate that the entire country of Tonga is a less travelled destination of the South Pacific. However, there are still island groups much more visited than others – Tongatapu and Vava’u, we mean you! If you’re looking to get off the beaten track in Tonga and see a part of the South Pacific’s only kingdom that not as many visitors get to see then visit one of the alternative islands, such as Ha’apai, ‘Eua or even the extremely remote islands of The Niuas. We go through these less-travelled islands of Tonga in the guide below.

Stats About Tonga’s Lesser Visited Islands


Islands: 62
Population: 6,600
Distance from Tongatapu: 180km (111 miles)
Tourist accommodation: 16


Islands: 1
Population: 5,000
Distance from Tongatapu: 41km (25 miles)
Tourist accommodation: 6

The Niuas

Islands: 3
Population: 1,600
Distance from Tongatapu: 600km (373 miles)
Tourist accommodation: 1

Escape the Crowd: Guide to the Lesser Travelled Islands of Tonga(c) Tonga Ministry of Tourism


Ha’apai is a group of 62 islands, which sits between Tongatapu and Vava’u. Only 17 of the islands are inhabited, where much of the accommodation here is either humble guest houses or resorts with just a few fales on the beach. Combine this with the sweeping sandy shores, turquoise lagoons and swaying coconut palms and it’s a place that provides a Robinson Crusoe-like experience. In fact, visitors can even choose to get marooned on a deserted island, Luahoko, for several days.

Things to Do in Ha’apai

  • Whale swimming
  • Snorkelling
  • Scuba diving
  • Kitesurfing
  • Kayaking
  • Stand-up paddleboarding
  • Horse riding
  • Historical sightseeing
  • Village tours
  • Tongan handicraft lessons
  • Yoga
  • Massage

Check out the 10 Things to Do in Ha’apai and the 10 Must-Dos in Ha’apai for more details on the awesome activities you can do here.

Accommodation in Ha’apai

  • Sandy Beach Resort
  • Serenity Beaches Resort
  • Matafonua Lodge
  • Sea Change Eco Retreat
  • Ha’apai Beach Resort
  • The Lolofutu Beach Barn
  • Whale Discoveries Live-Aboard
  • Fanifo Lofa Kitesurf Tonga
  • Taiana’s Resort
  • Fifita Guesthouse
  • Lindsay Guesthouse
  • Evaloni Guesthouse
  • Fonongava’inga (Langi Langi) Guesthouse
  • Captain Cook Hideaway
  • Billy’s Place
  • Tiulipe Guest House

For more details on our top picks, see the 10 Best Resorts in Ha’apai and the 5 Best Guest Houses in Ha’apai.

Escape the Crowd: Guide to the Lesser Travelled Islands of Tonga(c) Tonga Ministry of Tourism


‘Eua might be only 40km (25 miles) away from Tonga’s bustling Tongatapu island, but it is a world of its own. It’s Tonga’s third-largest island and the oldest island in The Kingdom, home to the ‘Eua National Park and an array of rugged and weathered coastal attractions. It’s certainly a place for the more active explorer, with the main activities including hiking, 4WD tours, horse riding, scuba diving, whale swimming and more. ‘Eua is also one of the most affordable destinations in Tonga, not only for the reasonable travel expenses to get there but because all of the accommodation here is for budget travellers.

Things to Do in ‘Eua

  • Hiking
  • Scuba diving
  • Whale swimming
  • 4WD tours
  • Handicraft lessons
  • Horse riding
  • Bird watching

For more details on these activities, head to the 10 Things to Do in ‘Eua and the 10 Must-Dos in ‘Eua.

Accommodation in ‘Eua

  • Seta Homestay
  • Ovava Tree Lodge
  • The Hideaway
  • Taina’s Place
  • Blue Water Retreat
  • ‘Alakoka Tahi Moana Guest House

Learn more about each accommodation in the 6 Best Resorts in ‘Eua.

Escape the Crowd: Guide to the Lesser Travelled Islands of Tonga(c) Eunice Pongipongi

The Niuas

Typically, only yachties and volunteer workers make their way to these remote islands in the northern reaches of Tonga. The Niuas consists of three islands, Niuatoputapu, Tafahi and Niuafo’ou, of which the latter is around 200km (125km) away from the others. The volcanic islands are often described as stuck in time, where villagers live off the ocean and reside in more traditional-style fales. There are no tourism operators here apart from one guest house on the largest of the islands, Niuatoputapu. What’s more, there is only one flight every two weeks to Niuatoputapu and fewer to Niuafo’ou, so you need to be prepared to be “stranded” on these remote Pacific Islands.

Things to Do in The Niuas

  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Snorkelling
  • Village visits
  • Bird watching

For more details on how to do each activity, check out the 10 Things to Do in The Niuas and the 10 Must-Dos in The Niuas.

Accommodation in The Niuas

  • Vea Guesthouse

Learn more about The Niuas in The Complete Guide to The Niuas.


Laura 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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