Ferry and Flight Times in Tonga
You can’t come to an archipelago of 169 islands and not do some island-hopping! Tonga’s five island groups have their own culture, landscapes and attractions, each feeling like their own unique country. But how long does it take to travel around Tonga? We go over the travel times between the island groups in Tonga in this guide!
Before we jump into our guide on how long it takes to travel around Tonga, be sure to bookmark our Tonga Transport Guide: 10 Ways to Get Around Tonga for even more transport tips.
How to Get Around Tonga
Unless you have your own sailing yacht or are on a cruise, there are two ways to get between the island groups of Tonga: ferries and flights.
Ferries in Tonga
The inter-island ferries are the cheapest way to get between island groups. There are multiple types of ferries, from fast catamarans which make the duration of travel shorter and ferry fares more expensive to slow cargo ships or barge ferries for slower trips at cheaper fares. Learn about taking the ferries in The Guide to Travelling in Tonga by Ferry.
Flights in Tonga
Domestic flights are a faster way of getting between the island groups of Tonga. There is one domestic carrier in Tonga. They operate daily flights except on Sundays. Find out more about the airline and flying in Tonga in The Guide to Flights in Tonga.
Flight and Ferry Times to Tongatapu
Tonga’s southern island group, Tongatapu is home to Tonga’s largest island and the nation’s capital, Nuku’alofa. Domestic flights arrive/depart from the domestic terminal of Fua’amotu International Airport. Ferries arrive/depart from Queen Salote Wharf on the waterfront of Nuku’alofa. Learn more about transport in Tongatapu here.
Travel Times to Tongatapu from:
- Vava’u: 45 minutes to 1 hour flight/16 to 23 hours ferry
- Ha’apai: 50 minutes flight/8 to 12 hours ferry
- ‘Eua: 10 minutes flight/1 hour to 2h30mins ferry
Flight and Ferry Times to ‘Eua
Tonga’s second-largest and oldest island is located 45km (29 miles) southeast of Tongatapu. It is only directly accessible from Tongatapu by flight or ferry. Coming from elsewhere in Tonga and you’ll need to make connections at Fua’amotu Airport or Queen Salote Wharf. The airport in ‘Eua is Kaufana Airport and the ferry terminal is at Nafauna Wharf in ‘Ohonua. Learn more about transport in ‘Eua here.
Travel Times to ‘Eua from:
- Tongatapu: 10 minutes flight/1 hour to 2h30mins ferry
Flight and Ferry Times to Ha’apai
Ha’apai is Tonga’s central island group made up of 62 islands – 45 of which are uninhabited. The main island of the group is Lifuka, home to the Salote Pilolevu Airport which receives direct flights from Tongatapu daily (except Sundays) and from Vava’u once a week. The main wharf is Taufa’ahau Wharf in Pangai. Find out more about the transport in Ha’apai here.
Travel Times to Ha’apai from:
- Tongatapu: 50 minutes flight/8 to 12 hours ferry
- Vava’u: 7 to 11 hours ferry
Flight and Ferry Times to Vava’u
Vava’u is Tonga’s second-most developed island group made up of 50 islands. The largest island is connected to some others by causeways. Its ferry terminal is located at Halaevalu Wharf in the hub of the islands, Neiafu, while the Lupepauʻu Airport is a 15-minute drive away. Flights and ferries to/from Vava’u go to Ha’apai, Tongatapu and The Niuas. See more about transport in Vava’u here.
Travel Times to Vava’u from:
- Vava’u – Tongatapu: 45 minutes to 1 hour flight/16 to 23 hours ferry
- Vava’u – Ha’apai: 7 to 11 hours ferry
- Vava’u – Niuatoputapu: 1h10mins flight/16 to 19 hours ferry
- Vava’u – Niuafo’ou: 1h30mins flight/24 to 42 hours ferry
Flight and Ferry Times to The Niuas
The Niuas is Tonga’s most remote island group located in the far northern reaches of the country. The closest island group is Vava’u. To get there, flights depart from Vava’u once or twice a month, while ferries depart about once a month. Learn more about transport in The Niuas here.
Travel Times to Niuatoputapu from:
- Vava’u: 1h10mins flight/16 to 19 hours ferry
Travel Times to Niuafo’ou from:
- Niuatoputapu: 12 hours ferry
- Vava’u: 1h30mins flight/24 to 42 hours ferry