How to Catch a Water Taxi in Tonga(c)
How to Catch a Water Taxi in Tonga

How to Catch a Water Taxi in Tonga


Are There Any Water Taxis in Tonga?

The short answer: no. Water taxis as you know them are not exactly available in Tonga. Short overwater travel between islands relies on island accommodations, which usually have their own boats to transport guests between their accommodation and typically the wharf or airport where they arrived on the island. Alternatively, resorts will work with boat tour companies to transfer guests to the island. For longer journeys between island groups, for instance between Tongatapu and Ha’apai, there are ferry services, which you can wise-up on in The Guide to Travelling in Tonga by Ferry.

In this guide to catching a water taxi in Tonga, we’ll go through your best options for getting around Tonga by boat in each island group (except ‘Eua which is one island with no transport to the limited surrounding islands).

Tips for Boat Transport in Tonga

  • Arrange a boat transfer with your island resort before arrival – most of the time, that’s the only way to get to the island
  • Scheduled boat transfers to the outer islands of Tongatapu operate daily from Faua Wharf, even on a Sunday
  • The get between the island groups, take a ferry!
  • Getting between Tongatapu and ‘Eua involves a choice of ferries, which you can learn more about in The Guide to Travelling in Tonga by Ferry
  • On Vava’u, you can arrange independent island transfers with Riki Tiki Tours

For more advice, see the 10 Tips for Travelling Tonga by Boat.

How to Catch a Water Taxi in Tonga(c)

Water Taxis in Tongatapu

Just about the only island group with scheduled boat transfers, Tongatapu has boats running between the main island and some of its outer islands with resorts. Boat transfers for day trips and guests staying on the island operate daily, even on Sundays, with scheduled transfers from Faua Wharf in Nuku’alofa.

Boat Transfers in Tongatapu

Faua Wharf to Pangaimotu Island
Departure from Faua Wharf: 10am Monday-Saturday and 10am, 12pm and 1pm on a Sunday
Departure from Pangaimotu: 4pm Monday-Saturday and 4pm, 5pm and 6pm on a Sunday
Cost: Around TOP$60 return (includes lunch)

Faua Wharf to Fafa Island
Departure from Faua Wharf: 11am and 5.30pm daily
Departure from Fafa Island: 4pm daily
Cost: Around TOP$35 oneway

Faua Wharf to ‘Atata Island (Royal Sunset)
Departure from Faua Wharf: 10am daily
Departure from ‘Atata Island: 3pm/4pm daily
Cost: Around TOP$100 return

Learn more about these islands in the 7 Best Island Day Trips from Nuku’alofa.

How to Catch a Water Taxi in Tonga(c)

Water Taxis in Ha’apai

Any boat transfer you will experience in the island group of Ha’apai will be with your chosen accommodation provider. Island transfers are available to pick up guests from the wharf or airport of Lifuka Island on an arrangement basis. You need to let your accommodation know your arrival times and departure times from connecting ferries and flights on Lifuka Island and they will organise the appropriate water and land transport for you.

Resorts, where boat transfers are required, include:

  • Serenity Beaches Resort
  • Sea Change Eco Retreat
  • Fanifo Lofa Kitesurf Tonga
  • Taiana’s Resort
  • Captain Cook Hideaway

While some boat transfers might be included in the resort rate, most transfers will cost around TOP$100-$140 per person return. Learn more about transport in Ha’apai in 5 Ways to Get to Ha’apai (& Around Ha’apai).

How to Catch a Water Taxi in Tonga(c)

Water Taxis in Vava’u

Resort transfers work similarly in Vava’u to how they do in Ha’apai, where island resorts arrange their own transfers to coincide with arrival and departure flights/ferries from Vava’u Island. If island resorts don’t have their own boat transport for any reason, they’ll work with boat tour operators in Vava’u to transfer you to the island. Alternatively, boat tour operators like Riki Tiki Tours offers island transfers.

Resorts, where boat transfers are required, include:

For more information on transport in Vava’u, see 10 Ways to Get to Vava’u (& Around Vava’u).

How to Catch a Water Taxi in Tonga(c) Tonga Ministry of Tourism

Water Taxis in The Niuas

Finally, yes, you can find some sort of boat transport in the far-flung islands of The Niuas. Tonga’s most remote and least developed islands are an adventure for the determined traveller. A popular boat journey is that between Niuatoputapu and Tafahi islands, where the crossing is made by fishermen almost daily. Negotiate with fishermen on Niuatoputapu to make the journey across.

For more transport tips for Niuatoputapu, Tafahi and Niuafo’ou, see 5 Ways to Get to The Niuas (& Get Around The Niuas).

More on How to Catch a Water Taxi in Tonga

That’s it for the guide on how to catch a water taxi in Tonga. For itineraries to inspire you on where to visit, take a look at the following compilations: The Best Tonga Itineraries for 2 WeeksThe Best Tonga Itineraries for 1 WeekThe Best Tonga Itineraries for 5 Days and The Best Tonga Itineraries for a Weekend.


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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