Plan Your Adventure in Tonga
Visiting a remote set of islands in the South Pacific is an adventure in itself. However, Tonga just so happens to be the ideal destination for the adventure traveller! From diving into underwater caves, hiking in the tropical forest and even swimming with freaking whales: it can all be done in the islands of Tonga. So start planning your adventure with this adventure guide to Tonga!
Off-the-Beaten-Track Places to Explore
Before we dive into Tonga’s most adventurous activities, let’s take a look at some of the least-explored islands in Tonga for when having a “sense of adventure” is simply discovering hidden gems!
- Luahoko, Ha’apai
- Eueiki, Vava’u
- Niuatoputapu, The Niuas
- ‘Eua, Tongatapu
- Ha’ano, Ha’apai
- Niuafo’ou, The Niuas
For elaboration and more suggestions for less-visited places, check out the 10 Places that are Off the Beaten Track in Tonga.
Snorkelling and Scuba Diving
Most of Tonga is made up of the tropical waters of the Pacific Ocean. Needless to say, most of the action is in or on the water, which you can experience through snorkelling and scuba diving.
While snorkelling tours are available to explore the healthy coral reefs and scuba diving tours can take you to underwater caves and all sorts of coral and volcanic formations, one of the most outstanding experiences with a mask and snorkel is swimming with humpback whales.
Each year, whales migrate from Antarctica to Tonga in order to mate and calve. Tonga is one of very few countries in the world where you can legally snorkel with these gentle giants.
As there is so much to unpack when it comes to snorkelling, scuba diving and whale swimming in Tonga, it’s best to check out our guides on the subjects to follow your interests:
Tonga is often described as the hidden gem of game fishing in the South Pacific. It’s renowned for its blue marlin fisheries, but all of the Pacific’s pelagic fish can be caught in Tonga’s waters, making for some exciting experiences on fishing charters.
Fishing charters in Tongatapu, Vava’u and Ha’apai are kitted up with quality equipment to help you reel in mahimahi, wahoo, tuna, marlin, giant trevally and much much more. There are even specialised spearfishing holidays available, should you want to kick the adrenaline up a notch.
Learn more about Tonga’s fishing scene in The Complete Guide to Fishing in Tonga.
Surfing and Kitesurfing
Waves barrel along the reefs while tradewinds drift across some of the islands’ butter-flat lagoons make Tonga an incredible destination for both surfing and kitesurfing.
The northwestern tip of Tongatapu is famous for its surf breaks, just a 100m (328ft) paddle from shore, while more adventurous wave-seekers can take boats out to remote surf breaks across the reefs of Vava’u.
As for kitesurfing, the sheltered islands of Ha’apai is the top spot for harnessing the elements across the mostly calm waters. Vava’u also has several good lagoons to blast over in the winter season.
For more on surfing and kitesurfing, get stuck into the following guides:
Kayaking and Stand-Up Paddleboarding
“Soft adventures”, like kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, are also available in Tonga. They are great ways to explore the coast and glide over shallow reefs in a rewarding way, using nothing but the power of your paddle.
Kayaks are available to hire at many waterfront accommodations in Tonga, but there are a few guided adventures to take your experience up a notch. From full-day kayaking missions across the lagoons and to the outer islands in Tongatapu to multi-day holidays kayaking around the uninhabited islands in Ha’apai and Vava’u, there are some pretty epic paddle experiences available.
Paddle-boarding is a little less popular in Tonga, but there is a good scene for it in the islands of Ha’apai. Some of the resorts there offer guided sunset tours, paddleboarding safaris, as well as fitness classes and yoga.
Learn more about each adventure sports in the following guides:
Hiking, Mountain Biking and 4WD Tours
Ok, we’ve said enough about the water, but what about land adventures? Tonga’s island interiors can be explored in exciting ways, from hiking to mountain biking to 4WD tours.
Hiking is one of the best ways to explore the island of ‘Eua, one of Tonga’s oldest island and home to the protected tropical forest in the ‘Eua National Park.
Mountain biking technically isn’t “mountain biking” in Tonga due to the lack of mountains, but there are some exciting dirt trails to follow to explore the northern coast of ‘Utu Vava’u (the main island of Vava’u), or simply enjoy riding the roads of Lifuka (Ha’apai) and Tongatapu to ride from sight to sight.
For seeing a whole bunch of attractions in a short time, there are a few 4WD tours in ‘Eua to take you to some of the island’s hard-to-reach attractions. In Vava’u, there is even a self-drive UTV and quad bike tour to explore its mainland.
Learn more about all of those activities in: