Bike Trails and Places to Ride on Tongatapu
Tongatapu might be Tonga’s largest island, but it’s still small enough to enjoy some amazing day rides. The island is flat with well-formed sealed roads, ideal for cycling. Hire a bike in Nuku’alofa and enjoy one of the cycling routes in Tongatapu that we share below. There are routes ranging from leisurely rides along the capital’s waterfront to full-day missions across the island featuring some of the country’s top attractions.
Bicycle Hire in Nuku’alofa and Tongatapu
Where can you hire a bicycle in Nuku’alofa and Tongatapu? Currently, there is only one company offering bicycle hire in Tongatapu. ANT Bicycles offers a selection of quality mountain bikes complete with helmets and high-visibility vests. They are easy to find at 26 Railway Road right in the heart of Nuku’alofa.
For more about ANT Bicycles and the possibility of more bicycle rentals when they become available, take a look at Where to Rent Bicycles in Tonga.
Vuna Road, Nuku’alofa
Distance: 9 km (5.6 mi) one way.
Average cycling time: 45 mins (without stopping) one way.
Where: Waterfront of Nuku’alofa.
Highlights: Little Italy Restaurant, Royal Palace, Vuna Wharf, Tonga Tourist Information Centre, St Mary’s Cathedral, Waterfront Cafe, Billfish Bar, Nauti Ruby’s Bar, Faua Wharf, Tu’imatamoana Fish Market, Tui Mata Moana Market, Popua Park and Ancient Tonga.
If you’re hiring a bicycle in Nuku’alofa, a great ride is along the waterfront of the capital. The ride captures views of the Pacific Ocean as you ride past churches, various bars, restaurants and parks.
For the sake of description ease, start at the west end of Vuna Road. You’ll cycle alongside the grassy verges on the waterfront, passing popular eateries like Seaview and Little Italy.
A little further west down Vuna Road, you’ll come across the Victorian architecture of the Royal Palace, making a great photo opportunity. Vuna Road briefly takes you through the centre of town, before bringing you back to the waterfront.
It’s worth stopping by the Visitor Information Centre to look at the tropical plants in the gardens and look at some of the tourism offerings. Then it’s back onto Vuna Road, passing hotels and churches, such as St. Mary’s Cathedral, before reaching Faua Wharf. Here, you’ll be able to watch boats coming and going, as well as browse the Tu’imatamoana Fish Market and Tui Mata Moana Market. Have a drink or lunch at one of the restaurants here, such as the Waterfront Cafe, Billfish Bar or Nauti Ruby’s then continue east.
The next highlight is Popua Park, an attractive park with sports equipment, a volleyball court, picnic areas and gardens. You can turn down Tamakautonga Road to catch a cultural tour at Ancient Tonga (bookings advised) or cycle all the way to the eastern end of Vuna Road if you want to get views of Nukunukumotu Island.
Nuku’alofa to Mapu ‘a Vaea Blowholes
Length: 15 km (9.3 mi) one way.
Average cycling time: 1 hr 15 mins (without stopping) one way.
Where: Centre of Nuku’alofa to the Mapu ‘a Vaea Blowholes on the western side of Tongatapu.
Highlights: Royal Tombs, Royal Residences, Nuku’alofa Tonga Temple, Three-Headed Coconut and Mapu a’ Vaea Blowholes.
The Mapu ‘a Vaea Blowholes is an excellent day ride out of Nuku’alofa with plenty to see along the way. Starting in the centre of town, check out the Royal Tombs before following Taufa’ahau Road south.
As you reach the outskirts of Nuku’alofa, you’ll see the Royal Residences perched on a manicured hill. After you reach the Costlow Supermarket, where you can pick up a Philly cheese steak from their takeaway, take the first right (west) following the road until you reach Loto Road.
At Loto Road, turn right (west) where you’ll ride to the village of Liahona. As you ride through the village, you’ll see the grand building of the Latter-Day Saints Temple, the Nuku’alofa Tonga Temple. On the other side of the village, you’ll see signs for the Three-Headed Coconut! Take a photo of the bizarre coconut tree with three heads, before turning left (south) straight after it.
You’ll cycle past various tropical plantations on your way to the village of Houma. Once you reach Liku Road, head straight across the road and follow signs for the Mapu ‘a Vaea Blowholes. You’ve made it! Now enjoy the blowhole show!
Nuku’alofa to Ha’amonga ‘a Maui
Length: 35 km (21.7 mi) one way.
Average cycling time: 2 hrs 55 mins (without stopping) one way.
Where: Centre of Nuku’alofa to Niuatoua, a village on the eastern side of Tongatapu.
Highlights: Royal Tombs, Royal Residences, Captain Cook Landing Place, Fishing Pigs, Mu’a Langi Tombs, Paepae ‘o Telea’a Royal Terrace Tombs and Ha’amonga ‘a Maui Trilithon.
For those of you feeling fit and looking for a longer cycling adventure on Tongatapu, a good route is following Taufa’ahau Road. The 35 km (21.7 mi) road runs between Nuku’alofa town centre and the village of Niuatoua where the famous Ha’amonga ‘a Maui Trilithon is located.
Starting in Nuku’alofa town centre, check out the Royal Tombs and fuel up with a bite to eat at one of the cafes in Nuku’alofa before following Taufa’ahau Road south. On the way out of Nuku’alofa, you’ll spot the Royal Residences on a hilltop.
In the village of Pea, continue on Taufa’ahau Road east where you’ll travel through various coastal villages. Just before you reach Mu’a, stop by the Captain Cook Landing Site for a dose of history written on a plaque and good views of the lagoon. Mu’a is worth spending extra time in, famous for its fishing pigs! Look out for the pigs with their heads in the water just off the coast. You’ll also see a few historical sites signposted off the road, including the Mu’a Langi Tombs and Paepae ‘o Telea’a Terraced Tombs.
Continue following Taufa’ahau Road north where you’ll pass through numerous coastal villages, observing a slice of life in Tonga. Finally, you’ll reach the Ha’amonga ‘a Maui Trilithon, also known as the Stonehenge of the South Pacific, just outside the village of Niutoua. There are convenience stores and roadside fruit stalls should you need a snack for the way back to Nuku’alofa.
More About Cycling Routes in Tongatapu and Tonga
That’s it for our guide to the best cycling routes and bike trails in Tongatapu and Nuku’alofa. For more tips about exploring Tonga by bike, take a look a the following:
- Can You Do Mountain Biking in Tonga?
- 10 Tips for Cycling in Tonga
- Tonga Transport Guide: 10 Ways to Get Around Tonga
Finally, if there’s anything that we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in The Guide to Cycling in Tonga.