The Best Cycling Routes in Tongatapu
The Best Cycling Routes in Tongatapu

The Best Cycling Routes in Tongatapu

(c) Pixabay

Where to Ride a Bike in 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 or from your resort 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.

For more cycling routes around Tonga, see The Best Bike Rides in Tonga. Plus, find more cycling talk in The Guide to Cycling in Tonga.

Cycle Hire in Tongatapu

Where can you hire a bicycle in Tongatapu? The following accommodations and travel agents offer bicycle hire in Tongatapu.

  • TongaBike – Located at Seaview Lodge and Sit Solar Island Technology on Vuna Road, Nuku’alofa. They offer e-bike rentals.
  • Kingdom Travel Centre – Located at the corner of Vuna Road and Fatafehi Road, Nuku’alofa. They offer cruiser bike rentals.
  • NOA Guesthouse – Located on Wellington Road, Nuku’alofa. They offer standard bike rentals.
  • Liku’alofa Beach Resort – Located at ‘Otuhaka Beach, Kanokupolu. They offer mountain bike rentals.
  • Heilala Holiday Lodge – Located at Ha’atafu Beach, Kanokupolu. Free bike hire for guests.

For more places to hire bikes in Tonga, see Where to Rent Bicycles in Tonga.

Cycling Routes Tongatapu Google(c) Google

Vuna Road, Nuku’alofa

Length: 9km (5.6 miles) one-way
Where: Waterfront of Nuku’alofa
Highlights: Little Italy Restaurant, Vuna Restaurant & Bar, Royal Palace, Vina Wharf, Tonga Tourist Information Centre, churches, Waterfront Cafe, Billfish Bar, Nauti Ruby’s Bar, Faua Wharf, Tu’imatamoana Fish Market, Popua Park and Ancient Tonga.

If you’re hiring a bicycle in Nuku’alofa, a great ride is along the waterfront of Nuku’alofa. The ride captures views of the Pacific Ocean as you ride past churches, various bars, restaurants and parks.

With bike hire companies located along Vuna Road, your ride will start wherever you pick up your bike from, but for the sake of description ease, start at the west end of Vuna Road. You’ll cycle alongside the grassy verges on the waterfront before arriving at highlights like the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga. If it’s past 5pm, Little Italy will be open for pizza. Otherwise, get a drink at the Vuna Bar and Restaurant. Find out more in the 5 Best Bars in Nuku’alofa.

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 before reaching Faua Wharf. Here’s you’ll be able to watch boats coming and going, as well as browse the Tu’imatamoana Fish 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 (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) or cycle all the way to the eastern end of Vuna Road if you want to get views of Nukunukumotu Island.

Tongatapu Cycling Routes(c) Google

Nuku’alofa to Mapu ‘a Vaea Blowholes

Length: 15km (9.3 miles) one-way
Where: Centre of Nuku’alofa to the Mapu ‘a Vaea Blowholes on the western side of Tongatapu
Highlights: Royal Tombs, Royal Residences, The Bush BBQ Cafe, 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 lawn hill. After you reach the Costlow Supermarket, where you can pick up supplies for a picnic, 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. On the way in, you can grab a bite to eat at The Bush BBQ Cafe if it’s open. As you ride through the village, you’ll see the grand building of the Latter-Day Saints Temple, the Nuku’alofa Tonga Temple, before leaving the village. 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!

Bike Routes Tongatapu Google(c) Google

Nuku’alofa to Ha’amonga ‘a Maui

Length: 35km (21.7 miles) 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 35km (21.7-mile) road runs between Nuku’alofa town centre and the village of Niuatoua where the famous Ha’amonga ‘a Maui Trilithon is located.

Starting in the 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. One village to spend extra time in is Mu’a, famous for its fishing pigs! Look out for the pigs with their heads in the water just off the coast. However, 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. 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.


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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