Where to Find Beaches on Tongatapu
Sure, Tongatapu is not where you’ll find the best beaches in Tonga (you’ll need to go to Ha’apai for that), but the ones that you will discover are far from disappointing. Tongatapu’s coastline is dotted with an array of beaches, from popular surf spots on the northeastern arm of the island to beaches with hidden limestone caves on the western side. Along the south coast, you’ll find a few quaint beaches and coves with their own set of reefs and blowholes breaking the waves before spilling into the lagoons. Check out some of the best beaches on Tongatapu in this guide.
Note that most of the roads to the beaches are not signposted, so it’s best to use a map and ask the locals for directions.
Tongatapu Islands with Amazing Beaches
Before we delve into the list of beaches found on the mainland of Tongatapu, know that some of the best beaches in the island group can be found on the off-shore islands. These islands are available on resort day trips (see 7 Best Island Day Trips from Nuku’alofa), while the uninhabited islands are accessible with snorkelling tours, whale swimming tours and island-hopping tours.
Outer Islands with the Best Beaches
- Malinoa Island
- Tau Island
- Fafa Island (Fafa Island Resort)
- Velitoa Island
- Pangaimotu Island (Pangaimotu Island Resort)
- ‘Atata Island (Royal Sunset Island Resort)
Learn more about the beach and island resorts in the 10 Best Resorts on Tongatapu.
West Coast Beaches
On the western arm of Tongatapu lies some of the best beaches on the main island, including surf beaches, as well as beaches ideal for snorkelling and kayaking. This is also where you will find the majority of the beach resorts on Tongatapu. Find the beaches west of Ha’atafu, Kanokupolu and Kolovai.
One of the most popular beaches on Tongatapu, Ha’atafu Beach is a clean and sandy beach with a surrounding reef. Enjoy safe swimming and snorkelling at high tide within the beach’s lagoon, while the beach is also popular for surfing the reef breaks (for experienced surfers only).
This white sandy beach fronts the Vakaloa Beach Resort and Blue Banana Studios, where it’s possible to enjoy long walks and look out for breaching whales between July and October.
Fronting the Liku’alofa Resort, ‘Otuhaka Beach is a good beach for sunbathing, long walks, as well as kayaking or snorkelling (at high tide) at the fringing reef.
A smaller and less-visited beach on the west side of Tongatapu, Kolovai Beach is one of the more attractive beaches on this side.
A small beach dotted with palms and flanked by rocky coast, ‘Utukehe Beach is work a quick visit. It’s also the location for the White Sands Beach Resort.
Finally, Monotapu Beach boasts soft white sands backed by rocky outcrops and vegetation. With no resort here, you can be sure to enjoy this gem all to yourself.
South Coast Beaches
Arguably, some of Tongatapu’s most photogenic beaches lie on the south coast. Many of the beaches on the south coast are protected by rocky reefs. Don’t swim beyond the reefs, stay within the lagoons. Find the beaches south of Veitongo.
A popular beach for swimming at high tide, Veitongo Beach has a protective reef for good swimming in the lagoon. Otherwise, the beach has some good spots for reef walking.
A true hidden gem, Keleti Beach can be accessed via a pathway through the Keleti Beach Resort. You’ll find a couple of sandy bays with golden sand, rocky coastline to scramble over and surrounding reefs. Take note of the signs showing you where it is safe to swim.
A little further down the road from Keleti Beach is Halafuoleva Beach, which is another picturesque spot for sunbathing and swimming within a lagoon.
Located near the Hufangalupe Cliffs Lookout, a faint trail to a lookout of Hufangalupe Beach and another one down to the beach can be found along the rough dirt road to the Hufangalupe Cliffs and Landbridge. The beach is an amazing photo op!
East Coast Beaches
More beaches can be found on Tongatapu’s eastern side, which sees some of the best beaches for sunrises. What’s more, attractions like the ‘Anahulu Cave and Hina Cave can be found at the beaches on this coastline.
A pretty white sand beach with a lagoon, turquoise waters and sheltering reef with blowholes.
This small beach can be found on the road between Haveliku and Niutoua. The beach is accessible by dirt road and is backed by attractive vegetation.
A little further south from Finehika Beach is Ha’amalo Beach, which is a string of coves connected by rocky shores. Take your reef shoes and go exploring.
A sandy beach beside the must-see ‘Anahulu Cave. Entry to this beach is included with entry to the caves. Take a picnic.
A quaint and quiet beach between ‘Anahulu and Ohlei beaches, Laulea Beach, is an attractive beach that is popular with the locals. Be careful if you choose to swim here, as the currents are strong.
Lavengatonga Beach is home to the ‘Oholei Beach Resort, famous for its fire shows and buffet within Hina Cave. You can see cliffs and caves here.
‘Oholei Beach is another beach just south of Lavengatonga Beach and the ‘Oholei Beach Resort.
Fefe Ho Loto Beach
An easily accessible beach located south of Fua’amotu village and the international airport. The beach is a popular swimming beach and means “Listen to your heart” when translated from Tongan.
‘Ahononou Beach is just a five-minute walk from Liku Road, just a little further east along the coast from ‘Ahononou Beach. It’s a good alternative if the other beach is busy.
While not exactly home to a beach, take a drive along the coastline of this eastern village to see the famous “fishing pigs”.
For more information on our top picks, see the 10 Best Beaches on Tongatapu.