What You Need to Know About Biking in Tonga
Forget contributing CO2 emissions through car rental or being inside a tour van all day, experience a breath of fresh air and the ultimate freedom by cycling in Tonga! Cycle hire is relatively abundant on the main islands of Tonga where you can enjoy rides on (mostly) smooth, flat and quiet roads. Ride from natural wonders to historical attractions and get a slice of life by moving through remote villages at a more natural pace. We’ll guide you through the practicalities of incorporating cycling and mountain biking into your holiday with this complete guide to cycling in Tonga.
5 Tips for Cycling and Mountain Biking in Tonga
- Be aware of the local traffic laws – we outline the major ones in How to Drive in Tonga
- Wear long-cut shorts and T-shirts for reasons of cultural sensitivity when riding through villages. It is illegal to be shirtless in public even for guys
- Take more water and snacks than your usual cycling jaunts to stay replenished and hydrated in the tropical sun
- Don’t cycle in Tonga if you’re scared of dogs
- There are no bicycle tours in Tonga, so note that cycling as an activity has to be self-guided…
… For a complete list of tips and things you need to know about biking in Tonga, take a look at the 10 Essential Tips for Cycling in Tonga.
Where to Rent a Bike in Tonga
Bike rental is relatively abundant in Tonga, with bike hire available on three of the major island groups that tourists visit. Resorts and independent bike rental outlets hire out bikes, with options from standard pushbikes to full-suspension mountain bikes. Some of the outlets for bike rental in each island group include…
Bicycle Rental in Tonga
- ANT Bicycles, 26 Railway Road, Nuku’alofa, Tongatapu
- Cafe Tropicana, Fatafehi Road, Neiafu, Vava’u
- Port Wine Guest House, Neiafu, Vava’u (guests only)
- Ha’apai Beach Resort, Lifuka, Ha’apai (guests only)
- Matafonua Lodge, Foa, Ha’apai (guests only)
- Sandy Beach Resort, Foa, Ha’apai (guests only).
Learn more about each bike rental company and their locations in Where to Rent Bicycles in Tonga.
The Cost of Bike Rental in Tonga
Bike rental is offered by some accommodations free of charge. Where you have to pay for bike hires, expect to pay around TOP$30-$35 for a full-day rental of a pushbike or mountain bike.
Bringing Your Own Bike to Tonga
It is possible to bring your own bike with the airlines flying to Tonga. You will need to check your bike in as check-in luggage and pack your bike appropriately.
For checking in a bike on most flights to Tonga, pack the bike in a bike box or bike bag. Bike boxes are usually available to purchase at airports.
You don’t need to deflate the tyres but you do need to do the following:
- Remove the handlebars or turn them sideways
- Remove the pedals or turn them in
- Make sure the pressure of any nitrogen gas mountain bike struts is no more than 200 kPa (kilopascal) or 29 PSI (pounds per square inch)
- Make sure that any cartridges for inflating tyres are less than 50 ml (1.6 oz) and contain non-flammable gas.
Remember to seal the box and label it with your name and phone number. It’s a good idea to place accessories in a bag within the bike box/bag.
Learn more about the ins and outs of flying to Tonga in our guide, Getting Here: How to Get to Tonga?
Self-Guided Cycling Routes in Tonga
As there are no guided cycling tours in Tonga, your only option to cycle in Tonga is to go it alone on a self-guided tour! Luckily, we’ve put together a route description of some of our favourite rides in The Kingdom in The 5 Best Bike Trails in Tonga. Here’s a quick overview of each.
Nuku’alofa to Ha’amonga ‘a Maui
Length: 35 km (21.7 mi) one way.
Where: Centre of Nuku’alofa to Niuatoua, a village on the eastern side of Tongatapu.
Follow Taufa’ahau Road to highlights including the Royal Tombs, Royal Residences, Fishing Pigs, Mu’a Langi Tombs, Paepae ‘o Telea’a Royal Terrace Tombs, Captain Cook Landing Place and Ha’amonga ‘a Maui Trilithon. See the complete route description in The Best Cycling Routes in Tongatapu.
Tufuvai Beach to the Rock Gardens
Length: 14 km (8.7 mi) one way.
Where: Tufuvai Beach to the Rock Garden and Cliffs where attractions such as the Lakufa’anga Cliffs and Lianga Huo ‘a Maui Bridge are located.
Start from the compacted beachside road alongside Tufuvai Beach. Ride on the main road of the island south to Ha’aluma Beach, Rock Gardens, Lakufa’anga Cliffs and Lianga Huo ‘a Maui natural landbridge. Read the complete route description in The 5 Best Bike Trails in Tonga.
Pangai to Homale’eia Beach
Length: 14 km (9 mi) one way.
Island: Lifuka and Foa (Ha’apai).
Where: Pangai, the main town of Lifuka, to Homale’eia Beach at the northern tip of Foa Island.
Starting in the main town of Ha’apai, Pangai, follow the main road north to highlights such as the Shirley Baker Monument, Salote Pilolevu Airport runway, Port au Prince Monument, Homale’eia Beach and Matafonua Lodge. Get the complete route description in The 5 Best Bike Trails in Tonga.
Neiafu to ‘Utula’aina Lookout
Length: 10 km (6.2 mi) one way.
Island: ‘Utu Vava’u.
Where: Start from Neiafu riding north to the ‘Utula’aina Lookout.
Follow Tui Road north out of Neiafu, passing through remote villages heading to Holonga. From there, follow signs to the stunning ‘Utula’aina Lookout and ‘Esi ‘o Salote Lookout. Get the complete route description in The 5 Best Bike Trails in Tonga.
Are There Any Mountain Biking Trails in Tonga?
Tonga is establishing itself more and more as an adventure destination. You can do scuba diving, swim with humpback whales, hike in tropical rainforests, do 4WD tours, kitesurf, surf and so much more. But all you peddle heads are probably thinking: “Is mountain biking on the list?”
Well, with rarely any mountains apart from a few marine volcanoes, there’s not much scope for mountain biking in Tonga. Nevertheless, the quiet dirt roads of Vava’u with a few fun downhills (and not-so-fun uphills) are becoming a popular destination for more adventurous mountain biking in Tonga.
From Neiafu, a fun mountain bike day ride is to the northern coast of Vava’u to the ‘Utula’aina Lookout. The ride starts on smooth sealed roads, passing villages and plantations. You’ll then turn onto dirt and gravel roads through a mix of kava and taro plantations, as well as forest, passing historic tombs on your way to the amazing ‘Utula’aina Lookout. The ride from Neiafu is approximately 10 km (6 mi) one way. Find out route details in The 5 Best Bike Trails in Tonga.
Mountain bike hire is available with ANT Bicycles on Tongatapu and Cafe Tropicana in Vava’u (see Where to Rent Bicycles in Tonga). However, Cafe Tropicana has a policy of not allowing rentals to be taken off-road.
More About Cycling in Tonga
That’s it for our guide to cycling and mountain biking in Tonga. Learn more about having two-wheeled adventures in The Kingdom in the guides below:
- The Cycling Times & Distances in Tonga LINK#TR001
- 10 Essential Tips for Cycling in Tonga
- The Guide to Renting a Scooter in Tonga
Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in Tonga Transport Guide: 10 Ways to Get Around Tonga and the 101 Best Things to Do in Tonga.