Plan Your Family Getaway to Tonga
Tonga is not for everyone. It’s for families that are perhaps a little more adventurous than the average family, who prefer to adventure together and are looking for an island getaway that’s fun yet educational. These South Pacific Islands strike the right balance of nature and culture, where the underwater world thrives with all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures, while the islands are home to an interesting Polynesian culture that can be experienced through food, crafts and dance performances. So how do you plan a family getaway to Tonga? Start by learning about the different island groups to visit in this travel guide to Tonga for families.
Things to Do in Tonga with Kids
- Watch humpback whales between June and October
- Swim in underground cave pools like the ‘Anahulu Cave
- See awesome natural attractions like the Mapu ‘a Vaea Blowholes
- Explore the islands the islander way – on horseback!
- Snorkel above the magical coral reefs of Tonga
- Make your own souvenirs in a Tongan crafting lesson
- Go on a family kayaking mission from your resort
- Do an island-hopping and snorkelling cruise to places like Swallows Cave.
For more ideas and elaboration, see the 10 Things to Do in Tonga with Kids.
Family Holidays in Tongatapu
Tongatapu is the main island of Tonga and the easiest and cheapest option for a family getaway to The Kingdom. There are two types of holidays you could be having here, either an urban getaway staying in the capital, Nuku’alofa, or a beach holiday at one of the resorts lining the coast or outer islands.
Tongatapu is a good choice for the family who wants to enjoy some sightseeing and exploration, as the island has a dizzying array of natural wonders and historical sites to check out. Swim in the gorgeous limestone caves of ‘Anahulu, see the mysterious Ha’amonga ‘a Maui Trilithon and visit the various palaces and tombs of the South Pacific’s only monarchy.
In between all of that, you’ll find some delightful beaches around Tongatapu, although not quite as paradise-like as some of the other island groups. Boat tours for snorkelling and island-hopping depart from Nuku’alofa, which are a great way to get out on the water to family-friendy destinations, instead of the less-suitable whale watching and scuba diving excursions.
Family Holidays in ‘Eua
‘Eua is a large island off the eastern shores of Tongatapu, which takes half a day by ferry or a seven-minute flight to get to. It differs greatly from Tongatapu in that it’s an island much less developed with the stunning ‘Eua National Park and rugged coastline to enjoy (as well as a few beaches). It’s the oldest island in Tonga with some incredible formations, including caves, natural arches, giant banyan trees and more.
‘Eua is certainly an island for the active family, perhaps for hiking with older kids or younger ones might enjoy the 4WD tours to see the attractions. It’s one of the best islands to watch whales from shore in the whale season, which is more child-friendly than whale swimming tours. Some of the accommodations here can also organise Tongan crafting lessons with local villagers which is another exciting activity for kids.
Learn more about visiting ‘Eua on a family getaway in The Guide to ‘Eua for Families.
Family Holidays in Ha’apai
For families looking for that idyllic beach holiday with plenty of sun, sea and sand, consider a getaway to the islands of Ha’apai. 62 islands scatter this central area of Tonga, where resorts on less-developed and even uninhabited islands make an exciting base for your holiday. If you’re looking for a place with great snorkelling from shore and where kayak hire is all part of the package, this is what is available in Ha’apai.
The islands of Ha’apai are fringed by tranquil lagoons which make for safer swimming for families, while resorts can also take families out to various islands and snorkelling spots nearby. Otherwise, horseback riding experiences, reef walks and cultural village tours make other popular family-friendly activities.
Whale watching can be enjoyed from shore in the season, while family-friendly fishing charters and drinking from a coconut could be other ways to spend your time on these idyllic islands.
Learn more about a family getaway to these islands in The Guide to Ha’apai for Families.
Family Holidays in Vava’u
For families seeking water activities and more water activities, then the islands of Vava’u are worth considering. The northern island group of Tonga is an adventure hub for whale swimming, scuba diving and charter fishing, where a limited few resorts offer babysitting services should you want to try these activities for yourself. Otherwise, there’s no lack of island-hopping and snorkelling trip in Vava’u, taking you to highlights like Swallows Cave and the Japanese Coral Gardens – some of the best underwater seascapes in Tonga that you can see through simply snorkelling.
Families can choose to either stay in the main town of the island group, Neiafu, which has a range of hotels, villas and holiday homes, or at one of the island resorts. If staying in Neiafu, you might want to take a trip to Veimumuni Cave or the ‘Ene’io Botanical Garden for some fun land experiences. Otherwise, those staying at island resorts have kayaks, snorkelling, sandcastles and relaxation to enjoy.
Learn more about visiting Vava’u in The Guide to Vava’u for Families.