The Guide to Vava’u for Families(c) Jonathan Irish - Tonga Ministry of Tourism
The Guide to Vava’u for Families

The Travel Guide to Vava’u for Families

(c) Jonathan Irish – Tonga Ministry of Tourism

Family Guide to Vava’u

Families that love being out on the water, Vava’u should definitely be on the shortlist for your family holiday. The adventurous destination in Tonga is home to whale watching, snorkelling in giant sea caves, amazing kayaking, brilliant beaches and so much more! Either stay in a resort where a natural playground will be at your doorstep or opt for one of the family-friendly accommodations in the main hub, Neiafu, where many exciting boat and land tours depart. We’ll guide you through the activities, the accommodations and the childcare services in this travel guide to Vava’u for families!

10 Things to Do in Vava’u with Kids

  • Go on a whale watching tour
  • Do an island boat cruise and see Swallows’ Cave
  • See a cultural show and explore the ‘Ene’io Botanical Garden
  • Have a peek into the Veimumuni Cave
  • Get some kayak time in!
  • Do some snorkelling from your resort
  • Build sandcastles on the beach
  • Enjoy a family sailing trip
  • Do a land tour of Vava’u Island
  • Visit a local school and donate some supplies!

Learn more about each activity in the 10 Things To Do in Vava’u with Kids.

The Guide to Vava’u for Families(c)

How to Get to Vava’u

Most families reach Vava’u from Tonga’s main island, Tongatapu, by taking a flight or a ferry service between the islands. As for getting around the island, accommodations can organise transfers, while car rentals, taxis and limited bus service are available.

Flights to Vava’u

International direct flights arrive at Lupepau’u Airport from Apia (Samoa) twice a week in the high season and from Nadi (Fiji) four times a day in the high season from Tuesday to Saturday. Otherwise, daily flights to Vava’u are available from Tongatapu except on Sundays, which has connecting flights to Auckland (New Zealand), Sydney (Australia) and Nadi (Fiji). Flights between Tongatapu and Vava’u are approximately 45 minutes to one hour. Learn more about flights in Where Can You Fly to in Tonga?

Ferries to Vava’u

A cheaper but more time-consuming way to get from Tongatapu to Vava’u is by taking one of the ferries from Queen Salote Wharf in Nuku’alofa, arriving at Halaevalu Wharf in Neiafu. The ferry journey takes approximately 16 to 23 hours, operating daily from Monday to Saturday. Learn more about taking the ferry here.

Accommodation Transfers

Most accommodations offer airport transfers, as well as overwater transport if necessary, between the airport and the accommodation. This is usually for a fee and must be arranged with the accommodation prior to arrival.

Learn more about each transport method and more in the 9 Ways to Get to Vava’u.

The Guide to Vava’u for Families(c)

Family-Friendly Activities

Vava’u is certainly a getaway for the active family, especially with resorts offering complimentary use of kayaks, snorkelling gear and more. As you may have guessed, most of the activity is out on the water in the sheltered waters of the Port of Refuge. See amazing caves and snorkelling spots on boat tours or watch majestic humpback whales between July and October.

Family Water Activities

One of the most popular activities in Vava’u is whale swimming, where families have a huge range of whale swimming operators to choose from. However, because swimming is on the open water, we recommend families with younger children to enjoy the experience from the boat, watching the whales as they swim on the surface. It is often just as exciting as getting in the water! Compare your whale watching tours in the 10 Best Whale Swim Tours in Vava’u.

Check out some of the amazing highlights on the waters of Vava’u on a boat cruise with Hakau Adventures. They offer six-hour day trips checking out spots like the magnificent Swallows’ Cave, as well as amazing snorkelling hotspots. The crew provide snorkelling gear, fresh fruit and snacks after every swim, as well as a full lunch. Children under 12 pay half price!

Family Land Activities

Well, there are some reasons why you might want to keep your feet on dry land and one of those reasons is the ‘Ene’io Botanical Garden. Kids love exploring the lush tropical gardens on the botanical garden walking tour while mum and dad can take in the fascinating commentary from the former Director for Agriculture and Forestry, Haniteli Fa’anunu. They also offer Polynesian cultural tours complete with a Tongan-style lunch and cultural demonstrations.

Discover more amazing things to do in the 10 Things To Do in Vava’u with Kids.

The Guide to Vava’u for Families(c) James Blackwood - Tonga Ministry of Tourism

Family Services in Vava’u

Vava’u is just about the only island group where you’ll find accommodations in Tonga offering childcare services. So whether you want to treat yourself to whale swimming, scuba diving, fishing or something else, rest assured you’ll be able to tick the items off your bucket list while knowing someone is looking after the little ones.

Babysitting/Childcare in Vava’u

Some of Vava’u’s more upmarket resorts offer babysitting services to guests for a fee. It’s recommended to book a babysitter at least a day in advance to allow the resort to organise a sitter. Resorts that offer babysitting/childcare include the Tongan Beach Resort and Mystic Sands.

Also, look out for deals where children under 12 years stay for free if using existing beddings. This is available, for instance, at Mystic Sands and Hakula Lodge.

More About Vava’u

That’s it for the complete travel guide to Vava’u for families. Get even more inspiration for your family getaway with The Travel Guide to Tonga for Families and the 10 Things to Do in Tonga with Kids.


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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