The Luxury Guide to Tongatapu(c)
The Luxury Guide to Tongatapu

The Luxury Travel Guide to Tongatapu


Luxury Holidays on Tongatapu

We all find luxury in different things and if yours is adventuring and unwinding in a tropical paradise that’s still fairly undiscovered, then you’re going to love Tongatapu. Tonga’s southern island group is home to an array of tranquil beach and island resorts, premium city apartments, villas and more. The experiences here also boasts exclusivity where you can swim with humpback whales in one of the only places you can legally do so in the world, as well as play golf at the nation’s only golf course. More exclusivity can be found in private charters, whether you want to do island-hopping, game fishing or snorkelling in crystal clear waters. So start planning your luxury retreat to Tonga with this luxury travel guide to Tongatapu.

Note that Tonga is free of five-star accommodations and services. Tongatapu is certainly a more down-to-earth holiday destination, which is perhaps not ideal for the most “precious” of travellers. However, you’ll still find some of the most premium available experiences listed in this guide.

10 Luxury Activities on Tongatapu

  • Play at Tonga’s only golf course
  • Enjoy a private fishing charter
  • Indulge in an island massage
  • Swim with majestic humpback whales
  • See the sights of Tongatapu on a private tour
  • Shop for unique arts and crafts
  • Dine at one of the island’s delectable restaurants
  • Experience a Tonga feast and cultural show with private transfers
  • Go scuba diving among caves and coral reefs
  • Enjoy a full-day boat charter with island-hopping and snorkelling

Discover more about each experience in our 10 Luxury Activities on Tongatapu.

The Luxury Guide to Tongatapu(c)

How to Get to Tongatapu

Tongatapu boasts complete ease being the most well-connected island in Tonga. Flights, cruise ships and interisland ferries all operate between Tongatapu and the rest of the world (and outer islands). As for getting around, many accommodations offer their own shuttle services. Private tours also provide a more luxurious way to see the sights around Tongatapu, which is available with Tonga Travel Troupe. Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor.

Tongatapu by Plane

Tongatapu is connected to the rest of the world (and the rest of Tonga’s islands) through Fua’amotu International Airport. Direct flights to Fua’amotu Airport are available from New Zealand, Australia and Fiji, which all have connecting flights to elsewhere. Flights between Tongatapu and Tonga’s islands of ‘Eua, Vava’u, Ha’apai and The Niuas provide the fastest and most convenient method to island-hop in Tonga.

Tongatapu by Cruise

Tongatapu is home to Tonga’s main cruise ship port, which is on the agenda of premium cruise liners. Cruises that visit Nuku’alofa include Holland America Line, P&O, Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises and more as listed in the 10 Cruises that Visit Tonga. The port can be found at Vuna Wharf on the waterfront of Nuku’alofa.

Accommodation Shuttles

The most convenient way to get between Nuku’alofa and the airport is via your accommodation’s airport transfer service. When booked in advance, a driver will be waiting for you on arrival at the airport. Alternatively, airport transfer services can be booked for any accommodation on Tongatapu with Teta Tours and Travel. Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor.

Discover more ways to get around Tongatapu with the 10 Ways to Get to Tongatapu (& Around Tongatapu).

Tonga Golf Course Drone Mandatory Credit To Small(c)

Luxury Activities on Tongatapu

Luxury comes in many different forms on Tongatapu, from land activities, such as playing golf and indulging in a spa, to water activities, such as fishing for game species or swimming with majestic whales. Other experiences include scuba diving, private tours and shopping for unique pieces, which you can read up on in the 10 Luxury Activities on Tongatapu.

Playing Golf on Tongatapu

Certainly one of the most unique areas to tee off, being on a small island group in the South Pacific, the Tonga Golf Club provides a nine-hole golf course. The year-round golf course is the only golf course in the whole of Tonga, located at ‘Atele between Nuku’alofa and the airport. Enjoy swinging at a relaxed golf course in an attractive park setting.

Indulge in a Spa Treatment

Tonga’s capital is home to a few glorious spas where you can enjoy island-style treatments or natural healing rituals. Try Island Glow for its array of spa and beauty treatments to help you feel renewed. Alternatively, the Acu-Reflex-Herbal Therapy & Garden Spa offers an array of natural healing massages, as well as foot baths and sauna baths. Compare spas in our The Best Spas on Tongatapu.

Fishing Charters from Tongatapu

The waters off the coast of Tongatapu are teeming with high-sought game fish, such as mahimahi, wahoo, dogtooth tuna and giant trevally. Hire a private fishing charter from Faua Wharf in Nuku’alofa and try your luck at fishing for these monsters with the help of expert guides. See more options in The Best Fishing Charters on Tongatapu.

Whale Swimming From Tongatapu

A once-in-a-lifetime experience awaits in the waters surrounding Tongatapu between July and October. Humpback whales migrate from the Antarctic to breed and calve in Tonga’s waters, where you can swim with them yourself on one of the amazing whale swim tours available. Check out some of your best options for whale swimming in the 8 Best Whale Swim Tours on Tongatapu.

The Luxury Guide to Tongatapu(c)

Luxury Dining on Tongatapu

“Fine dining” as you might know it doesn’t exactly exist in Tonga, but a casual dine-in experience with mouthwatering cuisine can be experienced all the same. Try some of Tonga’s local delicacies, such as ota ika (raw fish marinated in coconut cream) or lu (meat and coconut cream wrapped in taro leaves). Alternatively, European and Asian cuisine is well represented across Tongatapu’s restaurants should you want to mix things up.

Dining in Nuku’alofa

The largest and most diverse choice of restaurants can be found in Nuku’alofa, with the more “luxurious” dining venues being the Waterfront Cafe on Vuna Road, Chef Zero in Popua, and The TOP Restaurant in the city centre. See our 5 Best Restaurants in Nuku’alofa for more information and recommendations.

Dining Around Tongatapu

Dining outside of Nuku’alofa usually means eating at one of the beach resorts. This often comes with glorious views of the sunsets accompanying your meal. One of the top choices is the restaurant at the Heilala Holiday Lodge, serving a seasonal menu, often featuring cheese lobster, seafood platters and Chinese steamed buns. For those day-tripping or staying on Fafa Island, you’re in for a treat at their island restaurant and bar on the beachfront serving Pacific European gourmet cuisine.

Alternatively, experience one of the famous Tongan feasts taking place on certain nights a week at various resorts around the island. See The Best Cultural Shows on Tongatapu for more information.

For a complete list of recommendations, see our Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants on Tongatapu.


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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