The Luxury Guide to Vava’u(c)
The Luxury Guide to Vava’u

The Luxury Travel Guide to Vava’u


Luxury Holidays in Vava’u

Tonga’s top sailing hub, home to breathing taking scenery both out and under the water, Vava’u is a must for luxury travellers seeking something “different” in the South Pacific. Vava’u is not a place of five-star luxury, but a place where you can experience authentic island life and all the perks that come along with it like fishing giant marlin, snorkelling with magnificent whales, and cruising around picture-perfect islands. Let us guide you through the most premium resorts, activities and dining with this luxury travel guide to Vava’u.

10 Luxury Activities in Vava’u

  • Scuba dive among stunning coral
  • Hire a sailing charter and explore the islands
  • Catch marlin and GT on a fishing excursion
  • Swim with humpback whales
  • Indulge in some delightful Tongan-inspired cuisine
  • Do an island yoga class
  • Relax with a soothing massage
  • Do an island cruise
  • Hit some amazing kitesurfing grounds
  • Shop for unique arts and crafts

See more activities like this in the 10 Luxury Activities in Vava’u.

The Luxury Guide to Vava’u(c)

How to Get to Vava’u

Vava’u is the second-most northern island group in Tonga, accessed directly from overseas with flights from Fiji and Samoa, as well as cruise ships from Australia. Most travellers arrive in Vava’u through Tongatapu. Once you’re on the islands, accommodation providers will arrange transport to and from the resort.

Flights to Vava’u

With most travellers arriving in Tonga through Tongatapu, often the most convenient way to get to Vava’u is by taking a one-hour flight from Tongatapu to Vava’u. Flights run daily except for Sundays. Find out more in The Guide to Flying Around Tonga.

Cruises to Vava’u

Vava’u is on the itinerary of a few luxurious cruise ships sailing the South Pacific islands, including Celebrity Cruises, P&O Cruises, Holland American Line, Paul Gauguin Cruises, Silversea and more. Find out more in the 10 Cruises that Visit Tonga.

Sailing to Vava’u

Finally, many luxury travellers are likely to find themselves in Vava’u as part of a yacht charter or with their own sailing vessel. The Port of Refuge is renowned across the South Pacific for providing safe anchorage and amazing sailing grounds. Find out more in the Sailing Guide to Tonga.

For more ways to get to Vava’u, as well as ways to get around, see the 10 Ways to Get to Vava’u (& Around Vava’u).

The Luxury Guide to Vava’u(c) Tonga Ministry of Tourism

Luxury Activities in Vava’u

Most of Vava’u’s premium experiences are out on the sheltered waters of the island group, where the underwater world is teeming with life. Swim with humpback whales, dive over incredible reef systems, fish for monstrous marlin and much more! There’s still something worth sticking to land for though, whether it’s a soothing yoga retreat, indulging in massages or simply doing nothing at all…

Swimming with Humpback Whales

A once-in-a-lifetime experience for many, swimming with majestic humpback whales is a special activity on offer in Vava’u. Tonga is one of the very few countries in the world where swimming with these majestic creatures is available. Getting in the water with these gentle giants is a humbling experience, best done on a small-group tour for a more intimate whale swimming experience. Compare tours in the 10 Best Whale Swim Tours in Vava’u.

Scuba Diving in Vava’u

Whatever the season, scuba diving is a must in the warm and crystal clear waters of Vava’u. Explore stunning coral reefs full of fish, sharks, nudibranchs, crustaceans, hard and soft corals. Dive the exciting Clan MacWilliam wreck sitting in the Neiafu Harbour. Find amazing drop-offs, chimneys, caves and swim-throughs, and the list goes on! Most of the dive operators can be found on the waterfront of Neiafu, which you can compare in The Best Snorkel & Scuba Dive Tours in Vava’u.

Sports and Game Fishing in Vava’u

Vava’u is an angling oasis of the South Pacific with exciting opportunities to catch marlin and giant trevally. Hakula Lodge specialises in game fishing offering charters from their private dock. Alternatively, do some GT popper fishing with Poppin’ Tonga based at Lucky’s Beach Houses. A number of fishing charters can be found along Neiafu’s waterfront offering exciting trips all year round. Compare your options in 10 Best Fishing Charters in Vava’u.

For more ideas on things to do, see the 10 Luxury Activities in Vava’u.

Tongan Roast Pig Feast Small Mandatory Credit Tonga Ministry Of Tourism(c) Tonga Ministry of Tourism

Luxury Dining in Vava’u

“Fine dining” is not really available in Vava’u, taking a more casual approach when it comes to eating out on the islands. However, there are certain restaurants in Neiafu and in some of the upmarket resorts around Vava’u that offer a more classy dine-in experience. So try some of the local specialities, such as ota ika or lu, or try internationally-inspired dishes made with the freshest local ingredients.

Dining in Vava’u

One of the top choices in Neiafu is the Bellavista Cafe & Restaurant overlooking Neiafu Harbour. Italy meets the South Pacific here where you can wake up with an espresso, enjoy Tongan-infused dishes with fresh fish, lobster and octopus, or something more Italian like pizza and pasta.

For a resort with fabulous food, check out the Mandala Restaurant at the Mandala Resort offering a romantic dining room and lounge experience. Sip wine from the Beach Bar, and enjoy seasonal dishes with a flair of the Pacific, California, Asia, India and Italy. The resort is open to day-trippers taking a 10-minute boat ride from the Houmelei Old Harbour.

For more dining recommendations, see our full Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Vava’u.


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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