How to Plan a Wedding, Romantic Getaway or Honeymoon to Ha’apai…
… In other words, this is the complete couples’ guide to Ha’apai!
White sandy beaches lined with swaying coconut palms and azure waters, the islands of Ha’apai can’t help but scream romance. Being such a remote location in Tonga yet providing some once-in-a-lifetime experiences, it would almost be foolish to not consider the islands for a honeymoon or a romantic getaway. Accommodation is down-to-earth but unique, where you’ll stay in quaint beach fales (huts) for a true South Seas experience. Let us guide you through the honeymoon accommodations, the romantic activities and even the wedding planning in this wedding, honeymoon and romantic getaway guide to Ha’apai.
10 Romantic Activities in Ha’apai
What does a romantic getaway or honeymoon in Ha’apai look like? For the couple who loves to explore together, here are 10 of the most romantic experiences on the islands…
- Be treated to a private island experience
- Experience a life-changing whale-swimming tour
- Explore the islands on horseback
- Have a private dining experience
- Be each other’s “buddy” on a scuba diving trip
- Relax and rejuvenate in a yoga session together
- See the sights by bike
- Test your relationship in a double kayak
- Stargaze at some of the darkest skies
- Snuggle up in a hammock.
For more details on each experience, see the 10 Most Romantic Things to Do in Ha’apai.
How to Get to Ha’apai
Ha’apai is the central island group of Tonga covering an area of 110 km² (43 mi²). To jump straight into your honeymoon and to enjoy amazing scenery, we recommend treating yourself to a flight to get to and from the islands of Ha’apai. Otherwise, ferries are available from Tongatapu and Vava’u. See how to get to both Tongatapu and Vava’u from overseas in How to Get to Tonga.
Ha’apai by Plane
The best start to a honeymoon or romantic getaway to Ha’apai is by taking a 50-minute flight from Fua’amotu Airport on Tongatapu to Salote Pilolevu Airport on Lifuka Island, Ha’apai. Flights typically run two times a day except on Sundays. Find out everything you need to know about flying to Ha’apai in The Guide to Domestic Flights in Tonga.
How to Get Around Ha’apai
With the islands of Ha’apai being so remote with limited infrastructure, most couples rely on their chosen accommodation for transport. Resorts will pick you up and drop you off at the airport, which needs to be arranged before arrival.
Car rentals are also available in Ha’apai to explore the islands of Lifuka and Foa, which are connected by a causeway. Some resorts on these islands also offer bicycle rentals for guests.
Should you want to visit one of the outer islands, boat charters can be arranged. Learn more about getting around Ha’apai in the Ha’apai Transport Guide: 5 Ways to Get to & Around Ha’apai.
Romantic Getaway and Honeymoon Experiences
You can find romance in just about all of the experiences in the Ha’apai Group, from sharing a life-changing experience swimming with whales to rejuvenating together in a yoga session. But for something extra special, here are a few of our top picks…
There’s something quite romantic about seeing your loved one riding a majestic horse, right? Horse riding might be a way of life on the islands of Ha’apai, as a way of getting around, but it’s also a romantic way to explore some of Lifuka Island. Sandy Beach Resort and Matafonua Lodge offer guests the opportunity to for an island-style horse trek (i.e. bareback) or they have saddles if you prefer. Embark on a journey through tropical forests or across sandy beaches, even taking your horse for a swim. Learn more about the experience in The Guide to Horse Riding in Tonga.
Nothing strengthens the bond quite like experiencing something life-changing together. Swimming with humpback whales is definitely one of those experiences. Jump on one of the very few whale swimming tours in Ha’apai that operate between July and October and see the whales in their element. Join mothers and playful calves in the water or see juveniles “showing off”. It’s sure to give you a whole new level of respect for life in the ocean. See operators in the 7 Best Whale Swim Tours in Ha’apai.
Private Island Experience
Ready to be whisked away with your loved one to your own private island? Sea Change Eco Retreat on Uoleva Island offers the opportunity for couples to spend the day on one of the nearby tiny islands fringed by stunning coral reefs. On the island, it will be just the two of you, some snorkelling gear, beach towels and a picnic lunch to make the most of the experience. All you need to do is radio call the crew when and if you’re ready to leave.
More Things to Do in Ha’apai
From scuba diving excursions to cycling around the islands, there are plenty of more ways to experience Ha’apai together. Get more inspiration from the 10 Romantic Things to Do in Ha’apai. And for experiences that don’t necessarily fall into the “romantic” category but are just as endearing, check out the 20 Best Things to Do in Ha’apai.
Dining in Ha’apai
Nothing completes a day in paradise more than sharing a tantalising meal together. There are a few eateries on Lifuka and Foa islands, while those staying on Uoleva will be provided with meals at their chosen resort.
Romantic Restaurants on Lifuka and Foa Islands
Nestled among coconut palms of the beachfront approximately 400 m (400 yards) south of Hihifo, Leleno ki Moana meaning “Run to the Ocean”, is a quirky beach hut restaurant serving quality meals for an affordable price. Delight in fresh fish and chips, burgers, authentic curries, Tongan dishes and more, all lovingly presented on timber boards and banana leaves. You’ll hardly get a more island vibe! Find them open Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 9 pm and Wednesday from 9 am to 4 pm.
Alternatively, call ahead for Matafonua Lodge‘s (Foa Island) burgers, seafood tacos and, most famously, their pizzas. They are open to non-guests for lunch and dinner outside of the whale season or will accept non-guests who call and order ahead during the whale season.
Meals at Uoleva Island Resorts
Those staying on the uninhabited Uoleva Island only have their chosen resort’s meal offerings for dining. Meals are typically a set menu each day, which you’ll either pay as you go or have included in your resort rate as a compulsory meal plan. It is fundamental that you advise your resort of any dietary requirements prior to arrival.
Private Beach Dinner or an Island Picnic Lunch
Sea Change Eco Retreat offers guests the opportunity to amp up their dining experience on Uoleva Island, free of charge! Dine under the stars as they organise a private candlelit dinner for you on the beach. Alternatively, both Sea Change and neighbouring Kitesurf Tonga can prepare a picnic for you to enjoy while exploring the island on foot among the myriad of trails and discovering secluded beaches. More details about the walk around Uoleva can be found in the 10 Best Walks & Hikes in Tonga.
For more about dining, meal plans and self-catering, head to The Food Guide to Ha’apai: Places to Eat & Food Tours.
Getting Married in Ha’apai
We know what you’re thinking: the soft white sands, glistening waters and swaying tropical palms make Ha’apai the perfect location for an island wedding. But with couples who elope in Tonga having to jump over a few hurdles to legally get married in The Kingdom, the wedding industry has not really developed in Ha’apai… yet!
Currently, couples need to reside in Tonga for at least a month before they can begin to apply for a wedding license. Read up on all of the logistics in How to Organise Your Wedding in Tonga.
However, there is an act currently being discussed in the Tongan Government to make eloping in Tonga much easier for couples. We’ll update this article when more news happens!
More About Ha’apai for Couples
That’s it for the wedding, honeymoon and romantic getaway guide to Ha’apai but by no means is the end of the advice we can offer for your special occasion. Take a look at the following guides for more inspiration:
- The Luxury Travel Guide to Ha’apai
- The Adults-Only Travel Guide to Ha’apai
- 20 Best Things to Do in Ha’apai
Finally, you might also like to check out The Wedding, Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to Tonga and the 10 Romantic Things to Do in Tonga for more honeymooning tips.