7-Day Budget Itinerary for Tonga

If you only have one week to explore the Kingdom of Tonga, then you have plenty of time to comfortably see two of the five island groups. For those on a budget and on limited time, the best and cheapest islands to experience include Tongatapu and ‘Eua. Both of these islands and brimming with fun free and cheap activities, are scattered with affordable accommodation, and offer all of the must-do activities that most backpackers come to Tonga for. Check out our sample Tonga budget itinerary for 7 days!

For an alternative way to experience Tonga in one week, see How to Spend 7 Days in Tonga on a Budget TI049.

How to Get Around Tonga in 7 Days

The beauty of the South Pacific islands is that getting around often means also using the water as a highway! While we go over some transport tips in the itinerary below, here’s quick overview of how to get around using this 7-day budget itinerary for Tonga.

Road Transport in Tonga

Tongatapu is well-connected with roads with public transport to get around, including public buses, taxis, accommodation transfers, guided tours and car rentals. Although ‘Eua has some roads, there’s no public transport, but you can hire a bicycle or rely on your accommodation provider for transport.

Overwater Transport in Tonga

Flights are the fastest way to get between the island groups of Tonga, with the flight between Tongatapu and ‘Eua said to be the world’s shortest scheduled flight at around seven minutes! However, ferry travel is much cheaper at between TOP$20-$25 per person with several ferry options available from the Queen Salote Wharf in Nuku’alofa. Crossings take 1-hour-2h30mins, depending on which sailing you take. Boat transfers are also available to take you between Nuku’alofa and island resorts as mentioned in the itinerary below.

Learn more about transport in each of this itinerary’s destinations in the following guides:

Day 1 – Nuku’alofa

Tonga Budget Itinerary: 7 Days

(c) tongapocketguide.com

Travel time: 30 minutes

Welcome to Tonga! You’ll arrive on the main island of Tonga, rich in history, natural attractions and home to the South Pacific’s only royal family.

Arrange with your accommodation in Nuku’alofa to transfer you from Fua’amotu Airport to Nuku’alofa, the capital of Tonga, which is almost always cheaper than a taxi. You might have time to do a bit of city exploration on the first day, seeing the Royal Palace and browsing the Talamahu Market, for instance. Otherwise, scout out the cheap eats in Nuku’alofa and start trying the Tongan cuisine!

Budget Accommodation in Nuku’alofa

For details on our top recommendations, see the 10 Best Budget Accommodation in Nuku’alofa.

Day 2 – Explore Tongatapu

Tonga Budget Itinerary: 7 Days

(c) tongapocketguide.com

Travel time: 6 hours is a comfortable amount of time to see all of the major highlights around Tongatapu.

You only really need one day to see the sights of Tongatapu, almost all of which are free to visit! To get around the sights, you could hire a car but after the day rate and the cost of the Visitor Driver’s License, you’ll probably find it’s less hassle to jump on an island tour, which will cost around the same price. Check out island tours available in The Best Guided Tours of Tongatapu.

Free/Cheap Things to Do in Tongatapu

  • See the historic Ha’amonga ‘a Maui Trilithon
  • Walk through the beautiful ‘Anahulu Cave to a cave pool
  • Get amazing views of the coast from the Hufangalpue Landbridge
  • Watch the flying foxes (bats) in Kolovai
  • Do some beach-hopping around Tongatapu
  • Watch the “fishing pigs” in Mu’a
  • Take a photo of the three-headed coconut tree
  • See the amazing water displays of the Mapu ‘a Vaea Blowholes
  • Find all of the historic landing sites and their lookouts
  • See a giant coral boulder in the middle of the land at Tsunami Rock

For more details on each experience, see the 10 Free & Cheap Things To Do on Tongatapu.

Day 3 – Island Day Trip from Nuku’alofa

Tonga Budget Itinerary: 7 Days

(c) tongapocketguide.com

Travel time: 15-30 minutes one-way by boat and depending on which island you visit.

While there are other stunning island groups to visit in Tonga, which you would be able to fit into an itinerary as seen on our 14-day budget itinerary, an excellent and much-cheaper alternative for a seven-day trip is to do one of the island day trips from Nuku’alofa.

Get your fix of idyllic islands just a short boat ride away from Faua Wharf in Nuku’alofa. Island resorts open their islands and doors to visitors to make the most of the sand, seas with coral reefs and shores with swaying palms, as well as a restaurant and perhaps walking trails to nearby villages. What’s more, this is just about the only activity available on a Sunday.

Island Day Trips from Nuku’alofa

Learn more about each island day trip in the 7 Best Island Day Trips from Nuku’alofa.

Day 4 – Nuku’alofa to ‘Eua

Tonga Budget Itinerary: 7 Days

(c) tongapocketguide.com

Travel time: 1 hour to 2h30mins ferry

It’s time to explore one of Tonga’s amazing outer islands, ‘Eua Island! ‘Eua is a backpacker’s paradise, where all of the accommodation here is budget and all of the paid-for experiences are very reasonably priced. You’ll even find some of Tonga’s cheapest whale swimming tours on this island.

You’ll arrive at Nafanua Wharf on ‘Eua where your arranged accommodation will pick you up, as there is no public transport.

Budget Accommodation in ‘Eua

  • Ovava Tree Lodge
  • The Hideaway
  • Taina’s Place
  • The Deep Resort
  • Seta Homestay
  • ‘Alakoka Tahi Moana Guest House

Learn more about each budget stay in the 6 Best Budget Accommodation in ‘Eua.

Day 5 – ‘Eua

Tonga Budget Itinerary: 7 Days

(c) tongapocketguide.com

‘Eua is Tonga’s oldest island at around 40 million years old. It is home to the ‘Eua National Park and is somewhere to embrace nature through hiking, cycling, bird watching, watching whales from shore, horse riding and more. There are even 4WD land tours that are well under TOP$100 should you not feel like walking to the must-see landmarks, such as natural land bridges, rock gardens, giant banyan trees, impressive sinkholes, limestone caves, pristine beaches and more.

Free/Cheap Things to Do in ‘Eua

  • See all of ‘Eua’s amazing natural features in a 4WD land tour
  • Go horse trekking along the beach
  • Do an independent hike to the Forest Plantation or Rock Gardens
  • Join a guided hike of the ‘Eua National Park or Fangatave Caves
  • Look out for the red shining parrot, only found in ‘Eua
  • Watch whales from the shore (June-October/November)
  • Do a Tongan arts, crafts and dancing lesson
  • Listen to the beautiful singing in a Sunday church service
  • Go to the weekend disco!
  • Experience a traditional umu feast

Find out more about each experience in the 10 Free & Cheap Things To Do in & Eua.

Day 6 – ‘Eua to Nuku’alofa

Tonga Budget Itinerary: 7 Days

(c) Tonga Ministry of Tourism

Travel time: 1 hour to 2h30mins ferry

After a morning of embracing the tranquillity and slower pace of life of ‘Eua, it’s time to catch the ferry back to the capital. Your accommodation provider will drop you off at the wharf if arranged.

Spend your final evening in Tongatapu toasting to an amazing week spent in Tonga at one of the bars in Nuku’alofa. You might be able to catch a cultural show and Tongan buffet if it’s a Wednesday or a Friday. Alternatively, simply hang out with your fellow travellers at the backpackers or guest house, which, by the way, here’s what’s available if you want to try somewhere new for your final stay in Nuku’alofa.

Budget Accommodation in Nuku’alofa

Check out the 10 Best Budget Accommodation in Nuku’alofa for more details.

Day 7 – Nuku’alofa to Fua’amotu International Airport

Tonga Budget Itinerary: 7 Days

(c) tongapocketguide.com

Travel time: 30 minutes

Taxis and accommodation transfers are available to take you from Nuku’alofa to Fua’amotu International Airport. But before you head out, have a bite to eat in the city using the recommendations in our Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Nuku’alofa. Trust us, it will be better than eating at the airport cafe.

Nofo a (goodbye) from Tonga!

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Tonga Budget Itinerary: 7 Days