7-Day Family Itinerary for Tonga
How should you spend a whole week in Tonga? Well, for the active family that wants to make the most of their time in these glorious South Pacific islands, experiencing a couple of different island groups is a good way to go! For this Tonga family itinerary for 7 days, we recommend exploring Tonga’s two most family-friendly islands! Tongatapu is the main island of Tonga, rich in history, culture and amazing natural attractions. Ha’apai is the central island group of Tonga, renowned for its pristine waters with a scattering of idyllic islands lined with white sandy beaches!
For holiday ideas with less travelling around, take a look at What to Do for 7 Days in Tonga on a Family Vacation TI045.
How to Get Around Tonga in 7 Days
The itinerary below involves both travel over land and over water – the joys of travelling in the South Pacific! While we do offer travel tips in this itinerary, here’s a quick rundown of how to get around Tonga with a family.
Road Transport in Tonga
Tongatapu is well-connected by roads, making airport transfers, taxis, guided driving tours and car rentals a viable option for getting around the island. If you want to rent a car, you will need to pick up a Visitor’s Driving License either from the Transport Division from the Ministry of Infrastructure in Nuku’alofa. On Ha’apai, getting around will rely on your accommodation provider. Bicycle rental is also an option.
Overwater Transport in Tonga
Getting between Tongatapu and Ha’apai requires travel by either plane or ferry. Ferries are the cheapest option at the expense of time, where crossings take approximately 3h30min-5h30min. Flights operate between the islands daily taking approximately 50 minutes. There are no ferry or plane services on a Sunday.
Learn more about transport in Tongatapu and Ha’apai in the following guides:
Day 1 – Fua’amotu Airport to Nuku’alofa
Travel time: 30 minutes
Welcome to Tonga and Tongatapu! You’ll arrive at Fua’amotu International Airport where your accommodation transfer will be waiting for you or taxis are available to take your family to Nuku’alofa.
Nuku’alofa is the main hub of Tongatapu and the nation’s capital. It’s a great base to start your trip, with most activity operators offering tours from here. You’ll also find the widest range of kid-friendly accommodation, as well as an array of eateries to try the local cuisine (and international favourites if your kids are fussy eaters).
If you have time, you could be getting started on some of the shorter activities today, such as checking out the majestic Royal Palace or shopping for fun gifts at the Talamahu Market. If you want to hire a car, you can sort out the logistics and pick up your vehicle in town. That way, you can easily make your way to attractions in the suburbs, such as the Tupu’Anga Cafe with a kids’ playground, Popua Park or the Ancient Tonga cultural centre! Find out more about Ancient Tonga on Viator and Tripadvisor.
Things to Do in Nuku’alofa with Kids
- Shop for unique souvenirs at the Talamahu Market
- See interesting sights, like the Royal Palace, the Royal Tombs and more
- Let the kids loose and have a picnic at Popua Park
- Learn how to do Tongan arts and crafts and experience an “umu” at Ancient Tonga (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Try Tongan coffee and treats while the kids play at the playground at Tupu’Anga Cafe
For more information on each activity, see the 10 Things to Do in Nuku’alofa with Kids.
Family Accommodation in Nuku’alofa
- Little Italy Hotel & Restaurant
- Villa Apartments
- Tanoa International Dateline Hotel
- The Friendly Islander (Papiloa’s Place)
- Emerald Hotel
- JeZAmi Hotel
- Green Lodge Holiday Homes
- Tungi Colonnade Hotel
Learn more about our top recommendations in the 10 Best Family Accommodation in Nuku’alofa.
Day 2 – Explore Tongatapu
Travel time: Sightseeing to all the major highlights can be comfortably done in 6 hours or less if you want to miss a few things out.
Today is a good day to check out the sights of Tongatapu! Excellent places to take the kids include the Mapu ‘a Vaea Blowholes for astonishing natural water features! Check out the flying foxes, large fruitbats in the village of Kolovai or the hilarious Fishing Pigs near Mu’a. The Ha’amonga ‘a Maui Trilithon, otherwise known as the Stonehenge of the South Pacific, is a must-see. And tell your kids the fascinating story of Tsunami Rock (don’t worry, there are information panels to help you out).
Things to Do in Tongatapu with Kids
- Explore and swim in ‘Anahulu Cave
- See and listen to the squeaking flying foxes at Kolovai
- Check out the amazing Mapu ‘a Vaea Blowholes
- Build sandcastles at one of Tongatapu’s glorious beaches
- Kayak around a tranquil lagoon in Holonga Village
- See the hilarious fishing pigs in Mu’a
- Check out Tsunami Rock
- Visit Tupou College and its rainforest
- Watch a Tongan cultural show
Learn more about each experience and more in our 10 Things to Do on Tongatapu with Kids.
Day 3 – Nuku’alofa to Ha’apai
Travel time: 50 minutes flight or 3h30mins/5h50mins ferry
Today, either fly or take the ferry to Tonga’s central island group, Ha’apai! The island group with around 62 islands – 45 of which are uninhabited, is a South Pacific paradise with white sandy shores, swaying coconut palms and tranquil turquoise waters. The waters, in fact, are what make Ha’apai extremely family-friendly with an array of activities on the water that the kids will love!
Your accommodation will arrange transfers from the wharf/airport to their resort. Get settled in, relax on the beach and get ready for a few exciting days ahead.
Family Accommodation in Ha’apai
- Matafonua Lodge
- Serenity Beaches Resort
- Fanifo Lofa Kitesurf Tonga
- Taiana’s Resort
- Langi Langi Guest House
- Sea Change Eco Retreat
Find out more about each resort in our 7 Best Family Accommodation in Ha’apai.
Day 4 – Ha’apai
You have a couple of days to enjoy some family time in the beautiful Ha’apai islands. Relax on the beach where you’ll be able to go out snorkelling around healthy coral reefs, kayak over crystal clear waters, watch humpback whales from a whale watching tour or from shore, go on a family fishing trip or do surfing/kitesurfing if you have your own gear.
Water Activities in Ha’apai for Kids
- Watch whales on a whale watching tour (July-October)
- Watch the tropical fish by snorkelling from your resort
- Go on a family outing in a kayak or stand-up paddleboard
- Hire a fishing charter for the whole family
- Hone your surfing and kitesurfing skills
For more details on some of these activities, see the 10 Things To Do in Ha’apai with Kids.
Day 5 – Ha’apai
While it might be difficult to drag the kids away from the water, there are a few experiences you could be enjoying with your feet on dry land. Lifuka, Ha’apai’s main island, is home to an array of interesting historical sites, while cultural experiences like basket weaving classes are always a good way to get the kids engaged.
More Things to Do in Ha’apai with Kids
- Scout out for interesting rock pool creatures by doing some reef walking
- Build sandcastles and relax on the beach
- Hire bikes or take a tour around Lifuka and Foa Islands to see the historical sites – tours are available with Teta Tours & Travel (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Drink from a coconut
- Learn how to make your own woven basket or hat with the local villagers
- Do a horse riding tour
Again, more details on some of these experiences can be found in the 10 Things To Do in Ha’apai with Kids.
Day 6 – Ha’apai to Tongatapu
Travel time: 50 minutes flight or 3h30mins/5h50mins ferry
You might not want to leave the islands of Ha’apai so soon. However, it’s always worth leaving at least a day before your scheduled flight out of Tonga, as it’s not unusual for domestic flights to be cancelled. Alternatively, it will allow for the lengthy ferry journey back to Tongatapu.
For your final night on Tongatapu, you could experience one of the other areas of Tongatapu outside of Nuku’alofa, such as the resorts along Ha’atafu and Kanokupolu beaches on the western side of the island. Accommodation transfers organised with your resort will be the easiest way to get between the airport and the resort.
Family Accommodation in Tongatapu
- Holty’s Hideaway
- Vakaloa Beach Resort
- Liku’alofa Resort
- Royal Sunset Island Resort
- Fafa Island Resort
- Aloft Airport Accommodation
For more information on each accommodation, see our 10 Best Family Accommodation on Tongatapu.
Day 7 – Resort to Fua’amotu International Airport
Travel time: 30 minutes
It’s time to wrap up your trip to Tonga! Have some food at your chosen resort (or a nearby resort as recommended in Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Tongatapu) before making your way to the airport, as the cafe there is expensive and, well, not that good. Resorts offer airport transfers. Otherwise, ask your resort to book you a taxi.
Nofo a (goodbye) from Tonga!