What is the Weather Like in Tonga in December?
December is a lively time to be in Tonga in terms of both local Christmas celebrations and the weather! The wet season is in full swing in December with heavier downpours, which can affect travel plans. Travellers also need to be aware of cyclone warnings. Nevertheless, there are often still some long sunny days to enjoy, which when combined with the high humidity, makes it all the more refreshing to jump into the water! Find out more about the temperatures, rainfall and more in this guide to the Tonga Weather in December.
5 Tips for Travelling Tonga in December
- Book your international and domestic flights early during this busy time of the year – and note that domestic flights are often cancelled in bad weather
- December 4th is King George Tupou I Commemoration Day, which is a public holiday so expect shops and services to be closed on this day
- Pack insect repellent, as mosquitos are more active during the wet season – see 10 Ways to Avoid Mosquito Bites in Tonga for tips
- Don’t expect much activity to happen around the island during Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve – it’s best to retreat to an island resort until services open again
- The UV levels are high in December, so be sure to apply high-factor sunscreen regularly!
Typical Temperatures in December
December is part of the summer season in Tonga, with the maximum average temperature around 30°C / 86°F and the minimum average is 22°C / 73°F. However, it can often feel a lot warmer with the high humidity experienced throughout the month
Temperatures Across Tonga
- Tongatapu & Nuku’alofa – The average maximum temperature is 29°C / 84°F and the minimum average temperature is 22°C / 73°F
- Vava’u – The average maximum temperature is 30°C / 86°F and the minimum average temperature is 23°C / 73°F
- Ha’apai – The average maximum temperature is 29°C / 84°F and the minimum average temperature is 23°C / 73°F
- ‘Eua – The average maximum temperature is 29°C / 84°F and the minimum average temperature is 22°C / 73°F
- The Niuas – The average maximum temperature is 30°C / 86°F and the minimum average temperature is 24°C / 75°F
Sea Temperature in December
Tonga’s sea temperatures are warm and comfortable for swimming in all year round. In December, the temperature of the sea is on the rise, usually at around 27°C / 80°F.
Hours of Sun in December
Days are long and the sun shines at its brightest for a good few hours most days in December in Tonga. Daylight hours are 13 hours, while the sunshine hours are around 6 hours.
UV Levels During December
UV levels are at their highest in December, making it essential to protect yourself from the sun. The UV level in December is typically 12 UV index at midday. Follow our advice for sunscreen in the 10 Best Environmentally-Friendly Sunscreens for Tonga.
Sunrise and Sunset During December
December has daylight hours lasting around 13 hours a day in Tonga.
- Sunrise – 5.50am at the beginning of December and 6.01am at the end of December
- Sunset – 7.09pm at the beginning of December and 7.26pm at the end of December
Learn more about the time zone in Tonga in What is the Tonga Time Zone?.
Rainfall in December
The wet season is in full swing in December with higher rainfall rates than what’s experienced in the dry season. However, the average days of rainfall are still quite low at around 15 days of December typically experiencing rain.
Tonga receives an average of 150mm / 5.9″ of rainfall in the month of December, with around 15 days out of December experiencing rain.
Average Rainfall Across Tonga
- Tongatapu & Nuku’alofa – The average rainfall in December is 175mm / 6.9″
- Vava’u – The average rainfall in December is 150mm / 5.9″
- Ha’apai – The average rainfall in December is 150mm / 5.9″
- ‘Eua – The average rainfall in December is 175mm / 6.9″
- The Niuas – The average rainfall in December is 270mm / 10.6″
Tropical Storms in December
With the South Pacific cyclone season starting in November and ending in April, December is within the cyclone season in Tonga. It’s a good idea to check cyclone alerts – learn more in How to Prepare for a Cyclone in Tonga for more tips.
Historically, cyclones have affected Tonga during the month of December. In December 2001, the category 4 Cyclone Waka caused damage to around 13 islands in Tonga, particularly in Vava’u.
For other months that have a lower risk of cyclones in Tonga, consider travelling in June, July, August or September.
Best Places to Visit in Tonga in December
Celebrating Christmas is serious stuff for Tongans, so visiting more populated areas, like Nuku’alofa, can be a fun experience during this time of the year. Also with that in mind, domestic travel is often fully-booked between the islands with locals visiting family for Christmas, so it’s a good time to see what Tonga’s main island, Tongatapu, and the nearby ‘Eua island have in store.
Tongatapu – Catch the celebrations leading up to Christmas in the capital, as well as in a few church services where the singing is sure to send shivers down your spine (in a good way). Otherwise, Tongatapu has much to offer in between intriguing historical sites, breathtaking limestone caves, island resorts, beach resorts and more. Find out more in The Complete Guide to Tongatapu.
‘Eua – Just about the only flight that won’t be fully booked in Tonga during the Christmas holiday period, the scenic flight from Tongatapu to ‘Eua is a mere 10 minutes. Once you arrive, you have a wealth of walking trails to explore across the national park and Tonga’s oldest island. Explore rainforest, see amazing cliff lookouts, take a dip at a waterfall and much more! See The Complete Guide to ‘Eua D059 for more information.
December Packing List for Tonga
Be prepared for any weather in Tonga, especially in December! Check out our packing recommendations in the list below.
- High-factor (and reef-safe) sunscreen
- Insect repellent
- Light rain jacket
- Light and airy cotton layers
- Light pants/skirt (mainly to cover the skin in areas where you need to dress more modestly)
- Flip-flops or sandals
- Christmas gift from home country if you are staying with locals
Get more packing ideas with The Complete Packing List for Tonga.