What is the Weather Like in Tonga in December?
December is a lively time to be in Tonga in terms of both local holiday 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 weather in Tonga in December.
Before we jump into this weather guide for December, be sure to bookmark Tonga Weather by Month: What is the Weather Like in Tonga? for more advice.
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 rescheduled 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 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
December will not disappoint when it comes to the sun. The days are long and hot and the sun rises early in the morning. Early birds will get to do plenty during the cooler morning, while there are ways to cool down by the pool or on the beach when the sun reaches its zenith.
An average day in Tonga in December lasts 13 hours and features up to 6 hours of bright sunshine, usually around midday. Applying sunscreen, wearing sunglasses and a sunhat is a must at this time of the year. Plus, it’s a Christmas look that will make everybody jealous back at the office!
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 Best Sunscreens for Tonga + Sun Protection Tips.
Sunrise and Sunset During December
December has daylight hours lasting around 13 hours a day in Tonga.
- Sunrise – 5:50 am at the beginning of December and 6:01 am at the end of December
- Sunset – 7:09 pm at the beginning of December and 7:26 pm at the end of December.
Learn more about the local time zone 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, you usually don’t have to worry about it raining for the whole month with around 15 days of December typically experiencing rain. For those bad weather spells, fill up your time with some of the 15 Things to Do in Tonga on a Rainy Day.
Tonga receives an average of 150 mm / 5.9 in 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 175 mm / 6.9 in
- Vava’u – The average rainfall in December is 150 mm / 5.9 in
- Ha’apai – The average rainfall in December is 150 mm / 5.9 in
- ‘Eua – The average rainfall in December is 175 mm / 6.9 in
- The Niuas – The average rainfall in December is 270 mm / 10.6 in.
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 December in the years 1877, 1899, 1910, 1913, 1923, 1930, 1934, 1939, 1941, 1948, 1949, 1957, Cyclone Raja in 1986, Cyclone Val in 1991, Cyclone Kina in 1992 and Cyclone Heta in 2004.
In December 2001, the Category 4 Cyclone Waka caused damage to around 13 islands in Tonga, particularly in Vava’u, and caused one fatality.
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, forest resorts, beach resorts and more. Find out more in The Complete Guide to Tongatapu.
‘Eua – With several ferry crossings per day (except Sunday), you have plenty of options to travel to Tongatapu’s neighbouring island without too much hassle during the busy holiday season. 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 in a spring and much more! See The Complete Guide to ‘Eua 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 sunscreen (that’s reef-safe and water-resistant)
- Insect repellent
- Light bamboo, linen or merino layers (we like the sustainable bamboo clothing of Moso Morrow)
- Light long-sleeved tops (to cover from sun and mosquitoes)
- Light pants/trousers (to cover the knees when appropriate – church service at Easter, for example)
- Rash vest (we like the UV-protecting Sharkskin rashies)
- Closed walking shoes
- Sarong (lavalava)
- Christmas gift from your home country if you are staying with locals.
Get more packing ideas with The Complete Packing List for Tonga.
More About the Tonga Weather
That’s it for our complete guide to the weather and climate in Tonga in December. Check out the following articles for more weather advice:
- 10 Reasons to Travel to Tonga THIS Christmas
- Tonga Weather, Seasons & Climate + Tonga Weather by Month
- The Best Time to Visit Tonga