Tonga Weather in January(c)
Tonga Weather in January

Tonga Weather in January


What is the Weather Like in Tonga in January?

Planning on exploring the islands of Tonga during January? You would be one of very few who choose to visit Tonga during this time, which is ideal for savvy travellers looking to get the best travel deals and experience the islands all to themselves! Temperatures are hot and humid, making it all the more refreshing when taking part in Tonga’s water activities. What deters many travellers, however, is the label of the “wet season”, with a higher chance of rainfall and a slight risk of cyclones. But knowing that rain can occur at any time of the year in Tonga, you might just think that January is just another month to visit the islands… Find out more about the Tonga weather in January below!

Before we jump into this weather guide for January, be sure to bookmark Tonga Weather by Month: What is the Weather Like in Tonga? for more advice.

5 Tips for Visiting Tonga in January

  1. Due to the high UV levels during January, make sure you wear high-factor (and reef-safe) sunscreen
  2. Pack insect repellent! Mosquitoes are more active during the wet season. Check out 10 Ways to Avoid Mosquito Bites in Tonga for tips
  3. While January is hot and humid, remember that there are plenty of ways to cool down, thanks to Tonga’s array of water sports, oceans and some resorts having swimming pools – check out the 10 Best Water Activities in Tonga for inspiration
  4. January is the low season in Tonga, so don’t worry about booking accommodation too far in advance. However, be sure to check which activities are available during the low season to avoid disappointment
  5. Allow extra time to travel between islands, as flights and ferries often get cancelled due to bad weather.

Tonga Weather in January©

Typical Temperatures in January

In Tonga’s “summer season”, January is one of the warmest months in Tonga. Temperatures reach 30°C / 86°F at a maximum during the day, while the lowest temperatures are around 23°C / 74°F – usually at night. January also experiences high humidity, which can make it feel a little hotter than it actually is.

Temperatures Across Tonga

  • Tongatapu & Nuku’alofa – The average maximum temperature is 29°C / 85°F and the minimum average temperature is 23°C / 74°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 30°C / 86°F and the minimum average temperature is 24°C / 75°F
  • ‘Eua – The average maximum temperature is 29°C / 85°F and the minimum average temperature is 23°C / 74°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 January

Tonga experiences warm waters year-round. However, January is one of the months when sea temperatures in Tonga are at their highest. Sea temperatures are at an average of 28°C / 82°F  in January.

Tonga Weather in January©

Hours of Sun in January

Many travellers visiting Tonga want to see some sun! January would be a good time for soaking up the sun with an average of 6 hours of bright sunshine each day. Plus, Tonga experiences some of its longest days with daylight hours being an average of 13 hours.

UV Levels During January

Wearing sunscreen is recommended all year round in Tonga, but especially in January when the maximum UV levels are at an extreme around midday! UV levels are 12+ UV index at midday. For advice on what sunscreen to wear, see The Best Sunscreens for Tonga + Sun Protection Tips.

Sunrise and Sunset During January

January has daylight hours lasting about 13 hours a day in Tonga.

  • Sunrise: 6:02 am at the beginning of January and 6:22 am at the end of January
  • Sunset: 7:28 pm at the beginning of January and 7:26 pm at the end of January.
Tonga Weather in January(c)

Rainfall in January

January is a month of the “wet season” in Tonga. However, January usually experiences a bit less rainfall than in February and March, but double what is usually experienced in the dry season. Tropical rainfall patterns are typically swift, followed by sunshine. Note that travel schedules, especially between Tonga’s islands, can change due to bad weather, so allow yourself extra travel time during this month.

Tonga receives an average of 174 mm / 6.9 in of rainfall in the month of January, with around 17 days out of January experiencing rain.

Average Rainfall Across Tonga

  • Tongatapu & Nuku’alofa – The average rainfall in January is 174 mm / 6.9 in
  • Vava’u – The average rainfall in January is 165 mm / 6.5 in
  • Ha’apai – The average rainfall in January is 165 mm / 6.5 in
  • ‘Eua – The average rainfall in January is 174 mm / 6.9 in
  • The Niuas – The average rainfall in January is 305 mm / 12 in.
Tonga Weather in January(c)

Tropical Storms in January

The South Pacific cyclone season starts in November and ends in April, making January a month with a higher risk of tropical storms. On average, about 3% of January in Tonga is affected by tropical storms.

Historically, Tonga was affected by a tropical cyclone in January 1833, 1863, 1875, 1883, 1887, 1891, 1896, 1901, 1911, 1912, 1915, 1920, 1932, 1936, 1939, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1960, 1961, 1970, 1985, Cyclone Nina in 1993, Cyclone Ron in 1998, Cyclone Heta in 2003, Cyclone Tam and Cyclone Urmil in 2006, Cyclone Wilma in 2011 and Cyclone Tino in 2020.

Notably, Cyclone Ian in January 2014 passed through the Ha’apai Islands. Although it caused much damage, there was only one death resulting from the cyclone.

If you want to avoid the risk of cyclones in Tonga, it’s best to travel in the dry season. For those planning to travel during January, see How to Prepare for a Cyclone in Tonga.

Tonga Weather in January(c)

Best Places to Visit in Tonga in January

Apart from the first week of January, when locals are flying back and forth from Tonga to celebrate the New Year with family, January is a quiet time for tourists to experience the islands. With that in mind, you’re bound to have a great time no matter where you travel to in Tonga. But if we have to choose the best place to visit in Tonga, it would be the following…

Tongatapu – With travel plans often changing during January’s unpredictable weather, staying on Tonga’s arrival island, Tongatapu, is a great way to ensure that your trip runs “smoothly”. Plus, the New Year celebrations, both New Year’s Day and Chinese New Year, are both the most vibrant in the capital, Nuku’alofa. Learn more about visiting Tongatapu in The Complete Guide to Tongatapu.

‘Eua – Less than 20 km (10 mi) from Tongatapu, it’s much less of a pain to take a rescheduled flight or ferry to this gorgeous island south of Tongatapu, just in case the weather changes your plans. With limited accommodation at this popular destination, January is the best time to experience Tonga’s oldest island and national park without the risk of it being fully booked, especially in mid to the end of January! Learn more about the island in The Complete Guide to ‘Eua.

Tonga Weather in January©

January Packing List for Tonga

Be prepared for Tonga in January by packing these few seasonal essentials:

  • High-factor reef-friendly sunscreen
  • 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, for example)
  • Sunhat
  • Sunglasses
  • Insect repellent
  • Swimwear
  • Rash vest (we like the UV-protecting Sharkskin rashies)
  • Flip-flops/sandals
  • Closed walking shoes
  • Sarong (lavalava)

Get more ideas on what to pack for Tonga 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 January. Check out the following articles for more weather advice:

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in The Complete Travel Guide to Tonga and 31 Tips for Travelling in Tonga.


Robin (Lopini) C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of Tonga Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before settling in the South Pacific, so he knows a thing or two about planning the perfect trip in this corner of the world. Robin works and consults regularly with the Ministry of Tourism of Tonga. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides and is a regular host of webinars with the South Pacific Tourism Organisation.

Was this article useful?