What is the Weather Like in Tonga in May?
Welcome to winter in Tonga! However, it’s probably not winter as you know it… Tonga’s winter means that it’s just a little less hot and humid, but still warm enough to satisfy beach-lovers with temperatures often around 27°C / 80°F. However, it does take a little longer for northern island groups, like the Vava’u Group and The Niuas to catch up with the winter trend. For travellers, expect a more tranquil atmosphere than the busier tourist seasons that kick into gear next month. So, learn about the typical temperatures, rainfall and more in this guide to the Tonga weather in May!
5 Tips for Travelling Tonga in May
- May is considered a tourist low season in Tonga, so look out for good deals on flights and accommodation!
- Allow extra time to travel between Tonga’s far-flung islands, like Vava’u or The Niuas, as flights are often cancelled in the wetter climates
- The visibility for scuba diving and snorkelling is better compared to previous months, so pack the snorkel mask or book a dive trip!
- Wear high-factor reef-safe sunscreen to protect your skin and the corals
- While May is during the “dry season” know that it could still rain at any time.
Typical Temperatures in May
Locals will say that the Tongan “winter” has begun, but to visitors, it will feel far from your typical winter with temperatures reaching highs of 30°C / 86°F. This is particularly to the case with warmer temperatures in the northern islands of Tonga, like Vava’u. Temperatures are slightly cooler the further south you go, ending with the coolest in Tongatapu and ‘Eua. The lowest temperatures experienced in May are around 22°C / 69°F, often at night.
Temperatures Across Tonga
- Tongatapu & Nuku’alofa – The average maximum temperature is 27°C / 80°F and the minimum average temperature is 20°C / 68°F
- Vava’u – The average maximum temperature is 28°C / 82°F and the minimum average temperature is 22°C / 72°F
- Ha’apai – The average maximum temperature is 27°C / 81°F and the minimum average temperature is 22°C / 72°F
- ‘Eua – The average maximum temperature is 27°C / 80°F and the minimum average temperature is 20°C / 68°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 May
Tonga has warm sea temperatures all year round, but start to drop a little after the summer season ends and the dry season begins in May. Sea temperatures in May are at an average of 27°C / 80°F.
Hours of Sun in May
Typical of a winter season, the days start to get shorter in Tonga in May. Nevertheless, “short days” in Tonga might not be considered that short with the average daylight hours still being around 11 hours a day. Sunshine hours are typically around 5 hours a day.
UV Levels During May
While UV levels drop significantly compared to Tonga’s summer months, the UV levels are still around 7+ UV index around midday. Be sure to wear high-factor sunscreen. For advice on sunscreen, take a look at our 10 Best Environmentally-Friendly Sunscreens for Tonga.
Sunrise and Sunset During May
May has daylight hours lasting around 11 hours a day in Tonga.
- Sunrise – 6.58am at the beginning of May and 7.10am at the end of May
- Sunset – 6.17pm at the beginning of May and 6.07pm at the end of May
Learn more about the time zone in Tonga in What is the Tonga Time Zone?.
Rainfall in May
While it’s officially the “dry season” that doesn’t mean that the rain has gone for the whole season. Yes, May does still experience some rainy days, typically 15 days out of the month as an average. Showers are usually short-lived, however, not causing too much delay to your travel plans or sunbathing sessions.
Tonga receives an average of 111mm / 4.4″ of rainfall in the month of May, with around 15 days out of May experiencing rain.
Average Rainfall Across Tonga
- Tongatapu & Nuku’alofa – The average rainfall in May is 111mm / 4.4″
- Vava’u – The average rainfall in May is 105mm / 4.1″
- Ha’apai – The average rainfall in May is 105mm / 4.1″
- ‘Eua – The average rainfall in May is 111mm / 4.4″
- The Niuas – The average rainfall in May is 165mm / 6.5″
Tropical Storms in May
The South Pacific cyclone season starts in November and ends in April, so it’s highly unlikely that a tropical cyclone will occur in Tonga in May. Nevertheless, it’s always best to be prepared, as small-scale cyclones have historically developed across the South Pacific in May.
Check out our tips on How to Prepare for a Cyclone in Tonga for more information on cyclones in Tonga.
For travellers who find cyclones a major concern, perhaps choose a month with less risk, such as July or August.
Best Places to Visit in Tonga in May
May is a good time to visit most island groups in Tonga. But if you’re being picky, there is slightly more rainfall and more humidity in Vava’u and The Niues during May where flights are more likely to be cancelled – so it’s best to avoid if you’re on a tight schedule. That leaves Tongatapu, Ha’apai and ‘Eua!
Ha’apai – Home to some of Tonga’s most idyllic island resorts, Ha’apai is well worth retreating to before the tourist crowds arrive. Learn to scuba dive, snorkel in clear waters, kayak and more! Guesthouses and homestays are also available for an authentic cultural experience. Learn more about Ha’apai in The Complete Guide to Ha’apai.
‘Eua – One of the closest outer islands to Tongatapu, ‘Eua lures adventurous travellers wishing to see some of the best natural landscapes of the islands. Be sure to land a spot in one of the limited guesthouses or eco-fales before the busy tourist season comes up and everywhere gets fully booked! Learn more in The Complete Guide to ‘Eua.
May Packing List for Tonga
May is when you can take a look at the dry season packing list for Tonga! Here are a few essentials and recommendations…
- High-factor sunscreen (that’s reef-safe and water-resistant)
- Light cotton layers
- Light long-sleeved tops (to cover from the sun and take the edge off those slightly cooler nights)
- Light pants/trousers (something to cover up when out in Tongan towns/villages or going to church)
- Long skirt or sarong (same reason as above, but for women)
- Flip-flops or sandals
- Rain jacket (just in case)
Get more packing ideas with The Complete Packing List for Tonga.