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The Ha’apai Island group is one of Tonga’s best kept secrets. The Ha’apai group consists of 60 small islands with only 17 of these, inhabited. Ha’apai is a wonderful eco-tourism destination, with its prolific wildlife, pristine beaches and magnificent coral reefs, it’s a paradise for snorkellers and divers.
It was in these waters that the famous “Mutiny on The Bounty” took place, and also where Captain Cook once landed, later referring to the Kingdom of Tonga as “The Friendly Islands”. Take a step back in time, enjoy the peace and tranquillity and discover the beauty of Ha’apai.
Flights to the main island of Lifuka operate daily, with the exception of Sunday. At the northern point of Lifuka, a causeway joins it to the island of Foa. This is where the accommodation is located.
Fafa Island Resort, an 18 acres palm covered atoll is located approximately 50 minute drive from the international airport and a further 30 minutes by fast boat from Nuku’alofa township.
Sandy Beach Resort is designed for nature lovers who enjoy life's little luxuries, with its fine sand beaches stretching as far as the eye can see; the beach has actually been nominated as a world heritage site.
Matafonua LodgeMatafonua Lodge is located on the quiet northern peninsula of Foa Island, about a 20 minute drive from the airport. The resort offers a relaxed, laid back atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle of the busier islands, and fronts onto one of Ha’apai’s beautiful white sand beaches and sparkling lagoons.
The Lodge has 10 traditional, Tongan style bungalows or “fales” made of woven palm leaves and most are situated on the beachfront. A stay at Matafonua consists of waking up and stepping off your covered balcony right onto the beach, taking a dip in the ocean, relaxing in a hammock or wandering through the lush tropical gardens to the restaurant and bar.
Diving in Tonga, and particularly Ha'apai, is known for superb coral reefs, diverse topography and a big variety of fish life. The pace of life in Tonga is supremely relaxed.
Diving is possible all year round in Tonga. Water temperature in Ha'apai is at its highest in March reaching 28°C (82°F) and drops to a low of 21°C (70°F) during August when the Humpback Whales arrive. Visibility doesn’t vary much throughout the year with anything below 20 meters being uncommon and 30 meters plus as the norm.
Beds of yellow sea fans can be found at the Ha’apai Islands along with extensive anemones and their associated clown fish. In places the reef wall is riddled with lobster filled caves, some containing air bubbles in the roof large enough to surface into. During winter and spring, divers can be assured to at least hear, if not see, humpback whales that make the clear waters their calving and mating grounds from July to October each year.
The reefs and shallows of the Ha’apai Group offer amazing underwater scenery. Walls, caves, channels, tunnels, drifts, drop-offs and coral gardens, with hard and soft coral and hundreds of fish species, make for a great variety of dives.
With outstanding visibility up to 25 meters to 30 meters in summer up to 70 meters in winter, and with very comfortable water temperatures of 23 degrees to 29 degrees to create a magnificent conditions for diving.
Since recently, even a piece of Tonga´s history can be seen underwater. In December 2009, more than 200 years after the Port au Prince was raided and burnt, Fins n Flukes the local dive operator found the anchor of this pirate ship and are happy to show divers around the site.