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Tonga is a tiny island kingdom left behind by the hustle and bustle of the modern world. In Tonga you will experience unspoilt views that have pleasured many people over many years.
Tonga is the only remaining Polynesian Kingdom and is known as the Friendly Islands. The majority of the 100,000 Tongan population is Polynesian. They are a very friendly and welcoming people who have retained many of their ancient traditions, customs and culture. They enjoy a laidback pace of life that is very easy to adopt. Tonga is a devoutly Christian nation with Sunday considered a sacred day for attending church services and family duties.
176 islands, 40 of which are inhabited ranging from high volcanic to low coral terrain create scenic variety unlike anywhere else in the world. The islands are divided into four main groups. Tongatapu and ‘Eua are in the south. Ha’apai group is in the centre and Vava’u group in the north. Further north is the Niuas islands group consisting of Niua Fo’ou and Niuatoputapu islands. Nuku'alofa, the capital, is located on the main island of Tongatapu. It is more developed than its neighbours but still maintains an unhurried and peaceful lifestyle. English is widely spoken, and travellers are sure to receive a friendly greeting from the locals.
Tonga is one of the few places in the world where you can swim up close with Humpback Whales between July and October.
Located in the heart of the South Pacific between Fiji, Samoa and the Cook Islands, Tonga lies about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand. The largest island, Tongatapu, is approximately 2,000 kilometers (1,245 miles) northeast of Auckland, New Zealand. The Tongan archipelago stretches over 700,000 square kilometres across the southern Pacific Ocean.
Tonga offers a variety of spectacular landscapes from, low lying coral atolls, dramatic volcanic landscapes, pristine coral reefs, magnificent sandy beaches and lagoons, crystal clear water and tropical rainforests displaying a unique array of flora and fauna.
Tonga is a water lover’s paradise most visited for the incredible opportunity to swim with migrating humpback whales. Tonga is one of only 3 places on Earth where swimmers and snorkellers can get up close to the humpback whales. The whales migrate from their feeding grounds in Antarctica, along the New Zealand coast, to the Kindom of Tonga where they stay from June through October to court, mate and calve, concentrating in the Vava’u and Ha’apai island groups. This represents an incredible and unique opportunity to witness these enormous and majestic creatures in their natural environment.
With water temperatures ranging from 23˚C to 30˚C and visibility reaching 70 metres in some places, swimming, snorkelling and diving is spectacular at each major island group. The variety of dive sites include coral reefs teeming with a variety of fish, caves, canyons and volcanoes.
Vava’u is a famous sailing locale and perfect for sea kayaking as are most of the lagoons around Tonga.
The best reef-break surfing is at Ha’atafu Beach on Tongatapu.
Kitesurfing in uncrowded lagoons is based around Vava’u and Ha’apai when the southeast trade winds blow from May to late October.
Big game fishing is possible on the three major island groups all year round.
Take to four wheels on a self-drive kart safari, enjoying a rollicking jungle adventure on remote, back road trails, deserted beaches and ocean side cliff tops.
Birdwatchers can search for rare, endemic and unusual species across the Kingdom of Tonga.
Tonga enjoys a more comfortable climate and is slightly cooler than that of most tropical areas. It receives less rain than other tropical areas with an temperature average of 26°C from May to October. The wetter more humid season lasts from November to April with temperatures rising up to 32°C.
The Humpback Whales migrate through the Kingdom of Tonga between July and October.
The surf can break year round around Ha’atafu in Tongatapu with bigger, winter swells from May to October.
Tonga is one of only a few places on Earth where swimmer and snorkellers can get up close to humpback whales. Humpback whales migrate from their feeding grounds in Antarctica, along the New Zealand coast, to the Kingdom of Tonga where they stay from July through October to court, mate and calve. This represents an incredible and unique opportunity to witness these enormous and majestic creatures in their natural environment.
Best season: July - September
Caverns and Wrecks
Vava'u has many interesting and unique cavern dives with spectacular underwater archways, tunnels, large black coral trees and wall dives that vanish into the inky darkness. There is little in the way of currents and most dives are leisurely swim throughs. For wreck dive enthusiasts the 122 metre wreck of the Clan McWilliam that sank over 50 years ago, sits upright and is still intact.
The Tongan Islands are surrounded by beautiful white coral sands and lagoons simmering with marine life. Come and dive in this relaxed and timeless island paradise, where the weather barely differs.
The average air temperature in the northern islands is 27°C, while the southern islands average 23°C and the high 20˚C’s in the summer. By November, the water temperatures reach as high as 28°C, and then drop down as low as 21°C during their winter months.
Tonga offers you the opportunity to dive near volcanoes, shipwrecks, canyons and coral reefs. There are stunning fish and visibility of up to 70 metres.
The Kingdom of Tonga is located in the heart of the South Pacific, east of Fiji and to the south of Samoa and just west of the International Dateline. Tonga consists of 176 islands of which only approx. 37 of the islands are inhabited. Tonga is divided into four main groups-Tongatapu in the south, Ha’apai and Vava’u, then Niuas in the extreme north. Tongatapu is the largest island on which the capital city Nuku’alofa is located.
The international country code for Tonga is 676. Tonga is 13 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
(subject to change)
U.S. , British, Commonwealth and most E.E.C visitors do not need to obtain a visa before arrival for stays of up to 31 days.
The currency of Tonga is Pa’anga (TOP) also known as the Tongan dollar. Foreign exchange is available at most banks and major hotels. Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards are accepted at most hotels.
1 AUD = approximately 1.55 Pa’anga (May 2016)
Virgin Australia - 23kg (except Saver Lite fares - Nil baggage).
Air New Zealand – 1 or 2 pieces max. 23kg per piece
depending on which airfare is purchased.
Fiji Airways - 23kg
Real Tonga (domestic flights) -20kg
(Subject to change without notice)
Diving is good in any of the major island groups. Tonga is renowned for it’s caves, dropoffs, pinnacles and visibility that in places reaches 40 metres, making the snorkelling and diving spectacular. A 3-5mm suit is recommended. Dive operators supply tanks, weight belts and dive guide services. There will be an extra charge if equipment hire is required.