islands of tonga
Tongatapu – ‘Sacred South’ – is the southern starting point for visitors exploring the Kingdom of Tonga.
Expect a warm welcome at one of the world’s most easy-going international airports before journeying north across the island to the Tongan capital of Nuku’alofa. The harbour-side town is the centre of Tongan commerce and government and also the residence of the Royal Family in the South Pacific’s only monarchy. Around 70,000 people live on Tongatapu, and Nuku’alofa – ‘Abode of Love’ – is a vibrant introduction to the Kingdom. Ferryboats and trading ships dot Nuku’alofa Harbour, preparing to venture to the far-flung Vava’u, Ha’apai and Niuas island groups to the north.
Nuku’alofa’s Talamahu market is a proudly local affair, selling fresh tropical produce and authentic Tongan arts and crafts. On Sundays, the churches of Tongatapu glow with soaring harmonies and a warm welcome to visitors.
Ancient Tongan history includes the fascinating 11th century AD Ha’amonga ‘a Maui trilithon and the ancient Langi (terraced tombs) of the Tongan kings. More recent are the Tongatapu landing sites of Abel Tasman and Captain James Cook and on Nuku’alofa’s waterfront you’ll find the elegant Royal Palace.Offshore island resorts effortlessly combine the rustic with the romantic. The ‘Anahulu Caves and the Mapua ‘a Vaea blowholes present Tongatapu’s more rugged natural beauty.
What others say
“The main island of Tongatapu is blessed with a protected lagoon ideal for sea kayaking. One of the most amazing experiences I had in Tonga was exploring the many islands in the lagoon by sea kayak. You can explore deserted islands and sand spits, drop anchor along the way and explore some amazing coral reefs.”
– Robert Hayes, Canberra, Australia.
Tongatapu – Highlights
- Nuku’alofa – Capital of Tonga
- Island Resorts – Jump on a ferry to Pangaimotu, Fafa or ‘Atata Islands for the day or stay overnight
- Flying Fox Reserve – located in Kolovai in the western district
- Drop in for lunch at one of the resorts on the Western side of the Island
- Mapu ‘a Vaea – Blowholes in the coral reef on the South-western side of the Islands
- Hufangalupe – Natural land bridge on the South-eastern side of the Island
- Ha’amonga ‘a Maui – Trilithon
- Nukuleka – possibly the site of the first human settlement in Tonga
- Langi – Tombs of past Tongan kings
- Mu’a – second largest town on Tongatapu. Site of the ancient burial mounds and the Paepae’o Tele’a Tombs
- Choose from a wide range of water based adventures: kayaking, snorkeling, diving, or swimming with the whales
- Tongans know how to feast, make sure you experience a cultural dinner show whilst in Tonga