Tonga is one of the most scenic and unspoiled of the Pacific island nations. Its traditional culture and its people are as unique as its history and everyday life in Tonga is heavily influenced by Polynesian traditions. Village life and kinship ties continue to be important throughout the country and the main island of Tongatapu is especially rich in culture and traditions. It is home to the capital Nuku’alofa. Among the major attractions of the capital are the Royal Palace as well as the Royal Tombs, and the many colonial houses still in use, the churches, and the colorful markets. Tongatapu is one of the best places in the South Pacific to shop for Polynesian crafts, such as tapa cloth, wood carvings, shells, and woven mats.
Hilly and covered in lush rainforest, Eua’s combination of breathtaking beauty and rugged, idiosyncratic landscapes is the perfect destination for travelers in search of adventure and eco experiences. A concise seven-minute flight links Tongatapu to the island of Eua on its southeastern tip, reputedly the world’s shortest commercial airlines flight. The Ha’apai group to the north is the ideal relaxation destination – uncrowded, unhurried and undiscovered. Well off the beaten path for visitors, the 62 scattered islands, atolls, reefs and shoals of the central island group of Ha’apai are an undeniably authentic slice of Polynesia.
The northern most group of islands, Vava’u is the adventure hub of Tonga. An azure tropical labyrinth of 61 different islands dotted with coral gardens, deserted beaches and shimmering clear lagoons. Vava’u is a yachter’s haven with its sheltered harbor. Vava’u is also one of the best places to see Humpback whales. Humpback whales migrate to Tongan waters between June and November and the warm waters of Vava’u are an excellent breeding refuge, particularly around the island of Hunga.
Tonga offers many good dive and snorkel spots, and is most renowned for its caves, drop-offs and pinnacles, as well as the opportunity of diving near whales. The island of Eua offers especially interesting cave diving spots.
There are a wide variety of accommodation styles available on Tonga, from backpackers, to serviced apartments, hotels guesthouses, and resorts. Tonga hotel industry has something to suit any budget and taste.
Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia, Fiji Airways and Samoa Air all offer services to Tonga. Air New Zealand flies five times a week from Auckland to Tonga. Virgin Australia flies direct to/from Sydney to Tonga twice a week and twice weekly from Auckland. Fiji Airways operates three times a week from Honolulu and Los Angeles through Fiji and four times a week to Tonga