Pacific Islands

Ask the Experts

Our instant guide to Pacific destinations brought to you by local experts, Jemma Senico and Jenny-Lee Scharnboeck.

May 27, 2019
Rebecca Murphy

Rebecca Murphy

May 27, 2019

Why Tonga? It’s authentic and has ‘real’ South Pacific experiences on offer. Known as the ‘Friendly Islands’ there are 176 to explore.  

Why is Tonga one of a kind? The only Kingdom in the South Pacific and the only Pacific nation to never lose indigenous governance or be colonised, Tonga’s uninterrupted authority over their own affairs has helped to preserve ancient Polynesian culture and has ensured that The Kingdom remains one of the world’s most authentic and unspoilt travel destinations. Tonga is made up of four main island groups: Tongatapu and Eua in the south, Ha’apai in the centre and the Vava’u group in the north.

Where to go for Tongan Culture?  Vakaloa dinner and show.

Your perfect Tonga day tour? A photo outside the Royal Palace, trip to the Mapu’a Vaea blowholes, Ha’amonga ‘a Maui Trilithon, Anahulu cave and beach followed by a one of Holty’s Retreat’s awesome hamburgers.

Where to buy gifts for friends and family? Langafonua Gallery and Handicrafts Centre.

What is Tonga’s best kept secret? Swimming with whales.

Where can you get a good coffee? Coffee Post Café Nuku’alofa.

Where to get your sweet treats?  Friends Café. 

Where wouldn’t you mind being deserted?  Definitely Ha’apai for an off the beaten track experience – 62 islands, a tropical paradise with deserted beaches, shallow lagoons, reefs and breaching whales. 

Where to stay for remote luxury? Sandy Beach Resort, Foa Island Ha’apai. 

Where to stay for romance? Fafa Island Resort.

Where to stay for families? Matafonua Lodge (Ha’apai) and Tanoa International Dateline Hotel (Tongatapu). 

Where to stay for surf? Holty’s Hideaway Ha’atafu.

What $ do you need?  The local currency is Pa’anga. Bring Australian or NZ dollars to exchange or use the local ATMs to withdraw local currency.

Getting there: Fiji Airways flies from Nadi with connections from Australia and NZ. 

Real Tonga offers domestic flights to Ha’apai, Vava’u and Eau (one of the world’s shortest commercial flights  – 7 minutes!) 

How to get around? Hire a car, book a day tour or when in Ha’apai, cycle. 

What’s the weather like? Tonga enjoys a climate that is warm and pleasant all year round. Any time of the year is a perfect time to visit and enjoy this unique Pacific island Kingdom and all it has to offer.

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