Top 5 reasons you should add Tonga to your travel ‘wish list’

  1. Whether you like the ocean or not, Whale Swimming is an absolute must do in Tonga. Hearing the whales sing and communicate with each other is mesmerizing and also very eerie. We were out in the deepest blue water and there was nothing else around, just us and the whales. It’ll cost you $200-$450 depending on who you go with (I’d recommend Deep Blue Diving) but if you add it into your travel budget you’ll have no regrets. Deep Blue Diving operate off Tongatapu and Eua, so easy to access and the cheapest to go with.
  1. The people are amazing. They never hesitate to help you, and you never feel in danger. This was important for us, as it was our first overseas trip together to a place neither of us had been before which was a little daunting. We went on an Island Tour with Vei and he was so friendly, caring and professional. At the market, we asked lots of questions (feeling a little lost with all the different types of bananas) and the people working the stalls asked us where we were from and helped us find the good stuff!
  1. The snorkelling and diving is a real treat. We were lucky enough to stay on the western side of the island right at the top so we could walk off the beach and into a magical world of coral, urchins, starfish and hundreds of different types of fish. If you get the chance to snorkel off Fafa Island (ask to stay in the Huni Fale as it is the best beach to snorkel off) you’ll see huge Giant Clams, clown fish and their anemones and so many species of fish. If you make it to Eua, go for a reef dive. It isn’t too deep (18m) and the coral is pristine. You’ll even hear the whales singing!
  1. There is an abundance of activities and places to visit in Tonga. I enjoyed going into Nuku’alofa and wandering around the streets looking for t-shirts, food and souvenirs. Head to Friend’s café and the craft store next door, and don’t miss the Talamahu market. Downstairs is all the fruit and vegetables and there is a huge array of jewellery, clothing, tapa and carvings on display for you to purchase. Go upstairs if you want to find a snazzy t-shirt!
  1. It is super easy to get around. Grab a bicycle or a scooter from your resort or lodge and go exploring. You can rent a car (although it’s about $60 TOP for a Tongan Driver License) or hop on the bus for $2. We utilised the bikes, free shuttles from our lodge and caught the bus home from town which was good fun. There is a Ferry to Eua most days of the week and speed boats to Fafa and other islands that are close by. Taxis are available but the ones we saw were in very bad shape so if you plan to do a lot of driving, grab a map and a rental car.

I hope this livens up your travel bug and gets you online booking some tickets for next year’s whale season!

Much love,

Callum and Steph Heilala


Continue Reading