Tonga is the only South Pacific country not colonized by Europeans and remains the only monarchy in the region. It once ruled much of its neighbouring islands wielding enormous power throughout Polynesia. The islands retain its proud and rich culture and offer tourists a remarkable array of attractions.
Tongatapu is the main island, with its capital Nukualofa sitting on reclaimed land overlooking the lagoon. It is a large coral island, completely flat and covered in agricultural plantations. It faces a large lagoon, within which lie smaller truly enchanting coral islands with gorgeaous beaches. Most of these islands are uninhabited and only a couple offer tourist accommodation. Tongatapu boasts some splendid coastline, notably its blowholes and has the largest standing ancient Polynesian structure.
The timeless Ha’apai group are a tourist backwater, even for Tonga’s minimalist tourist approach. These are great islands to explore and interact with the local people.
Further north is Vava’u, the main tourist attraction. Here is one of the great sailing destinations in the world with a maze of deep water channels and tiny coral islands. It also offers the best place in the south pacific to watch humpback whales when they come to the calm protected waters to calve between June and October.
If ever a traveller wanted to really get away from the world, the remote island of Niuatoptapu is that persons dreram. Utterly isoltaed and boasting just one deluxe accommodation, Niuatoputapu offers stunning beaches, volcanic landscapes and a very traditional lifestyle.