The Fua’amotu International Airport (TBU) is the key hub for Tongatapu, the main island in Tonga. This is a small facility, but you can find a lot of the necessary amenities that you’ll need whilst transiting. You’ll find that there are a few eateries and gift stores, a VIP lounge, duty-free shopping, and currency exchange.
There are no public transport options here, but you can arrange a private transfer online, or take a taxi into town for 32TOP ($20).
You can be sunning yourself on a Tongan beach simply by booking flights with airlines like Virgin Australia, Air New Zealand, Emirates, or Qantas.
Why visit Tongatapu?
In the azure waters of the South Pacific is the beautiful island nation of Tonga, and its main isle of Tongatapu. For travellers looking to explore all the charms of this archipelago, starting in Tongatapu will give you an opportunity to discover the culture and traditions of this kingdom, whilst still taking advantage of the extraordinary beauty of the island’s beaches, forests and waters.
Things to do in Tongatapu
The heart of soul of Tongan contemporary culture, Tongatapu is the perfect place to learn all about the rich heritage of this nation. Visit the Tongan National Cultural Centre, set in the Fanga’uta Lagoon, you can wander through the traditional fale buildings, and see the exhibits on the culture of the Tongans. You can also buy the handicrafts unique to this nation, and created by local artisans. Stay for the evening dance shows, they are a must-see.
Then stroll the Vuna Wharf, where you can see some of the colonial architecture of this city, such as the Treasure Building, and the commissioned Royal Palace. Further into the city you will see the St. Joseph’s Cathedral, which was built and maintained by missionaries.
Then make sure you see the incredible Lapita Sites, a civilisation that settled the South Pacific thousands of years ago. There are also their burial sites, or the langi, ancient tombs for the royalty of the Tu’i Tonga Empire.
Then dive into the natural sites of Tongatapu—quite literally—where corals and spooky shipwrecks can be found just off-shore. Or make plans to spend a day soaking in the sun on one of Tonga’s many beautiful beaches. Look out for Fafa, or Ha’atafu, both of which can boast the perfect white sands and blue waters adventurers dream of. If you’re after total seclusion, then arrange a boat trip out to the tiny perfect island of Pangaimotu.
Best time to visit Tongatapu
· June through October is the peak season in Tonga, because the weather is beautiful and warm, and dry. Expect daily averages of around 25°C for most of the season.
· December to March is the wettest and hottest part of the year, when cyclones can sweep across the country.
Arriving in Tongatapu by plane
· Sydney (SYD) offers non-stop routes to Tongatapu with Virgin Australia.
· Tongan Pa’anga (TOP).
· Visas won’t be required for Australians wanting to enter Tonga as long as you intend to stay less than 30 days. The Australian Foreign Affairs Department runs an excellent travel advice portal, and they have a page with specific information for visitors to Tonga, click here to view it.
Please note that information is correct as of December 2016
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