Vava’u is an accumulation of Tonga’s northernmost islands. Hop on a plane for a scenic flight over the South Pacific to reach these beautiful islands.
It is said that these islands of paradise were created by the Polynesian demigod, Maui, who fished up the seafloor with a magic hook. The truth isn’t too far off legend, as the islands are composed of coral limestone which has been thrust to the surface due to tectonic activity some estimated 85 million years ago when the Pacific Ocean first formed. The island is made up of raised coral cliffs, creating a stunning rugged coastline, riddled with waterways, bays, natural harbours and channels.
The many atolls and sheltered natural harbours of Vava’u make it a haven for anyone interested in sailing. There’s endless little coves to explore and local skippers to take you on a real South Pacific adventure!
Vava’u has a tropical climate with a wet and dry season.
It’s warmer and wetter from December through to April. (24°C – 31ºC)
The climate is drier and cooler from May to November. (20°C – 29ºC)
The primary attraction of this remote slice of Polynesian paradise is the annual humpback whale migration, which allows you to swim with ocean giants!
All diving is done from a boat, and most dive sites are just minutes away. Dive sites are predominantly reef systems built on stunning underwater structures, such as chimneys, pinnacles, caves, caverns, drop-offs and swim-throughs. These reef systems are a mix of hard and soft corals providing the perfect habitat for bustling reef life such as reef fish of all sizes, sharks, nudis and crustaceans.
The water temperature in Vava’u remains quite steady throughout the year:
December to April: 28°C
A rashie or a 3mm wetsuit will be more than enough in this temperature.
May to November: 25°C to 27°C
A rashie or a 3mm wetsuit works well. However, if you are susceptible to colder temperatures, a 5mm wetsuit might work better.
Diving is possible all year round. However, if you visit during July to October, you will likely hear and perhaps see (if you’re very lucky!) migrating humpback whales who journey to the region annually to mate and give birth.
This dive site is home to pagoda-like coral formations, inspiring its name. Here you will find beautiful fields of red anemone and its resident clown-fish. There are tunnels and crevices to explore which play host to a whole array of species including sleeping sharks, emperor angelfish, triggerfish and lion-fish.
Max Depth: 27m
The clue is in the name! Two pinnacles host a whole range of pelagics, and with every dive, you will never know what you will see. It could be big beautiful reef sharks, schools of jack-fish or barracuda, or gliding eagle rays. The strong currents that bring these animals into the area make this dive quite challenging.
Max Depth: 50m+
A great site to visit if you're with non-diving friends as it also makes for a great snorkelling site. The cave is accessed via a 5m long swim through after which swathes of tiny reef fish greet you.
Max Depth: 18m
There are only two places in the world which will allow you to swim with Humpback whales, and Tonga is one of these places. Slip into the water right next to these giants of the ocean and feel their songs vibrate through you. From late July through to November these incredible mammals can often be sighted travelling with their young through the Islands of Vavau, some are even sighted off the Coast of Eua Island. The Humpbacks migrate from the southern oceans of Antarctica where they feed, through to the Northern Islands off Tonga each year to mate and give birth.
On a typical day out, you will have the opportunity to watch the whale's spectacular displays from the comfort of your whale watching boat. Watch as the Whales breach from the depths and display their massive Flukes.
Take the time to explore Tonga's only botanical garden, 'Ene' io Botanical Gardens, and immerse yourself in the beauty that is rife throughout the island. You can also visit the Mt Talau National Park, established in 1995 to protect Tonga's native flora and fauna.
If you enjoy sailing, then Vava'u is the destination for you! It's known the world over a yachties paradise. Whether you want to navigate yourself or hire a skipper for the day, a day trip sailing on the atolls is not to be missed.
If sailing isn't your thing, then another great way to explore the beautifully rugged coastline of Vava'u is on a kayak. There are numerous tours available, providing the opportunity to admire the island's natural beauty and come across marine species such as dolphins, turtles, sea birds, and even flying foxes.
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