Known as the "Friendly Islands", Tonga is a picture-perfect Pacific getaway. The crystal-clear waters are perfect for snorkellingas well as taking in the coral reefs around the island of Tongatapu, you can even go swimming with humpback whales. The white beaches of the Niuas are dazzling, while the Vava'u archipelago boasts the Mount Talau National Park, perfect for hikers looking to take in the lush landscape. And let's not forget the capital city of Nuku'alofa, where you can wander the markets and soak up Tonga culture. Book a hotel in Tonga for a holiday to remember.
Air New Zealand offers indirect flights to Tonga from London Heathrow. You'll have to change at Auckland, and you'll eventually land at Fua'amotu International Airport, which is located around 35 kilometres from the capital city of Nuku'alofa. Getting to your hotel is straightforward, as taxis will always be there to greet the planesa bus service for tourists is also available if you want to save money.
As the country is made up of several islands, the quickest way to explore on your Tonga holiday is by plane. Chathams Pacific operate regular daily domestic flights between the islands. If you want to travel as the locals do, you could also opt to take the inter-island ferries. Bus services are available but be warnedthey don't operate to any timetables so you may have to ask locals for a few tips to avoid frustration! Taxis are probably your best bet, but they don't have meters so be sure to agree the fare before starting your journey. They're also unmarked, so look out for the letter "T" on the number plate to identify one.
There are plenty of hotels in Tonga to choose from. They range from backpacker hostels to plush seaside locations, so shop around online first for a deal that suits your budget. You could even opt for a homestay, which means you'll get to live alongside a local family and really immerse yourself in the authentic Tonga experience.
There are no end of holiday packages to choose from, which include flights, accommodation and tours of the various islands. They can offer a cost-effective way of really seeing all the islands have to offer on your Tonga holiday, so it's well worth having a good look around on the Internet to see what you can get.
Bear in mind that a lot of food in Tonga will have been imported, so you may be best off sticking to the wonderful, locally-caught seafood and locally grown fruit and vegetables, which are far more "Tonga" and may well be cheaper as well.
Updated 15th May 2013
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