A robust nation fit for a king…
As the only Pacific nation to never lose indigenous governance or be colonised, Tonga has earned its title of ‘The Kingdom’. While this name represents the thousand-year monarchy that continues to shape Tongan life, it also reflects the pride of a country that has fought to retain self-rule despite oceans of tenacious European explorers.
Tonga’s uninterrupted authority over their own affairs has helped to preserve many aspects of ancient Polynesian culture, and has ensured that The Kingdom remains one of the world’s most authentic and unspoilt traveller’s destinations. It is also regarded as one of the most laid-back, and is therefore an ideal stretch of the South Pacific to pull into the slow lane.
With over 170 islands and atolls forming the Tongan archipelago, natural assets from both land and sea are in leisurely abundance – though crowds and large-scale resorts are refreshingly absent. From the moment of touchdown onto the main island of Tongatapu, visitors feel embraced by the gentle rhythm of old Polynesia.
- The South Pacific’s only monarchy
- The first Pacific nation to greet each new day
- Christianity and worship - Sunday is a legally-bound rest day
- Family as the central unit of daily life
- Upholding the ancient Polynesian culture and lifestyle
- Tapa cloth making and painting, mat weaving
- Slow pace of life, from daily rituals to traditional dancing
- The national sport of Rugby Union
- Dramatic and untouched natural landscapes
- Active volcanoes, above and below sea-level
- Largest game fishing fleet in the Pacific
- Swimming or sightseeing with migrating humpback whales
- Diving, snorkelling, fishing, surfing, sailing, kayaking, yachting
- Hiking, horse riding, trekking
- Bird watching
- Exploring outer islands
- Location: 3290km north-east of Brisbane
- Flight time from Brisbane: Flights from Brisbane stopover in Sydney, Auckland or Fiji. Direct flights from Sydney are approx. 4.5 hours
- Flight frequency: Monday–Friday (Sunday is a religious rest day)
- Number of islands: 176 islands, 36 of the inhabited. They are divided into three main groups: Vava’u, Ha’apai and Tongatapu. To discover these island groups, click here (LINK)
- Political Status: Constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy. All land belongs to the crown.
- Language: Tongan (Official), English widely spoken
- Currency: The Tongan dollar is the Pa’anga
- Capital: Nuku’alofa
- Population: Over 105,000
- Weather: The average daytime temperature is 24°. Warmer and wetter months are December-April, cooler and drier other months.
- Original Settlers: Lapita people from Southeast Asia inhabited Tonga more than 3000 years ago. Polynesian culture and customs govern daily life.