The Tonga archipelago is located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean in Polynesia. It consists of 176 volcanic and coral islands and small coral reefs. Beaches stretch along the coasts of the islands, most of which are composed of white coral sand. Black volcanic sand beaches can be found on volcanic islands. Tourists are attracted by small coral islands, where resort areas with bungalows are equipped, or uninhabited islands with quiet lagoons, where you can go for a day and where you can relax in silence.
Tonga Islands is surrounded by colorful coral reefs, home to a wide variety of fish. The archipelago is one of the most popular diving destinations in the South Pacific. You can dive in the local waters all year round, and it doesn’t matter what your level of preparedness is, because in addition to equipment, local dive centers can offer you training courses. Underwater visibility in winter can reach 40 m, in summer – 20-30 m. Diving depths do not exceed 30 m. Dive sites of the Tonga archipelago are famous for the abundance of caves and tunnels, underwater lava fields formed as a result of eruptions of underwater volcanoes, their coral gardens and walls, where not only hundreds of species of tropical fish live, but also large marine animals: sharks, stingrays and turtles. The shallow water between the coral reefs and the coast of the islands is perfect for snorkelling.
There is a dive center on the island of Tongatapu, which offers dive tours to the coral reefs surrounding the islands and to the island of Eua. Off the island of Eua, the so-called drift diving is common, when divers move along with the currents. The coastal waters of the island are home to some of the largest cave systems in the South Pacific, with about 45 dive sites in total.
On the island of Hapai there is only one dive center. In the vicinity of the islands of Hapay, you can find coral gardens, walls and caves, and in the western part – and a chain of underwater volcanoes Falcon, which are surrounded by lava fields. One of the best places in this region is the coastal waters of the island of Ofolanga. Here is the famous Arch. It represents the entrance to a cave 20 m wide and 15 m high. Night diving is also popular on the Ha’apai Islands.
On the island of Vavau in Neiafu there are several dive centers and there is a whole dive resort Dive Vavau. The Vavau Islands are one of the world’s most popular cave diving destinations. The walls of the local caves are covered with multi-colored soft corals, among which the most unusual fish live. The most famous dive sites of the Vavau island group are: Tuungasika Island, surrounded by coral gardens descending to depths of up to 40 m, coral formations resembling Chinese pagodas, and caves inhabited by whitetip sharks; the islet of Eukafa; Nuapapu Atoll with Mariners Cave and Sharks Tus; Cap Island with Swellous Cave. In the bay of Neiafu, on the shore of which the capital of the island group Vavau stands, since 1927, the cargo ship Clan McWilliam has been resting. The ship has a length of 128 m and is located at a depth of 22 m. This is a great place for wreck diving.
Humpback whales appear in the waters surrounding the Vava’u Islands each year during the winter months between July and November. They come here from Antarctica to mate and breed. You cannot dive near the whales, but you can snorkel at a distance of 30 m from them.
According to TOP-MEDICAL-SCHOOLS, the Tonga archipelago is located in the southern part of the Pacific Ring of Fire zone, which extends at the junction of the Indo-Australian and Pacific lithospheric plates, so most of its islands are of volcanic origin. East of it is the ocean trench Tonga, the maximum depth of which reaches 10882 m. The islands located along the western border of the archipelago are volcanic cones rising above the surface of the water, and these volcanoes are active or dormant. Since the region is located on one of the most active parts of the earth’s crust, earthquakes and eruptions periodically occur here. The most famous volcanoes in Tonga are those of the western part of the Ha’apai island group. Of interest here is the dormant volcano of Kao Island , which is also the highest point of the archipelago, and one of the largest and most active volcanoes of the state – Tofua Volcano , in the crater of which the lake is located. South of the island of Tofua, a chain of active underwater volcanoes stretches under water – Falcon, during the eruptions of which new islands appear, disappearing immediately after the eruption ends. Volcanoes are also located on the Niuas group of islands, remote from the capital of the country and inaccessible. On the island of Niuatoputapu, there is an extinct volcano Tafahi, and on the island of Niuafou, an active volcano is interesting, which erupted 4 times in the 20th century.