Tonga

The Kingdom of Tonga is made up of exotic and unspoilt islands forming an archipelago of perfect sailing grounds for anyone who is seeking a more secluded and private charter experience away from it all.

Lying further south of her other South Pacific neighbours, a yacht charter in Tonga will make you feel as though you’ve landed in paradise.

The islands of Tonga are scattered across a 425km stretch of the South Pacific, 1500 miles North East of New Zealand. The archipelago of Vava’u in the north, with Neiafu at its heart is becoming increasingly popular in the yacht charterworld and is the starting location for your south Pacific boating adventure.

170 islands (only 37 of which are inhabited) create a cruising ground with easy line-of-sight navigation, fabulous sailing conditions, spectacular snorkelling and unspoiled pristine islands with bright colours, blue lagoons, fine white sandy beaches and lush green coconut palms.

Tongan people are among some of the friendliest people you will ever meet and welcome visitors with open arms.

Snorkelling here is like being in an aquarium – the variety of marine life with every imaginable shade of blue and green makes Tonga one of the world’s finest snorkelling and scuba diving destinations. The clarity of the water is astounding with visibility sometimes exceeding 100 feet.

If you are a diver you can enjoy the numerous underwater caves, a huge variety of corals, and hundreds of species of very colourful tropical fish, shellfish, rays, turtles and dolphins.

Humpback whales migrate to Vava’u each year, between June and August. Vava'u is one of the only places in the world, where you can still snorkel and dive with the whales.

On land the white sandy beaches are protected by the reefs resulting in perfect picture postcard settings.

A varied landscape of volcanoes, dramatic limestone cliffs and lush tropical rainforest waits to be explored.

Many of the islands remain uninhabited and provide the perfect secluded stopover.

Sailing in Tonga is suitable for all levels with varied itineraries to suit all experience levels. It is a very popular destination with honeymoon couples, families and those seeking an adventurous charter in one of the finest and most untouched yacht charter and sailing destinations in the world.



» Beautiful beaches
» Line of sight navigation
» Picturesque harbours
» Abundant marine life
» Diverse sailing options
» Stunning natural environment

Weather Conditions

Climate

General weather for Tonga

Tonga offers year round sailing, with the best conditions between April and November when day temperatures are in the 70s-80s F/21-36 C and the nights are in the 60s F/16-21 C. January to March is the wettest time, but is still pleasant most of the day. Calm seas combined with south-easterly trade winds from May to September and north-easterlies in the summer guarantee excellent sailing.

Average wind speeds from 10knts - 25knts.

The seasons in Tonga are opposite from those in the Northern Hemisphere—when it’s winter in the north, its summer south of the equator.

December-March is the rainy season, but it usually isn’t so bad that it should deter a visit.

Trade winds blow year round: A light sweater may be needed for evenings.

Tonga's climate is pleasant and slightly cooler than that of most tropical areas. Mean annual temperature in Nuku'alofa is 23.7° C, where a mean humidity is 76%, with water temperatures from 23°C in winter to 30°C in the summer (73° F to 86° F).

The tidal range is a little over three feet and tidal and wind-driven currents are generally insignificant, except in narrow channels. Navigation is line-of-sight from one island to the next - skippers need to navigate carefully amongst the reefs.


Average Conditions - Tonga


  JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC

High Temperature (c)

29

29

29

28

26

26

25

25

25

26

27

28

Low Temperature (c)

24

24

24

23

21

21

20

20

20

21

22

23

Precipitation (mm)

127

203

229

127

152

114

102

127

102

97

102

127

Average Sunshine Hours

6

7

6

7

7

8

7

7

7

7

7

6


Current Forecast:

Nuku Alofa
Day Temp Wind Wave Vis Weather
Thu
21st
22°C
SSE

5 kts

0.4 ft 3 km
Fri
22nd
22°C
SSE

2 kts

0.2 ft 1 km
Sat
23rd
23°C
SE

6 kts

1.0 ft 3 km
Sun
24th
23°C
SSE

7 kts

0.6 ft 4 km
Mon
25th
23°C
ESE

9 kts

1.0 ft 5 km

Information

Tides
In Vava'u there are two high and low tides in a 24-hour period. The mean tide rise and is 3.3 feet. When going ashore, make sure the dinghy is well above the high water mark and use the dinghy anchor on the beach to prevent a rising tide from floating the dinghy off the beach. Tide tables are provided on each yacht.

The tides sometimes cause strong currents in narrow passages, as in the entrance to Hunga. Please take note of the advice given in the guide regarding such locations in the cruising area. Care and normal seamanship should be used in your assessment of situations.

During periods of strong winds from a constant direction, surface currents will build up. An example of this would be during the southeast trades between April and December. These winds will build up a current across the southern part of the area from east to west. When steering a compass course, be aware these currents may set you off your intended course. Take a bearing with the hand-bearing compass to verify your position.

Weather Forecasts
- Radio: Radio Polynésie (RFO) on 94 FM, at 5.55am, 6.50am, 7.50 am, 10.30am and  5.50pm
- VHF 10: the base takes every day on the internet a report from Météo-France and a chart indicating all   centres of pressure.
- VHF 26: “Mahina Radio” 11.00 am, 12.00 am, 8.40 pm, 9.00 pm (English on request only). Mahina radio is on Channel 27 in Windward Island.
- By phone directly to Météo France: 36 70 08


How to Get There

Vava’u Airport
Servicing Airlines
Air New Zealand Tongatapu
Air Pacific Tongatapu
Polynesian Air Tongatapu 
PEAU Airlines flies twice daily to Vava'u, except Sundays from Tongatapu.
Major airlines to the south pacific area include Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific, Quantas.
Polynesian Airlines flies direct from LAX to Samoa to Vava'u.
Polynesian Airlines flies from Sydney direct to Tonga Tapu once a week.

Customs / Immigration Information
A VALID PASSPORT IS REQUIRED ON ALL HOLIDAYS
Expiry date must be no earlier than 3 months after your planned return.
A travel visa is not required for US citizens. Please confirm requirements pertaining to all other nationalities with the local tourist bureau or on checking the following link www.tongaholiday.com

Airport
Guests may fly into Fuamotu Airport on Tongatapu (TBU), then to Lupepa’u Airport (VAV) in Vava’u via Peau Vava’u Airlines. www.peauvavau.to

Airport Transfers
Transfers from the airport to the base are not included. Roundtrip airport transfers (airport/base) can be purchased in advance.

Taxes / Departure Tax
Departure tax: The airport departure tax is TS$ 25. Exempt are 24-hour transit passengers and children under the age of 12 years.

Car Rental
Car rental companies are available in Tonga for around T$70/day (22GBP).

General Information

Full country name: Kingdom of Tonga
Area: 748 sq km
Population: 120,898
Capital City: Nuku'alofa 
Official Languages: Tongan, English
Ethnic groups: Polynesian, Europeans
Religion: Christian (Free Wesleyan Church claims over 30,000 adherents)
Government: Constitutional Monarchy
Industries: tourism, construction, fishing
Tipping: Tongans do not expect tips, though no offence will be caused if special service is rewarded in this way.
Currency: Pa'anga
Electricity: 240V 50Hz. The standard voltage on all yachts is 12 volts.  In order to use electronic equipment that is 110v or 220v, you will need an inverter suitable for use in a cigarette lighter
Time: UTC/GMT +13 hours    
Festivals & Holidays
1 January: New Year's Day
25 April: Anzac Day
4 May: Crown Prince's Birthday
4 June: Emancipation Day
4 July: King's Birthday
4 November: Constitution Day
4 December:King George Tupou Day
Post Office
Post Office: A Post Office is located in Uturoa, 5 KM from the base.  
Monday to Friday: from 7.30 am to 3.00 pm during the week and from 8.00 am to 10.00 am during weekends.

Internet Connectivity
Available near to the base.

Mobile Phones
Your mobile phone will NOT work in Tonga. Phones are available locally to rent. 

Tourist Information Centres
Tongatapu
P.O. Box 37 
Nuku'alofa 
Tel: (676) 21 733 or 23 507
Fax: (676) 22129

Banks & Money Exchange

Banks
The Bank of Tonga has branches in Tongatapu and in Vava'u. Westpac and ANZ Banks in Vava’u have ATM’s. There is also a currency exchange at Nuku'alofa airport. Banking hours are 09.30 am to 3.30 pm - Monday through Friday. On Saturdays the MFB Bank is open in Neiafu town 09.30 am to 11.00 am. Banks remain open throughout the day. They do not close for lunch.

Currencies / Money Exchange
Currency: The Tongan Dollar is called the Pa’anga.
Pa'anga (T$) = 100 seniti. Notes are in denominations of T$50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1. Coins are in denominations of 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 seniti.
Exchange Rate valid as of: 21/8/2009
US $1 =1.98 TD
UK £1 =3.26 TD
€1 = 2.80 TD

Accepted Forms of Payment: Tongan currency is called Pa'anga. Foreign currencies are not readily accepted in Tonga except at the charter base. Credit cards (Visa and MasterCard only) are accepted at a few restaurants in Neiafu town.  In general, the shops in Neiafu do not accept credit cards.

Activities & Sports
In addition to exploring the Vava'u group under sail, the following list may prove helpful in planning other aspects of your time with us in Tonga. We are happy to arrange any extra activities for you at the base.

Fishing 
No Fishing permits are required for fishing. No spear fishing allowed. Fishing equipment is not supplied at the base, but can be hired locally.
Snorkelling or Diving

Snorkelling gear is provided at this location and is included in the charter price. Please check availability for children’s sizes.  You may wish to pack your own snorkelling gear. Scuba diving packages are available through local dive operators. Make arrangements either in advance with Beluga Diving or Dolphin Diving.. Reservations can also be arranged on arrival at the base.

Cruising Information

Marina Information
The marina has full facilities. The following facilities are at the Marina or within a short walking distance:
-provisioning
-fuel
-ice
-laundry
-boutique
-restaurant
-hotel
-shower
There are NO shops or stores on any of the outer islands.
Fuel - the only place that clients can fuel the boat and refill their water tanks is at the base.
At any stage throughout the cruising ground, clients will be no further than 20 miles from the base; therefore returning to the base to refill the fuel and water tanks will not be a problem.
The cost of fuel is $3.00 Pa'anga per litre - 1GBP))

Electricity Information
Ashore, 220V, 50 cycles. 110V is available at the base office using US two-prong outlets.
No shore power for yachts.
There is a 12V cigarette lighter outlet by the chart table on the majority of our yachts.

Sailing Area Restrictions
Restricted Zones
This information is covered in the chart briefing.
Cruising area for this base is limited to the Vava'u Group (which is a very large area!).
We ask that clients stay away from the windward (east side) of the Group.

Interesting Sites
Tonga's main island is Tongatapu, the home of the Royal Family and the capital of Nuku'alofa. Highlights include the Royal Palace and tombs, the spectacular blowholes in the southwest, and the ancient Lapaha area in the east.

Vava'u Group - With its beautiful beaches, sheltered anchorages and steady trade winds, Vava'u group is a sailor's paradise. There are numerous offshore islands to explore, excellent diving and fishing, and whalewatching in season.

Other things to do: Tongan Feasts; Whale Watching; Surfing; Historical Sites; Caving.

Provisioning (Food & Drink for your boat)
Provisioning can be pre-ordered and will be on your boat when you arrive.

Supermarkets
The nearest supermarket is located in Uturoa village.

Health & Safety
Travel Insurance 
We always recommend you take out adequate travel insurance. Please ask us if you would like us to help arrange this for you.

Vaccination and Immunization Information
Tonga is generally risk-free of contagious disease. 
At time of publication, an International Vaccination Certificate is not mandatory.

Please visit the Foreign & Commonwealth Office for current travel information.

 

 

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Why book your charter with us?

CharterSearch is a trading name for Ocean Marine Group and we are an independent yacht charter agency specialising in bareboat, skippered and fully crewed yacht charters. We offer a complete charter package with high quality luxury yachts including sailing monohull yachts, catamarans and powerboats at extremely competitive prices.

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