Tonga Geography and Climate

The Kingdom of Tonga is an exotic country located in the Pacific Ocean far from the continents. On the world map, the archipelago is a few small dots, but in fact these are the peaks of majestic underwater volcanoes overgrown with corals. Tourists flock to the islands of Tonga all year round. They come here to relax on the secluded sandy beaches of small islands, go diving among coral reefs and underwater caves, catch a wave on the surf or go on a trip on a yacht. In winter, from July to November, the eastern part of the archipelago turns into an observation platform, from where you can watch huge humpback whales that come to these waters to breed.

The best time to visit the islands is from May to October, when there is the least chance of rain and tropical cyclones.

The official languages of the kingdom are Tongan, belonging to the Polynesian group of languages, and English.

Geography in Tonga

According to top-engineering-schools, the Tonga archipelago is located in the southwestern part of the Pacific Ocean in Polynesia south of the Samoa archipelago and southeast of the Fiji archipelago. It consists of 176 volcanic and coral islands and reefs, stretching from north to south for 800 km. The total area of ​​the state is 748 sq. km. Only 36 islands are inhabited. The archipelago is divided into 3 large island groups – Tongatapu, Haapai and Vavau. In the very north, 400 km from the Tongatapu Islands, there is a small island group of Niuas, which also belongs to the kingdom. The Tonga

archipelago is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire zone, which extends at the junction of lithospheric plates, so most of the 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. These islands include Fonuafou, Tofua, Cao, Lateiki, Late, Fonualei and Niuafou. The volcanic islands are mountainous. The highest point of the country, reaching 1033 m, is located on the island of Kao. 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. The eastern chain of islands are coral-covered cones of extinct volcanoes. These include the country’s largest island – the island of Tongatapu (259 sq. km). The coral islands are dominated by a flat terrain with heights up to 20 m.

Climate in Tonga

The Tonga archipelago has a humid tropical climate. On the southern islands, annual temperature fluctuations reach 5 degrees, and on the northern islands they are practically absent. The hottest month is February. In February, on the northern islands, daytime air temperatures reach 30..32 degrees Celsius, on the southern islands – 29..31 degrees Celsius, and nighttime temperatures in the north of the archipelago drop to +25 degrees, in the south – up to +23 degrees. It is a little cooler in July-September, at this time on the northern islands during the day the air warms up to +28.. +29 degrees, and at night it cools to +23 degrees, in the north the corresponding figures are +25 and +18 degrees.

The rainy season is from November to April. At this time, powerful tropical cyclones come to the region, which bring stormy weather and often cause destruction. The greatest amount of precipitation falls on the northern islands – up to 2500 mm per year. On the southern islands, up to 1700 mm of precipitation falls annually. The rainiest month is March, when up to 300 mm of precipitation falls. From May to October, relatively dry weather is established with a predominance of southeast trade winds.

Best time to visit:
The best time to visit the islands is between May and October, when there is the least chance of rain and tropical cyclones.

Ha’apai Island Group

Approximately 100 km north of the Tongatapu Islands in the geographical center of the Tonga archipelago is the Ha’apai island group. It consists of 68 islands. Most of the islands are coral. In 1995, the entire Haapai group was declared a protected area, so there are not many places to accommodate tourists.

The largest island of the group is Lifuka (area 11 sq. km). In the southwestern part of it is the administrative center of the Haapai Islands – the village of Pangai. . There are practically no attractions on the island, mostly tourists go here to go diving. But still, the island of Lifuka can boast that it was here that Lapita culture pottery was discovered, which indicated that people appeared on the archipelago as early as the 1st millennium BC. There is only one dive center in Pangai village, Ocean Blue Adventures, which organizes dives in the Ha’apai Islands. In the coastal waters of the islands, you can see coral gardens, walls and caves. One of the best diving spots in this region is the coastal waters of Ofolanga Island. Here is the famous Arch. It represents the entrance to a cave 20 m wide and 15 m high. In addition, a chain of underwater volcanoes Falcon stretches in the western part of the Haapai island group. which are surrounded by lava fields. This region contains some of the most spectacular dive sites in the archipelago. It is worth recalling that 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. It is the western part of the Haapai island group that is located on the most active part of the earth’s crust. In addition to underwater volcanoes, the dormant volcano of Kao Island is interesting here, which is also the highest point of the archipelago, and one of the largest and most active volcanoes of the state – Tofua Island Volcano. Tofua Island is very picturesque: the slopes of the volcano are covered with tropical forests, and beaches of volcanic sand stretch along the coast. Tourists are invited to climb to the top of the volcano, in the crater of which there is a freshwater lake.

Tonga Geography