Tonga - Parks & Marine Reserves
Tonga was the first South Pacific country to put a conservation programme in place with a series of national marine reserves. Entry to the reserves is free, but visitors are requested not to harvest or harm any of the marine life, and to take all their rubbish away with them. There are two national parks: ‘Eua National Park and Mount Talau in Vava’u.
- Hakaumama’o Reef Reserve, Tongatapu
The last reef north of Tongatapu Island, this 126 hectare area was created to protect the parrotfish, which feed on the coral reef.
- Pangaimotu Reef Reserve, Tongatapu
With stands of mangrove forest and eelgrass, this 48 hectare area on the eastern edge of Nuku’alofa harbour protects a wide range of shellfish and invertebrates, including sea cucumbers, marine snails and sea urchins, along with reef fish.
- Malinoa Reef & Island Reserve, Tongatapu
Located seven kilometres north of Nuku’alofa, this 73 hectare island protects a range of fish species including octopus, grouper, clownfish and damselfish. Visitors can book a day trip and picnic excursion to the island from nearby resorts.
- Ha’atafu Beach Reserve, Tongatapu
Located on the western tip of Tongatapu, 2km west of Nuku’alofa, the reserve is home to more than 130 different species of tropical fish and a variety of soft and hard corals. Ha’atafu is the only marine reserve accessible by road, and offers safe swimming and good snorkelling at high tide.
- Monuafe Island and Reef Reserve, Tongatapu
Some 6.4km north-east of Nuku’alofa, this 32 hectare island reserve protects beach vegetation, as well as butterfly fish and marine snails.
- Fanga’uta and Fangakakau Lagoons Marine Reserve, Tongatapu
This large 2835 hectare reserve protects a tidal, double lagoon complex on Tongatapu’s northern coast. There are large stands of mangrove forest and saltmarsh, along with shellfish, invertebrates and wading birds such as the Pacific reef heron, the Pacific black duck, the great crested tern and Pacific golden plover.
- ‘Eua National Park, ‘Eua
Magnificent ‘Eua National Park covers an 800 metre wide band of tropical rainforest, bordered on the west by sheer cliffs that drop down to numerous caves and chasms. The park is ideal for trekking with tracks leading through the rainforest down to the rugged coast.
- Mount Talau National Park, Vava’u
A 45 minute trail leads through the National Park and up to the summit of Mount Talau (131m), which towers high above the Port of Refuge. The park is home to the rare Fōkai (banded lizard) as well as the Tongan whistler and the flying fox.
Order your free copies of Jasons Tonga Visitor Guide.