Affectionately called the ‘Friendly Islands’, the Kingdom of Tonga has been tipped as the new, New Caledonia by leading assistance provider, Allianz Global Assistance (AGA).
Tonga is a treasure trove of authentic island culture, history and natural beauty. Known for its whale watching, diving and snorkelling – it’s no surprise that Aussies are flocking to the south pacific nation for tropical getaways.
AGA data shows that the number of Australian travellers heading to Tonga has quadrupled in the last two years – with August, September and December proving to be the most popular months to visit.
Allianz Global Assistance General Manager Travel & Medical, John White said, “With more than 170 islands, travellers will never run out of exotic beaches to explore in Tonga. Given its year-round summer climate and close proximity to Australia, it’s a great destination for Aussies choosing to escape the Australian winter or even head there for their summer break.
“Although Tonga enjoys a relatively low crime rate and practices strict Christian beliefs, visitors should still be vigilant when walking at night as like any destination, tourists can be a target. Vaccinations are also needed before departing and travellers should be cautious not to offend the religious locals.”
Tips for visitors to the Kingdom of Tonga:
- Petty crime and theft occurs in Tonga so be sure to secure all valuables and avoid flashing expensive or desirable items. We also recommend using caution when walking at night, travelling in groups if possible and avoiding desolate areas.
- Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before heading to Tonga. This includes measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, varicella (chickenpox), the polio vaccine, as well as the the yearly flu shot.
- The hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for all travellers aged over one. It should be given two – four weeksbefore departure. A booster should be given six-12 months later to ensure long-term immunity.
- The typhoid vaccine is also recommended for travellers staying with friends or relatives in small cities or rural areas, or those with an adventurous appetite.
- Be sure to ask your doctor what vaccines and medicines you need based on where you are going, how long you are staying and what you’ll be doing.
Health and Safety
- When walking on the beaches of Tonga, keep an eye out for sharp coral. Sometimes it’s hard to spot as its buried in the white sand. While swimming, it’s a good idea to wear sandals in the water. The jellyfish aren’t easy to see but they sting!
- While casual wear is acceptable, it is respectable to wear modest clothes in towns and rural areas. Beachwear should be confined to the beach and travellers should respect the locals. It is illegal for men and women to go shirtless in public. Travellers should also remember that Sunday is regarded as a sacred day.
- Invest in comprehensive travel insurance before you embark on your trip – Always take a copy or two of your insurance policy details and ensure emergency contact numbers are accessible throughout the trip so you can act quickly if something goes wrong.