Neiafu (Vava’u) - General Info

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ALERT: A large eruption of the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha-apai underwater volcano ocurred on 15 January 2022, causing a tsunami and ash fall in Tonga. The eruption was one of the biggest in Tonga in the past 30 years. See news item for details and useful links for further information. Vava’u escaped relatively unscathed. The ash clouds didn’t quite reach the island which only got a light sprinkling of ash fall. The Tsunami also had no effect on Vava’u’s sheltered waterways.

Description:

The Vava’u Island group in the Kingdom of Tonga has a year-round climate suitable for swimming, snorkelling, diving and sailing.  Some islands are ringed by white sand beaches, while others have tropical forests, sea-level caves and dramatic limestone cliffs.

There are over 40 anchorages in the Vava’u group, all within 10 nms of each other. Neiafu, the main town welcomes cruisers with its mix of shoreside establishments and marine services.  It is located on the southern coast of Utu Vava’u, the principal island of the Vava’u archipelago.

Vava’a is one of the areas in Tonga which is now subject to Special Management Areas (SMAs) and Fish Habitat Reserves (FHRs). 

See the Tonga Restrictions section for full details

Cruiser Highlights:

Remote and truly unspoiled, the waters around Vava’u are crystal clear with visibility exceeding 100ft.  Many islands are uninhabited, a few have villages and a few have very small unique resorts with exceptional food. 

Abundant sea life with over 100 species of colourful tropical fish, giant clams, manta rays, sea turtles, spinner dolphins and from July to October – the migration of Humpback Whales.

In Neiafu VHF CH 26 is the cruisers’ channel with booster aerials which allow you to use this channel throughout the Vava’u group. In season a cruiser’s net operates at 0830 each morning and is very useful to find out about local services and what events are on.

Cafe Tropicana is now hosting an AIS Receiver on behalf on www.marinetraffic.com. Data can be seen on the website free.

It is possible to haul out and stay in Tonga during cyclone season at The BoatYard.

Regional Cruiser Information Centre Plus Port Office for SSCA, OCC and Island Cruising (NZ)

Greg Just
Email:  [email protected]
Phone +676 71322 (Tropicana Cafe)
Mobile:  +676 881 2347 or +676 7512347
VHF Channel 26

Entrance Notes or Cautions:

Be aware that Vava’u has 3 FADs (Fish Aggregating Devices) on the reef south of Pangi.

VVMRA Vava’u Volunteer Marine Response Association (Vava’u)
Volunteers monitor VHF and assist Police/NZ RCC with local assets.
VHF 16/26 “Vava’u Radio”
Brian Meikle – Cell +676 8465645 or +676 7565645

Position:

18°40.4’S, 174° 01.95’W (Entrance channel)

18°39.47’S, 173° 58.98’W (Annchorage)

Last updated:  February 2023


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Neiafu (Vava’u) was last updated 1 month ago.

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  1. September 12, 2019 at 9:11 AM
    sailslo says:

    Cruisers should be aware. On September 10th, 2019, the co-owner of the hideaway bar in neiafu physically attacked a customer at their establishment. During a conversation, she choked and tackled my wife. My wife now has bruises all over and is suffering neck and back pain from being tackled to the deck. We have reported the incident to the police, but thought the cruising community should know.

    1. September 12, 2019 at 9:17 AM
      sailslo says:

      This was not a Tongan, but an expat who owns a business. This should not be a reflection of neiafu or the people here. The community is wonderful and this is an incident not at all to do with the people of neiafu

  2. July 16, 2019 at 5:39 AM
    kalle says:
  3. December 12, 2018 at 1:53 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Brief updates from Royce Reid:

    Wanted to briefly update a couple of things regarding Tonga.

    The check-in in Vava’u was fast and simple. They told us how to extend our boat permit from 4 months to 12. the Customs guy also said there is a proposal under consideration to extend the cruising permit from 12 months to at least 18 months.

    The immigration people were friendly and fast and told us where to go to extend our 30-day entry visas. We hauled out in Vava’u at the boatyard there and it was fast efficient and friendly.

    We also got a quote for the bottom job and it was almost half price VS. New Zealand. they have also opened a chandlery there. If they don’t have it on hand they can order it tax-free from NZ and it arrives fast with fed ex ( within 7 days we were told ) or cheap by boat.

    But takes three weeks. We replaced flares and brought interior paint and some nuts and bolts. Not a huge shop but it has the necessities and arranges for specifics! All in all, it was an awesome easy experience and that’s not even commenting on how amazing the cruising there is!

    Royce Reid.

  4. November 7, 2018 at 7:06 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    I had arrived Saturday (the 3rd of Nov.) at 1530 local time and managed to get cleared. I was told by the Customs agent that they stay on a stand-by basis every Saturday till 1600.

    I managed to call when we were 30 miles away raising awareness of our arrival, and also contacted Vava’u Radio on VHF Ch 26 twice before arriving.

  5. September 20, 2016 at 8:51 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Posted on behalf of Clare Sudlow:

    Vava’u Bluewater Festival
    Calling all South Pacific Cruisers! – Don’t miss the 2016 Vava’u Blue Water Festival! A fun-filled week in Vava’u, Tonga from October 1st- 8th.

    Enjoy the friendliest of welcomes & a week of local festivities, parades, informative talks & parties centered around a mid-week fun cruisers race day.
    For full info visit: http://www.vavau.to/bluewaterfestival