Tonga Driving Advice and Car Hire Info

Driving in Tonga

Tonga drives on the left hand side of the road and speed limits range from 35kmh near schools to 50kmh on main roads. Unfortunately, foreign visitors can’t officially use their own licence to drive in the country and must obtain a temporary driving permit. Most rental companies will probably rent you a car on production of your local licence but you may be fined if stopped by the police without a local permit. This allows you to drive a vehicle to the same level you can drive at home, for up to 3 months. You can obtain a local visitor’s driving licence on the production of your home country’s driving licence from the following locations. They can be purchased for TOP$40 from the following locations-

Land Transport Division office at The Ministry of Infrastructure building located on Alaivahamama’o Bypass Road, Nuku’alofa.

The Police Station on the corner of Tu’i and Fatafehi Roads, Neiafuon the corner of Tu’i and Fatafehi Roads.The station is open from 8.30am-4.30pm Monday to Tuesday, and 8.30am-12.30pm Wednesday to Friday

Ministry of Infrastructure in Nuku’alofa on Alaivahamama’o Bypass Road after turning off Taufa’ahau Road at the corner with the Little India restaurant.

It’s possible that some car rental companies may be able to help you arrange a local licence before you arrive in Tonga. I’ve heard of some that will and some which say it’s not possible.

Tonga is an archipelago comprising 169 islands, of which 36 are inhabited. 70% of the country’s 100,000 inhabitants live on the main island of Tongatapu, which is the location of  Nuku’alofa , the capital city. There are 680 km of highways in Tonga, around a third of which are paved. Main roads on Tongatapu are -Liku Road, which hugs the South and West Coast of the island; Hihifo Road which runs from Nuku’alofa to Ha’atafu at the Northern tip; Taufa’ahau Road which runs east from Nuku’alofa to join Liku Road; and Loto Road which runs west from Ha’ateiho.

Roads in Nuku’alofa are paved and are generally in okay condition with some scattered pot holes. Roads outside the main town and on other Islands are usually non paved and may deteriorate after rain. Smaller roads will be unlit and animals and pedestrians walking in the road make night driving hazardous. There are no traffic lights in country; drivers are required to stop at all roundabouts and allow vehicles on the right side to proceed.

As far as I know, there are no car ferries between Tonga’s islands at present.

Although I try and keep the information in the site updated as much as possible, in a rapidly moving world, situations can change daily. Therefore please use the site as an approximate guide, and in conjunction with other resources in order to form your view on driving conditions, roads, safety etc.

Tonga Car Rental –
Avis are the only international firm operating in Tonga and have a branch in Nuko alofa

We currently have no local car rental partners in Tonga. If you are a local car rental company who would like to feature on please check details on our Partnering page or contact us on

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