This expedition is limited to a maximum of 8 people, to minimise our intrusion upon the whales.
8 Day Humpback Encounter
8 Days 2790 ex Tongatapu
7 Nights Tongan Fale
The Mohe Vai & Pulú Vai dive boats.
Domestic flight to Ha’apai
There’s an air of excitement as one sits aboard a bobbing boat.
To cast my mind back, I’d swear, every time, that the boat had been deathly quiet, when in truth, there’d been the lapping of the waves, the gently humming of the engines before they were cut, even hushed conversation.
Suddenly (it felt like it was right on top of us, but I realise in my heart it wasn’t), this incredibly huge shape broke the water, launching itself higher than seems possible.
Seconds later, we’d be drenched in spray, as its gargantuan body struck the surface of the sea.
Dripping wet, we were all smiles.
We’d just seen our first Humpback up close, and wow, what a show it had put on!
“Regardless of its purpose, the humpback-whale song is the most complex piece of nonhuman composition on earth. Whether it’s art, prayer, or booty call, the humpback song is an amazing thing to experience firsthand, and I suspect that even once the science of it is put to bed, it will remain, as long as they sing, magic.”
When English explorer Captain Cook visited Tonga in the 1770’s, he was so well received that he dubbed them “the Friendly Islands“, blissfully unaware that some of the local populace had hatched a plan to assassinate him!
Ha’apai, a mix of some 51 islands, islets, reefs, and atolls (with fewer than 20 of them inhabited) is simply the perfect place to chill.
A wonderful place to just get away from it all, and also our base for our whale watching adventures.
Unsurprisingly, surrounded as we are by beautiful blue waters and largely untouched coral reefs, it’s also a snorkelling and diving delight!
It is from Ha’apai that we will encounter the amazing and beautiful Humpback whale. The Humpback are in Tonga to mate and calve during the southern hemisphere’s winter.
We deliberately avoid Vava’u, where most visitors flock to see the Humpback, both to provide a better experience for the guest, but also to consider the stresses on the whales.
Each day will be spent out on our specially designed whale watching boat, observing their movements and ultimately swimming with them.
This is an amazing experience, joining a pod of Humpback whales with their calves, swimming with these amazing creatures which weigh up to 36 tonnes and grow to 16 metres in length.
On other days we will explore the islands, swimming in pristine waters above untouched coral reefs, even joining the locals at church on Sunday (we ask only that you remain respectful whatever your beliefs).
This is total immersion into a place few visit or appreciate.
Arrive in Tonga via Fua’amotu Airport (TBU), and transfer to a domestic flight to Ha’apai.
The remainder of the day is yours to settle in and explore the area around the hotel. (D)
Whale watching! Today we’ll head out aboard either the Mohe Vai or its sister vessel, the Pulú Vai.
Both are 28ft fibreglass dive boats, with plenty of shade and cushioned benches.
Lunch will be taken on board, or on a deserted island beach. (B,L,D)
Another day of Whale Watching, or an opportunity to go Scuba Diving.
If there is a dive boat already heading out with spare room, you can go with no extra charge (the amount already paid for Whale Watching covers the Diving).
If there is, no scheduled dive (or there is insufficient space), then there is an additional cost applied of $145NZD, or $190NZD if gear hire is required. (B,L,D)
Today is yours to use as you see fit.
Snorkel, kayak, explore or relax with a good book and/or a cold drink on the this Pacific island paradise. (B,L,D)
This is the Sabbath in Tonga and very little happens.
Today we’ve the opportunity to dress up and visit a Tongan church service, before feasting on local cuisine in the afternoon and evening. (B,L,D)
Another day on the water seeking the amazing Humpback Whales. (B,L,D)
Another day to do with as you see fit.
Explore the island by bike, swim, or snorkel over pristine coral reefs. (B,L,D)
Today we’ll fly back to Tongatapu from Ha’apai for your flight home, or further adventures. (B)
- Domestic flights with Real Tonga (TBU-HPA-TBU)
- Airport transfers to and from domestic / international terminals
- Airport transfers to and from resort
- Food and meals for all period at the resort incl ‘rest days’ and on boat meals
- Snorkeling gear (mask, snorkel, suits, etc)
- 7 nights accommodation
- 3 days whale watching and swimming (optional SCUBA)
- Wi-Fi, use resort bikes & kayaks
- International flight to & from destination (TBU) or arrangements prior to flight to HPA
- Personal expenses (soft drink, alcoholic beverages, entertainment, personal expenses, etc)
- Tips to local guides
- Personal equipment
- Activities not noted as part of the itinerary (such as scuba diving, kite surfing, etc.)
- Resort meals if guest does not participate for personal reasons in WWS
July to October
It is important that we are aware that seasickness can be a factor.
If you suffer from seasickness we recommend sea sickness tablets, AND bring along a few packets of ginger biscuits or ginger sweets/lollies (these really work).
A Fale is a Polynesian thatched hut, traditionally built without walls (although in a modern, accommodation context, some improvements have been made)
Our accommodation will be in Pacific style Fales, with complete beachfront views and access. Step off the covered terrace onto the sandy beach or meander through lush tropical gardens to the main house, which contains the 24 hour reception, restaurant and bar.
Double Fales have a king size bed or 2 singles
Family Fales have two rooms and can be made up as a king bed and 2 singles, 2 king beds or 4 singles, a baby crib or pullout bed can also added
Each fale is equipped with electric lights and power points to charge personal electronic devices. Voltage is 220V and outlets are the same as Australia and New Zealand (plug adaptors are available).
Bathrooms are common and gender-specific, housed in a separate building, roughly 30m away from the Fales.
The food available is a full range of international cuisines.
Some Tonga specialties are occasionally available, such as raw fish or roasted pig, at the request of the resort.
The restaurant opens daily at 7:30am, with a buffet continental breakfast available until 9:30am.
Some menu items (including cooked breakfast) are available all day including items such as pizzas, burgers, wraps, salads, sandwiches, fresh baked pies and pastries.
The kitchen never closes.
For evening meals they offer additional choices, with daily updates on the menu board, with guests making their selection in the morning.
Mains range from fresh tuna grilled with sesame seeds, poached chicken in wine sauce, or fresh lobster fettuccine (the resorts cooks with seasonal produce, hence why the menu varies daily).
Desserts can range from tropical fruit salad to creamy browny, cheesecakes, ice creams.
Fresh bread is cooked daily, and where possible, local seasonal fruits (pawpaw, mangos, custard apple, pineapple, coconuts, watermelon) and other Tongan produce (fish, taro, kumara, potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes) are utilised.
Fresh meat sometimes comes from local farms, but mainly from NZ, as well as most wines.
If you have any dietary needs or requests, please advise and they will do their best to accommodate (they regularly cater to gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan guests).