Tonga - Swim with the humpbacks


July 31– Aug 8, 2023 (SORRY, FULL)
Aug 7–Aug 15, 2023 (SORRY, FULL)

Pacific island states have been touched only very lightly by Covid-19, but many of them are very slow, wary to re-open to international visitors. Fiji is open again, and we expect Tonga to re-open in late 2022. But if you wish to seize your place, you can make a fully refundable advance deposit for now, with firm payments made when the oceanswimsafari is confirmed. These oceanswimsafaris are very popular. That will cement your place without risk of losing your money if the travel restrictions continue. If you're interested, so you will need to get in quick. 

Tonga is one of the few places in the world where “swimming with whales” is allowed. Regulations state that swimmers can come as close as 5m to whales, which (who?) migrate to the islands to breed in the winter. In other places, you’re restricted to observing from a boat and from a much greater distance. And while some licences now operate to swim with whales in Australia, conditions attaching to them mean it's difficult to get up close and personal, as you can in Tonga.

In 2023, we will have three whale swimming day excursions, and two ocean swimming days, around the Vava'U island group. We stay at accommodation billed as "the best in Neiafu", Vava'U's main town.

The Vava’U group is an archipelago of islands, lagoons, channels and reefs. Many years ago, when we first ran a report about “swim cruising in the Pacific”, written for us by a US national living in Fiji, the 'swim cruising' was about Tonga, specifically about the Vava'U archipelago. All our oceanswimsafaris stem from the image that that report conjured in our minds. We first visited with ocean swimmers in 2015.

tonga ossc 15 teaser

Tonga oceanswimsafari package includes –

  • 1 night, Nadi (Fiji, en route)
  • 7 nights guest house accommodation, Vava’U
  • Breakfasts, Tongan feast on final night
  • Two days swim excursions around the Vava’U island group
  • Three days Whale Swimming Tours
  • swim cap and t-shirt
  • Airport transfers in Nadi and Vava'U
  • Package cost from $A3,630 (twin/double share) or $A3,860 (single). (NB: These costs are from 2019, the last time pre-covid that we ran our Tonga oceanswimsafaris. We are working on 2023 costs, but we don't expect them to vary much from the costs listed here. Rates are kept under review in view of fluctuations in exchange rates.)

There are four categories of accommodation available. The lowest rates include shared facilities. Most rooms can be configured for single, double or twin.

See table below for room category details.

This oceanswimsafari takes place within the humpback whale breeding season in Tonga, which is June/July through November. However, please understand that we cannot guarantee the co-operation of whales. That's up to nature.



Room categories






Twin/Dbl Pp



Upper floor, end - Harbour views


En Suite





Upper floor, middle


En Suite







En Suite




Lu'Isa shared

Shared facilities








Note that we are travelling to Vava'U in Tonga via Fiji, with an overnight in Nadi en route. Return involves no overnight, unless you'd like to stop off. Airfares are not included in the package above, but we are happy to advise. You can get to Nadi any way you like (on any flight you like), but you need to be on particular return flights between Nadi and Vava'U (there is only one per day). We will advise on these flights.

This oceanswimsafari is led by and Mrs Sparkle.

tonga whales swimmers
Mum and bub, with swim cobbers, Tonga.

Enquiries and bookings are your tour operators handling all your bookings in association with this tour, apart from your flights.

When you wish to make enquiries, please first lodge an Enquiry Form to give us basic information to allow us to advise you accurately... Click here

When you're ready to book, please first check terms and conditions... Click here

When you've checked our Terms and Conditions, you will be ready to lodge your Booking Form... Click here

With enquiries... This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you'd like to see how our first inaugural Tonga oceanswimsafari went in 2015... Click here

Our staff photographer, Glistening Dave, came with us in 2015 and later published a book with his best images. Have a geek at Dave's book... Click here

tonga ossc 15 02

Coming up...


Hellercamp Pty Ltd t/a
PO Box 719
Rozelle NSW 2039 Australia
ABN 97 163 965 704