Swim with the humpbacks

July 30–Aug 7, 2024 (Full)
Aug 6–Aug 14, 2024 (Full)

What you need to know...

Our package –
  • 1 night, Nadi (Fiji, en route)
  • 7 nights guest house accommodation, Vava’U (breakfast included)
  • Breakfasts, Tongan feast on final night
  • Two days swim excursions around the Vava’U island group
  • Three days Whale Swimming Tours
  • oceanswimsafaris.com swim cap and t-shirt
  • Airport transfers in Nadi and Vava'U
  • Package cost from $A3,988 (twin/double share) or $A4,620 (single). (See table below for rates/room standard. Rates are kept under review in view of fluctuations in exchange rates.)

Both our Tonga – Swim with the whales oceanswimsafaris were fully subscribed for 2023, and already we've almost filled two in 2024. (See video at the top of the page for our report on this year's experiences.) If you wish to come with us in 2024, you will need to be quick: There are only 8 spots available on each Tonga oceanswimsafari (we are limited by boat capacity), so availability always is tight.  

See below for further package details... Click here

Enquiries... Click here

See what others say about our oceanswimsafaris... Click here

Please first check & Terms and Conditions... Click here

To book... Click here

Tonga is one of the few places in the world where 'free 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, or you're attached to a rope or netting.

In 2024, we will have three whale swimming day excursions and two ocean swimming days, around the Vava'U island group. We stay at a Tongan-run guest house  regarded 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

More package details... 

There are four categories of accommodation available. Most rooms can be configured for single, double or twin.

Building Details Conf. Facilities Available PP Twin/Dbl Single
 Lu'Isa Upper floor, front  Sgl/Twin/Dbl En Suite  1  $A4,260  $A4,880
Lu'Isa Upper floor, middle Sgl/Twin/Dbl En Suite


 $A4,212  $A4,780
Fale Detached  Sgl/Twin/Dbl/Trpl En Suite  2  $A4,120  $A4,620
Lu'Isa downstairs Private facilities Sgl/Twin/Dbl En Suite  1  $A3,988  $A4,620



We fly to Tonga through Nadi in Fiji. We overnight in Nadi then fly on to Tonga early the following morning.

You will book your own flights. Airfares are not included because they vary and depend on rates at the time of booking, and because many people prefer to make their own arrangements in getting to Fiji to then go on to Tonga.

You can get to Nadi however you like, but it's important that you are on particular return flights Nadi to Vava'U, to facilitate airport transfers. We will advise which flights to book between Nadi and Vava'U. The key is that we all must be in Nadi on the evening of the first date of our oceanswimsafari, ready to transfer to Vava'u in Tonga on Day 2. Return flights should be dated on the last day of the tour. (Fiji Airways currently is operating two flights per day between Nadi and Vava'U, but the aircraft used are not large and the airline often under-books the flights as an aid to managing weight on the aircraft. It's important that we be on the earlier flights on each leg, and to ensure that, you should get in early.)

You can book all the way through with Fiji Airways, if you like. The advantage of through-flights with Fiji Airways is that it avoids luggage collection in Nadi on the return flight. Qantas may also offer this. You should check with the alrline when booking to confirm this.


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. 

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

Our goals

We aim for every swim to be a pleasure, not a chore. We are not about swimming the longest distance in the shortest time. We are not about ticking boxes. We are there to soak up the experience of some very special places and moments and some extraordinary water and swim courses. We want everyone to enjoy their swims, no matter their ability. We are not here to satisfy obsessives who just want longer, faster, farther. We are inclusive, not elitist. If you set new, personal benchmarks along the way, then that's good, but it’s not the aim of the group overall.

This is why we build other activities into our oceanswimsfaris. The places we take you are rich in culture, history, cuisine, and character. We want you to sample as much of that as possible. Swimming is the catalyst for our presence, but there's much more to these places than that.

To join us to swim, you need to be able to swim 1km freestyle without stopping. You will find you can actually swim much farther than that once you're in the peloton situation. You don't need to be fast and you don't need to be a world-beater. You might not be a swimmer yourself; you might be accompanying a swimmer. Some people just come along for the ride. There still will be opportunities for you to swim in some locations. But when we're swimming as a group, we cannot afford to be stretched out or held back. If you get into the water to swim, then you must swim. We cannot afford for anyone to hang back admiring a coral head, fascinated by an anenome fish, mooching around in the one spot. If you see something interesting, by all means stop or slow down for a closer look, but don’t dwell too long. This is in the interests of the safety of the group overall.

We generally swim 1.5km - 3km in a session, depending on conditions and the experience and capacity of our group.

Enquiries and bookings

Enquiries... Click here

See what others say about our oceanswimsafaris... Click here

Please first check & Terms and Conditions... Click here

To book... Click here

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



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