Unique Experiences

Swimming with Whales in Tonga
whale swim2 - Swim with Whales

“Swimming with the whales was an experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life.”


Join expert whale biologist guide Dave Donnelly and his team for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

One of the most affordable whale swims in the Kingdom with a stellar track record, Dave and the team are experts at knowing when, where and how to ensure the best whale encounters without compromising your safety or negatively impacting on the lives of the mammals you’re encountering.

They want you to have the greatest time and leave with a life-changing whale swim encounter. Instead of targeting mums with calves, the team looks for groups of young animals who choose to spend time with the swimmers and enjoy showing off. Finding the right whales to swim with means being safer and getting a more rewarding experience.

“Dave’s commitment to the welfare and understanding of the whales, combined with his gift as a skipper and guide, make his whale swims a standout ethical ecotourism experience that I am delighted to recommend.”

Jeff Weir

Executive Director, Dolphin Research Institute

Tour Summary

The 8-day tour starts the moment you land in Tonga when you are picked up from Nuku’Alofa airport and transported to the private guesthouse. You will be met by your tour leader who, along with Tongan crew and hospitality staff, will be looking after you during your stay. While it’s possible to go the whole week barely opening your wallet, there are two non-swim days where you can explore on your own, relax, or take one of the optional day-tours on offer.

One of the non-swim days is Sunday, when Tongans are not allowed to work. On this day you can attend a local church service (an amazing cultural experience in itself), hang out at the accommodation, or take the optional snorkel day tour to picturesque Pangaimotu Island (lunch included). The other non whale swim day is the day the team choose as the least favourable for whale swims. There is an optional cultural tour that includes lunch, or you can relax at the accommodation and explore the markets.

For the most part however, you will be heading out about 8am to the harbour and boarding the vessel. Under the careful guidance of the whale specialist, you will spend time looking for and learning about whales. Finding the right whales means getting the best encounters possible. It just depends on the whales‘ mood and that’s where our experts make all the difference to your experience.

By booking with this tour, you’ll avoid the hustle and bustle of the other islands and get the chance to relax in the company of like-minded people with the experience, passion and commitment to deliver an outstanding experience without any hidden costs for you or the whales.

whale swim3 - Swim with Whales


  • 5 days whale swims on the best 5 days out of six (excluding Sunday)
  • Airport and vessel transfers
  • Expert guides with you 24/7
  • 7 b/fasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners
  • 7 nights’ accommodation in a secure private guesthouse with ensuite

For $150 per person, a cultural island tour including lunch, guiding and transport, can be arranged with our Tongan guides for your one non-whale-swim day (excluding Sunday).


International flights can be co-ordinated to suit your requirements and are additional to the tour cost.  There are regular direct flights from Auckland and Sydney, or if you’re coming from further afield let us know and we’ll be happy to arrange the connections.


When is the best time to go? Whale numbers peak from around late July to September. We only operate in the best weeks.

Do I need to SCUBA? No, SCUBA isn’t permitted with whales in Tonga

How fit do I need to be? You must be able to swim and you need a moderate level of fitness.

What are the age limits? We have had young kids and elderly on board. It depends more on your fitness and ability to swim.

What equipment do I need? We provide wetsuits and snorkelling gear but  you are welcome to bring your own.

from NZD $4589 pp


  • 7 nights’ accommodation
  • Transfers
  • Meals
  • 5 full whale-swim days
  • Expert guides with you 24/7



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whale swim - Swim with Whales

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