Swimming with whales Tonga

Dive Tonga - Swim With Whales

Tonga Diving Tonga Diving Tonga Diving Tonga Diving Tonga Diving

Tonga is the only remaining Polynesian Kingdom. The Kingdom of Tonga’s history dates back over 3,000 years with many ancient traditions continuing respectfully through to the present day. Tongan culture is centred around its value of the monarchy and of family. Tongan people are known for their friendly hospitality and rich cultural inheritance showcased through Tongan dance, music, art and food passed down through the many generations.

Life on Tonga’s archipelago of 176 islands (36 of which are inhabited), remains unhurried and peaceful, little effected by the hustle and bustle of the modern world. Here you will discover pristine white sand beaches, stunning coral atolls, deserted islands, active volcanoes and impressive mountains, national parks with untouched rainforests and caves, rugged cliff faces, ancient lava tubes and authentic villages.

Underwater, scuba divers can explore the Kingdom’s spectacular coral reefs, caves and arches in crystal clear water. In addition, Tonga is one of the few places in the world where you can consistently snorkel with humpback whales on a seasonal basis between July to October, making Tonga a much sought after holiday destination during this period.

  • Tonga Geographical Information

    Dive Map of Tonga

    Tonga lies directly south of Samoa and about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand in a NNE/SSW orientation. The islands range from high volcanic mountains to low coral terrain, creating scenic variety unlike anywhere else in the world.

    The Kingdom of Tonga is divided into four island groups – Tongatapu, Ha’apai, Vava’u and Niuas.

    The largest island, Tongatapu, where the capital city of Nuku’alofa is located, is approximately 2,000 kilometres (1,245 miles) northeast of Auckland, New Zealand. It is more developed than its neighbours but still maintains an unhurried and peaceful lifestyle.

  • Things to do in Tonga

    Swim with the Humpback Whales

    Tonga is one of only three places on earth where swimmers and snorkelers can jump in the water and get up close to humpback whales. Humpback whales migrate from their feeding grounds in Antarctica, along the New Zealand coast, to the Kingdom of Tonga where they stay from July through October to court, mate and calve. This represents an incredible and unique opportunity to witness these enormous and majestic creatures in their natural environment.

    Other water activities include scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, kitesurfing and surfing, fishing, sailing and relaxing at the beach. Numerous tours are available to discover Tonga’s history, culture, traditions, natural landscapes and wildlife on each island group.

  • When to Travel to Tonga

    Tonga enjoys a more comfortable climate and is slightly cooler than most other tropical areas. The Kingdom also receives less rain than other tropical areas and has a temperature average of 26°C from May to October. The wetter more humid, tropical cyclone season lasts from November to April when temperatures can rise above 32°C. The temperature and rainfall increases the further north travelled into the island group.

    Trade winds from the east-southeast bring year-long cooling breezes in the late afternoon and early evening. Tropical rains fall from December through February, coinciding with the warmest summer months.

    By March, the water temperatures can reach as high as 28°C, and then drop down as low as 21°C during their winter months. Scuba diving is conducted year round.

    The best time to swim with the Humpback Whales is from July to September.

  • Scuba Diving in Tonga

    The visibility in Tonga is stunning, often between 25 – 40 metres and sometimes reaching up to an incredible 70 metres. The dive sites are varied throughout Tonga. Pristine coral gardens are home to colourful, tropical fish life, while spectacular coral reefs include amazing caves and arches. Tonga’s volcanic past, present and future are showcased in the unique underwater tunnels, chimneys and swim-throughs.

    Underwater exploration often comes with the living, breathing soundtrack of murmuring whalesong from courting humpback whales from July to October.

    Tongatapu has a protected lagoon and reef, with several marine reserves and island parks suitable for novice divers. There are some good passage dives, drift dives and drop offs with abundant fish life for advanced divers. Off the island of Eua are sea mounts with vertical walls and some exciting caves to explore.

    Ha'apai Group has a very diverse underwater topography featuring caves, canyons, caverns and tunnels, vertical walls and drop-offs, fast flowing passes and colourful coral gardens. Rich hard coral growth, gorgonian fans and soft corals can be found throughout.

    Vava'u Group has a good mix of diving to cater for all tastes. There excellent drift dives along walls and drop offs, good coral reefs featuring giant sea fans, interesting caves and sheltered passages. The wreck of a 128 metre copra steamer, The Clan MacWilliam, sits upright in 22 metres right off Neiafu.

Guide to Tonga

  • General Details
  • Entry & Visa Requirements
  • Medical & Health Requirements
  • Currency
  • Baggage
  • Duty Free
  • Weather
  • Clothing
  • Electricity
  • Banking
  • Language
  • Religion
  • Water
  • Shopping
  • Tipping
  • Diving
  • Departure Tax

General Details

The Kingdom of Tonga is located in the heart of the South Pacific, east of Fiji and to the south of Samoa and just west of the International Dateline. Tonga consists of 176 islands of which only approx. 37 of the islands are inhabited. Tonga is divided into four main groups-Tongatapu in the south, Ha’apai and Vava’u, then Niuas in the extreme north. Tongatapu is the largest island on which the capital city Nuku’alofa is located.  
The international country code for Tonga is 676. Tonga is 13 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Entry and Visa Requirements

 (subject to change)
U.S. , British, Commonwealth and most E.E.C visitors do not need to obtain a visa before arrival for stays of up to 31 days.

Medical and Health Requirements

Hospital services are available in Nuku’alofa, there are also dispensaries, chemists and pharmacies available throughout Tonga. There is no recompression chamber in Tonga, the closest one is located in Fiji. There are no major health risks in Tonga. It is recommended to make sure your hepatitis and typhoid shots are up to date. Remember that some medications can make you sun sensitive, so extra care must be taken to ensure that skin is protected from sun burn. Please check with your physician for the best precautions to be taken. (For further details contact Travel Vax on 1300 360 164).


The currency of Tonga is Pa’anga (TOP) also known as the Tongan dollar. Foreign exchange is available at most banks and major hotels. Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards are accepted at most hotels. 
1 AUD = approximately 1.60 Pa'anga (June 2017)

Baggage (International flights Ex Australia)

Virgin Australia -23kg (except Saver Lite fares - Nil baggage)
Air New Zealand-1 or 2 pieces max. 23kg per piece depending on airfare purchased  (Subject to change without notice)   
Real Tonga(domestic carrier in Tonga) - 23kg with int’l ticket w/i 24hrs, otherwise 15kg. Excess baggage fees will apply.
(Subject to change without notice) 

Duty Free

The allowance is 200 cigarettes or 250g of tobacco, 1 litre of  alcohol and a reasonable amount of perfume.


Tonga enjoys a more comfortable climate and is slightly cooler than that of most tropical areas. It receives less rain than other tropical areas with an temperature average of 26°C from May to October. The wetter more humid season lasts from November to April with temperatures rising up to 32°C.


The emphasis is on light and casual clothing but not too brief in public places. Swimwear is not permitted in the public areas of hotels. It is illegal for any person not to wear a shirt  in public places. Remember to cover up with light cotton clothing at dusk and dawn to prevent mosquito bites. Sun protection is absolutely essential.


240 volts AC, Plug I – same as Australia. (For further details refer to  http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/).


Trading banks are ANZ and Westpac Bank of Tonga, located on the three main islands, including ATM facilities. Banking hours are 09.00am to 4.00pm Monday to Friday, with some opening on Saturday mornings, hours may vary from island to island.


Tongan is the official language however English is widely spoken and used in formal meetings.


This devoutly Christian nation honours Sunday across all islands, the Sabbath is declared sacred in Tonga. Most non-tourist services are closed on Sunday.


The urban water is safe to drink from the tap, however sterilisation is recommended and bottled water is sold everywhere. In the tropics it is important to drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids to avoid dehydration.


The main shopping centre is at the Commercial Centre situated in Nuku’alofa. There are also smaller shops selling clothing, souvenirs, handcrafts and gifts throughout the smaller islands. Tongans are renowned for their handi crafts, particularly elaborate tapa cloths. Shops in general are open between 8.00am to 5.00pm weekdays, and Saturday mornings. Most villages have a small shop open daily with general supplies.


Tipping is neither expected nor encouraged.


Diving is good in any of the major island groups. Tonga is renowned for it’s caves, dropoffs, pinnacles and visibility that in places reaches 40 metres, making the snorkelling and diving spectacular. A 3-5mm suit is recommended. Dive operators supply tanks, weight belts and dive guide services. There will be an extra charge if equipment hire is required.

Departure Tax

There is currently no locally paid departure taxes for Tonga.
Dive BrochureTravel Tips Location Specials

Tonga Dive Specials

No current specials

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