7-Day Whale Adventure in Tonga

storyteller Guide

MEET YOUR STORYTELLER - Jono Allen

Jono's personal guided encounters aren’t called “tours” for very good reasons. He doesn't believe in the “take a seat and smile for the camera” approach, particularly when in the presence of something as special as a humpback whale. His encounters bring you as close as possible to the whales in every way, while guiding I provide a deeper understanding of the whales, their physiology, behaviour & understanding their personalities. As this knowledge deepens so does our ability to successfully approach the whales underwater, and most importantly to connect and engage with them, leading to that face to face encounter we all dream of.

We believe in supporting the local Tongan community of Vava’u, after all it’s the Kingdom of Tonga that allow us to swim with their gentle giants each year. I thrive to use local services, food, accommodation & staff wherever possible, without compromising on quality.

details

Itinerary:

The gateway to humpback whale paradise is back! Join Environmental Scientist, Freediver and Wildlife Photographer Jono Allen on an extraordinary journey to Tonga as we take you up close for the trip of our wildest dreams. Nothing compares to the magical experience of seeing humpback whales in their natural habitat.

Every year, thousands of beautiful humpback whales make their annual migration from the freezing feeding grounds of Antarctica, to the warm blue paradise of Tonga to mate and give birth. Despite their large size, weighing over 30 tonnes, humpback are inquisitive and intelligent gentle giants.

Stay on the tropical island of Vava’u to experience daily swims with the whales, photography masterclasses with Jono, breath workshops with Adam, and daily Tongan feasts. No SCUBA dive experience needed!


Day 1: Arrive Vava’u, Tonga

We'll be greeted at the airport by our transfer to the accommodation.

Meet-and-greet with your Storyteller guide, Jono Allen, over lunch.

Cultural Storytelling Tour and Island Walk. We'll also visit some secret local caves for photographic opportunities.

Tongan welcome feast!

Masterclass by Jono Allen on interacting with, and photographing, the whales in a responsible manner.

Overnight at Vava'u Resort.



Day 2 - 6 Diving With Humpbacks

Breakfast at Vava'u Resort.

Each day you will have up to 8 hours to dive with and experience the magic of swimming with humpbacks (don't worry, you have plenty of time to relax if you wish!).

We have access to a private boat and up to 4 people in the water at any time.

Interactive Underwater Photography Masterclasses with Jono Allen.

A delicious local Tongan-style dinner.

Overnight at Vava'u Resort.



Day 7: Depart Vava’u, Tonga

Breakfast at Vava'u Resort.

Jono Allen will present a final Masterclass on Photography Editing. Apply your new skills to your own whale photos!

Return transfer to Vava'u airport.

Sadly, it's time to say goodbye -with memories that will last forever.

Trip includes:

Accommodation
We find you the best pillows to sleep on
Food
Delicious meals as indicated
Transfers
We'll get you from A to B comfortably
Activities
Experiences to brag to your friends about
Storyteller Guide
The best part of the trip!
Tour Guide
Expert guide to help you with everything else
What's included

Included

6 nights Twin-Share accommodation on the tropical island of Vava’u (Vava'u Resort).

5 full days swimming with the whales (with plenty of optional time to relax).

Expert Storyteller and Photographer guide, Jono Allen.

Expedition Leader from Airguides.

Small intimate groups – maximum of 7 guests.

Snorkelling on tropical coral reefs.

Swimming and exploring hidden ocean caves.

Photography & Editing Masterclasses.

Tongan welcome feast.

Daily Breakfast, Lunch and Dinners.

Airport transfers.

Excluded

Alcohol

Visas & Travel Insurance

Perfect Weather

All Wildlife is Wild and can't be guaranteed

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frequently asked questions

Why swim with humpback whales in Tonga?

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Since whale swims started in Tonga about 20 years ago, there has never been an opportunity like this. With hardly any boats on the water, combined with the excitement of whales that haven’t seen people in years, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. After two long years of no tourism and a devastating volcano eruption, Tonga is understandably still recovering. That's why we think it's even more important to travel to destinations like Tonga, to support the local tourism operators. Be sure you'll be warmly welcomed 🌺. Vava’u is a small community orientated island in the northern region of the Kingdom of Tonga. The island is lush and green and surrounded by clear warm blue water. Given the remote location, Vava’u is relatively basic in nature. While it still has restaurants, cafes, a pharmacy, ATMs, bakery & 4G phone signal, it doesn’t have the kind of selection we have back home. If you’ve ever wanted to stare into the eyes of giants, and share uninterrupted moments with these majestical creatures, now is the time!

Do I need any SCUBA dive experience?

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You don't need any SCUBA dive experience for this trip. The whales come to the surface, so we can hang out with them there! You do have the option to 'free dive' if you wish (Jono Allen and your expedition leader can help with this). This allows you more time with the whales. Especially when they're moving in heat runs, or singing down into the depths at about 20 meters deep! 🐋

Do you have snorkel vests & safety equipment?

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Yes, we will arrange your snorkel equipment. The in-water snorkel guides are only too happy to help with any assistance and instruction!

What level of fitness is required?

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Many of the activities involve swimming and snorkelling so we recommend a moderate level of fitness. It is also recommended that you are comfortable in the ocean.

How do I travel to Tonga?

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Flights currently operate from Australia, Fiji & New Zealand. While flights options are limited we’re here to help you find the best flights all the way to Vava’u.

Can I speak to someone about this trip?

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We would love to speak with you about this trip, and answer any questions you might have! Contact our friendly team on (+61) 1300 590 838.
You will be speaking to a wonderful, actual human from Airguides. We pride ourselves on the personal service that we give, from the moment you begin planning your holiday, to the journey home!

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TRIPS OF A LIFETIME

Personalised to match your wildest dreams, we balance all-inclusive itineraries with the freedom to truly discover destinations in the most authentic way. Our promise? A once in a lifetime adventure.

PEACE OF MIND

Your trip includes everything you need for a dream holiday. We search the world for the most inspiring storytellers and handpick luxury accommodation, unforgettable experiences and transport you can trust.

STORYTELLERS

We design exclusive trips to lesser known destinations you won't find anywhere else. Discover the world and learn new skills on a guided adventure with your favourite photographer, filmmaker or adventurer.

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Trip Summary

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Storyteller

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

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What's included

Included

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

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Excluded

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

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How to customize formatting for each rich text

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itinerary

DAY 1: Launceston to Meander Valley

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Day 1: Launceston to Meander Valley

Welcome to Tasmania! Pick up your X-TRAIL and drive to Meander Valley for a spectacular stay at Falls River Eco Luxury. Located on the edge of a waterfall and surrounded by stunning natural bush land, this is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle and reconnect with nature.

-Included

Pick up your Nissan X-TRAIL

Pick up your rental car at Launceston Airport and ride high in this world class family size SUV. Designed to get you from here to there, and everywhere in between, the Nissan X-TRAIL is made for adventure. The perfect car for your Heartlands road trip, with room for 2 adults and up to 3 children. We are proud to partner with Drive Car Hire, a 100% Tasmanian-owned family business. Known for their second to none level of service, their goal is to make renting a car an easy, hassle-free experience.

-Included

Pick up your Nissan X-TRAIL

Surrounded by breathtaking scenery, with a wilderness waterfall at your doorstep, set discreetly into the natural bushland and cliff face, Falls River is known to be the best accommodation experience in not only the Meander Valley but also across Northern Tasmania. Purely a couples retreat, located on the edge of a waterfall and surrounded by stunning natural bush land, you will feel at peace with the world. The outdoor heated spa with uninterrupted views of the waterfall is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and reconnect with nature. Your Chalet offers a luxurious king size bed, well equipped kitchen with extensive breakfast provisions, wood fire pizza oven and a hot tub on the deck — just you, the stars and the sound of the waterfall. Falls River is nestled in 60 acres of Tasmanian bush land and backing onto a 700 acre bush land reserve.

- not included

Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary

We highly recommend to visit this Wildlife Sanctuary with a difference. Trowunna is a privately owned wildlife sanctuary where native Tasmanian fauna and flora thrive. Trowunna started caring for Tasmania’s native animals in 1979 and it continues to be at the forefront of conservation and education in the state. The Sanctuary is currently involved in five separate conservation breeding programs that will ensure the survival of these threatened and endangered species.



Day 1: Launceston to Meander Valley

Welcome to Tasmania! Pick up your X-TRAIL and drive to Meander Valley for a spectacular stay at Falls River Eco Luxury. Located on the edge of a waterfall and surrounded by stunning natural bush land, this is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle and reconnect with nature.

Activities

Included

Pick up your Nissan X-TRAIL

Pick up your rental car at Launceston Airport and ride high in this world class family size SUV. Designed to get you from here to there, and everywhere in between, the Nissan X-TRAIL is made for adventure. The perfect car for your Heartlands road trip, with room for 2 adults and up to 3 children. We are proud to partner with Drive Car Hire, a 100% Tasmanian-owned family business. Known for their second to none level of service, their goal is to make renting a car an easy, hassle-free experience.

Optional

Meander Wilderness Experiences

Are you ready for an epic adventure? Meander Wilderness Experiences offers the ultimate river sledding experience that will unleash your inner thrill seeker. The experience takes place on the Meander River. Your tour guides are passionate about their region and excited to share their wilderness playground with you. You will get up close and personal with this beautiful part of the world, taking on the bumps and turns of the pristine Meander River.

Optional

Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary

We highly recommend to visit this Wildlife Sanctuary with a difference. Trowunna is a privately owned wildlife sanctuary where native Tasmanian fauna and flora thrive. Trowunna started caring for Tasmania’s native animals in 1979 and it continues to be at the forefront of conservation and education in the state. The Sanctuary is currently involved in five separate conservation breeding programs that will ensure the survival of these threatened and endangered species.

Included

Falls River Eco Luxury - The Chalet

Surrounded by breathtaking scenery, with a wilderness waterfall at your doorstep, set discreetly into the natural bushland and cliff face, Falls River is known to be the best accommodation experience in not only the Meander Valley but also across Northern Tasmania. Purely a couples retreat, located on the edge of a waterfall and surrounded by stunning natural bush land, you will feel at peace with the world. The outdoor heated spa with uninterrupted views of the waterfall is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and reconnect with nature. Your Chalet offers a luxurious king size bed, well equipped kitchen with extensive breakfast provisions, wood fire pizza oven and a hot tub on the deck — just you, the stars and the sound of the waterfall. Falls River is nestled in 60 acres of Tasmanian bush land and backing onto a 700 acre bush land reserve.

DAY 2: Meader Valley

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Day 2: Meander Valley

Enjoy your continental breakfast. You will discover more of the Meander Region and its rich Aboriginal history today with Kooparoona Niara Tours, an authentic personally guided Aboriginal cultural tour that combines historic cultural sites whilst sampling some of Tasmania's freshest produce.

Activities

Included

Kooparoona Niara Day Tour

Discover more of the Meander Region and its rich Aboriginal history with Kooparoona Niara Tours, an informative and authentic personally guided Aboriginal cultural tour that incorporates exploring historic cultural sites whilst sampling some of the freshest produce that Tasmania has on offer. A delicious lunch is included.

Optional

Meander Wilderness Experiences

Mole Creek Tasmania lies in a valley between the Great Western Tiers and the Gog Range, a landscape of spectacular mountains, forests, waterfalls and caves! We highly recommend you don’t miss out on these nature’s wonders. Choose from three different Mole Creek Caves tours, each lasting 45 minutes. Enjoy the wonderful scenery and learn all about this fascinating and uniquely fragile world.

Included

Falls River Eco Luxury - The Chalet

Surrounded by breathtaking scenery, with a wilderness waterfall at your doorstep, set discreetly into the natural bushland and cliff face, Falls River is known to be the best accommodation experience in not only the Meander Valley but also across Northern Tasmania. Purely a couples retreat, located on the edge of a waterfall and surrounded by stunning natural bush land, you will feel at peace with the world. The outdoor heated spa with uninterrupted views of the waterfall is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and reconnect with nature. Your Chalet offers a luxurious king size bed, well equipped kitchen with extensive breakfast provisions, wood fire pizza oven and a hot tub on the deck — just you, the stars and the sound of the waterfall. Falls River is nestled in 60 acres of Tasmanian bush land and backing onto a 700 acre bush land reserve.

DAY 3: Meander Valley to Central Highlands

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Day 3: Meander Valley to Central Highlands

Drive to the Central Highlands and make a pit stop at Quamby Bluff, the northernmost peak in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. You will experience an indulgent stay at Thousand Lakes Wilderness Lodge for two nights.

Activities

Free Option

Quamby Bluff

On your drive to the Central Highlands, we recommend to stop at Quamby Bluff, the northernmost peak in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Enjoy panoramic views of northern Tasmania including the Central Plateau and Great Western Tiers. The walk takes you through the rainforest and over scree as it winds its way to the summit. The original inhabitants of the area were the Pallittorre Clan of the northern nation of Aboriginal Tasmanians. Lartitickitheker is the Aboriginal name for Quamby Bluff.

Included

Thousand Lakes Wilderness Lodge - Explorer En-suite Room

Thousand Lakes Wilderness Lodge is the gateway to your Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area experience. Smell the crisp air, taste the fresh stream water, touch the ancient dolerite boulders and see the wildlife and ever changing weather. The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area is a free-walking zone, so you are free to explore and discover the highlands and make it you own. Your stay includes King Premium accommodation, a welcome cheese board and glass of wine, two-course dinner each night, bike hire and daily breakfast.

DAY 4: Central Highlands

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Day 4: Central Highlands

Enjoy breakfast at Thousand Lakes Lodge and enjoy the alpine wilderness and crisp oxygen. Explore the western lakes of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area today on off road e-bikes, also known as “Fat Bikes".

Activities

Included

Fat Bike (E-Bike) Adventure

Explore the western lakes of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area on our off road e-bikes. Also known as “Fat Bikes”, they are the perfect way to unleash your adventurous spirit whilst still enjoy the comfort of a luxury spring seat and full front suspension. One of the benefits of e-bikes is they can roll over any terrain in the wilderness: sand, loose rocks, even snow and are adjustable to suit all fitness levels. The rider always has complete control over how much pedal power is provided and how much the e-bike system contributes. If you are going up a hill or feeling a little tired – no problem, just pedal less and dial up the power!

Included

Thousand Lakes Wilderness Lodge - Explorer En-suite Room

Thousand Lakes Wilderness Lodge is the gateway to your Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area experience. Smell the crisp air, taste the fresh stream water, touch the ancient dolerite boulders and see the wildlife and ever changing weather. The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area is a free-walking zone, so you are free to explore and discover the highlands and make it you own. Your stay includes King Premium accommodation, a welcome cheese board and glass of wine, two-course dinner each night, bike hire and daily breakfast.

Day 5: Central Highlands to Launceston

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Day 5: Central Highlands to Launceston

Welcome to Tasmania! Pick up your X-TRAIL and drive to Meander Valley for a spectacular stay at Falls River Eco Luxury. Located on the edge of a waterfall and surrounded by stunning natural bush land, this is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle and reconnect with nature.

Activities

free Option

Scenic Drive to Launceston

On the drive to Launceston, duck into the town of Tunbridge, where the convict-built 1848 Blackman River Bridge is Australia's oldest wooden span bridge. Admire Tunbridge Manor, one of three coaching inns that once served the town. Today it's a stately private residence. Hit Ross in time for lunch at one of its two bakeries. Bakery 31 is famed for its scallop pies, while Ross Village Bakery is known for its “world’s greatest” vanilla slice. Tasmania's merino industry began in the Midlands around Ross in the 1830s and is celebrated in the Tasmanian Wool Centre, which features a re-created shearing shed, galleries and one of the state's largest retail areas dedicated to woollens.

Free Option

Ross Bridge

The town of Ross is the perfect size to explore on foot. Stroll past the red phone boxes on the main street and pick up the phone to listen to audio stories of the town's history. Ross Bridge, built in 1836 by convicts, spans the Macquarie River. The 186 carvings on Australia's third-oldest bridge were considered so exquisite that the stonemasons were issued free pardons. End your walk at the Ross Female Factory Historic Site, a probation station for female convicts and their babies in the mid-19th century. It's one of four female factories built in Tasmania, and regarded as the most archaeologically intact female convict site in Australia.

Optional

Discover Brickendon

Brickendon is one of Tasmania's oldest farming properties, settled in 1824 by William Archer. In 2010, Brickendon Estate along with its neighbouring property, Woolmers Estate were listed jointly as a World Heritage Site being part of the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property. We highly recommend a stop in Brickendon to experience the remarkable rural landscape, magnificent heritage gardens, amazing collection of convict constructed buildings, family history and memorabilia.

Included

Stillwater Seven - Deluxe King

One of Launceston’s landmarks, the 1830s flour mill that has housed Stillwater’s award-winning restaurant offers more than just one of the best culinary experiences in Tasmania — now you can sleep at Stillwater! The architecturally designed and beautifully appointed rooms are nestled in the great bones of one of Tasmania’s heritage icons. Each room has waterfront views and its own unique character. Your comfortable Deluxe King suite features a a walk in shower, spacious vanities and a view of the Tamar River. A la carte breakfast is included and can be enjoyed in the restaurant or in your room.

DAY 6: Launceston

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Day 6: Launceston

It is time to head back to Launceston Airport and drop off your X-TRAIL SUV. If you can't get enough of central Tasmania, we can always extend your stay!

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frequently asked questions

Whats Included?

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• 6 days Nissan X-TRAIL SUV hire
• Falls River Eco Luxury - The Chalet (2 nights)
• Thousand Lakes Wilderness Lodge - King Premium (2 nights)
• Stillwater Seven - Deluxe King (1 night)
• Kooparoona Niara Day Tour
• "Fat Bike" rental
• 4 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners
• Welcome cheese board & glass of wine

PLUS:

• An exclusive travel guide with photography tips, hikes and essential pit stops
• A Tasmania print by Luke Tscharke, to hang in your home

Can I personalise this trip?

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We would love to personalise this itinerary for you. Contact our team on 1300 590 838 or send an enquiry.

Will there be a guide?

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No, this is a self-guided road trip. Our independent packages are designed to offer you the freedom to travel at your own pace.

The included day tours in this package do have guides.

Can I speak to somebody about this trip?

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You can contact our friendly team on 1300 590 838 (we are based in Australia).

Alternatively, fill out the above booking or enquiry form. We will get back to you with a personalised itinerary within 2 business days.

How many people can join this trip?

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We can organise this trip for small to medium groups (up to 15 people).

Please contact us if you have a larger travel group.

Is this trip family-friendly?

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Absolutely! We would love to personalise this trip for your family and make it extra special for your little ones (and stress-free for the parents!).

Contact our team on 1300 590 838 or send an enquiry. We will get back to you with a family-friendly itinerary within 2 business days.

Have a special occasion?

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Celebrating your honeymoon, birthday or another special event? Please do tell us!

We would love to make this trip extra special for you.

THE AIRGUIDES DIFFERENCE

WHERE LUXURY MEETS ADVENTURE

read more
TRIPS OF A LIFETIME

Personalised to match your wildest dreams, we balance all-inclusive itineraries with the freedom to truly discover destinations in the most authentic way. Our promise? A once in a lifetime adventure.

PEACE OF MIND

Your trip includes everything you need for a dream holiday. We search the world for the most inspiring storytellers and handpick luxury accommodation, unforgettable experiences and transport you can trust.

STORYTELLERS

We design exclusive trips to lesser known destinations you won't find anywhere else. Discover the world and learn new skills on a guided adventure with your favourite photographer, filmmaker or adventurer.