Book this trip
Highlights -
  • Inspiring yoga sessions each day

  • Up close encounters with Tonga’s humpback whales

  • An entire week in a relaxing tropical paradise

  • Getting to know Serenity’s friendly Tongan staff

  • Pristine white sand beach on your doorstep

  • Snorkeling over coral reef teeming with life

 

Itinerary +

Day 1 - Tongatapu, Tonga / Ha’apai Island Group

The adventure begins! Meet your host and yoga instructor at the Scenic Hotel near the Fua’amotu International Airport on Tongatapu (Tonga). You’ll then connect with a half-hour flight to Queen Salote Airport in Ha’apai. Upon arrival, we are transferred by boat to the peaceful island of Uoleva.

Check in to the captivating paradise of Serenity Beaches Resort nestled amongst palm trees and pristine white-sand beaches.

Enjoy a calming Yin yoga session in the afternoon to help you settle into your new tropical home.

Meals included: Dinner

Day 2 - Ha’apai Island Group / Yoga / Whale Watching and Swimming

Start your day with a morning yoga session and enjoy a fresh, tropical breakfast.

Prepare for your first encounter with Humpback whales! We’ll board our vessel and after finding whales we gently approach the awe-inspiring creatures. If the whales are settled we will quietly slip into the ocean to swim alongside them. The whales mate and give birth here – you can be part of their honeymoon!

In the afternoon relax on the beach before enjoying an afternoon yoga class. Following dinner take a stroll along the beach beneath the full moon.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3 - Uiha and Uoleva Islands / Umu Feast

Embrace local Tongan tradition by attending a church service and observing their day of rest. In the afternoon we’ll share in local culture as you assist in preparing an authentic Tongan feast of roast suckling pork, fresh root vegetables, octopus, reef fish, and vegetarian dishes, all steamed in a traditional underground oven called an ‘umu’.

After dinner experience a traditional Kava drinking ceremony and enjoy traditional Tongan song and dance with our hosts.


Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4 - Yoga / Swimming with the whales

Begin another day with inspiring yoga and enjoy a special day of breathtaking whale interaction. You’ll finish the day with a calming yoga class peppered with deep breathing, meditation and sustained stretches to help you recover from your adventure.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5 - Uoleva Island / Snorkelling

Start another day with a beautiful yoga practice.  After a relaxing morning, we’ll embark on a snorkelling adventure and meet the local resident sea creatures.

After a post-adventure rest and yoga class, we’ll head to dinner, following the meal with stargazing on the beach.


Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 6 - Yoga / Swimming with the whales

Work on quieting your mind with another morning of yoga, followed by a luscious tropical breakfast. We’ll then head out to search for more Humpback whales and hopefully see some newly born calves! As you recover from you inspiring experience, you’ll indulge in a restorative Yin yoga class to calm and centre yourself before dinner.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 7 - Yoga and snorkeling

Morning yoga is followed by another opportunity to discover the ocean creatures of the Tongan reef. You’ll see plenty of our ocean friends: Moorish idol, butterflyfish, wrasse, and clown fish. You might even catch a glimpse of the elegant stingrays and the friendly sea turtles that inhabit these reefs.

In the evening, You and your group will join together for an afternoon yoga class and a final farewell feast. You’ll take a last look at the stunning sky full of stars as you enjoy your final walk along the beach.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 8 - Depart

You’ll enjoy your last tropical-fruit inspired breakfast, then be transferred by boat to Lifuka Airport for the flight to Tongatapu. You may have a chance to visit the markets and other local sights before saying Toki Sio (“see you later”) and boarding international homeward-bound flights.

Meals included: Breakfast

Team +

Trip Team

Mark Hunter

Yoga Instructor

Mark Hunter

Hatha, Yin and Yoga Therapy Mark’s passion for health is inspired by the bodies ability to both heal and transform itself to have a better quality of life. He is able to weave his years of experience as a remedial…
More about Mark
Pricing +

Trip Cost

$3690 (5-8 members)

Other Costs

Single Supplement: $750 NZD

Internal Airfare: $300 NZD (Tongatapu/Ha’apai/Tongatapu—subject to change)

Costs are based on double occupancy. If you wish to have a single room, you must pay the single supplement fee. If you are willing to share accommodations, we will match you with a roommate.

Trip Cost Includes

  • Expert leadership of trip leader and yoga instructor Mark Hunter and local guides.
  • 3 Days swimming with the humpback whales
  • All accomodation.
  • All meals listed as included in the itinerary, starting with dinner on the first day and ending with breakfast on the last day. (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner).
  • All land and boat transportation, airport transfers for passengers on recommended flights.

Trip Cost Does Not Include

International airfare; internal airfare within Tonga (see separate cost above); transfers for independent arrival or departure; any meals not specified after each itinerary day; airport departure taxes; optional activities; optional gratuities to leaders or staff; additional hotel nights necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors; pre-­trip expenses of medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, or passports and visas; and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $750.00

90 days prior to departure: Balance

Trip cancellation Insurance

We highly recommend that trip members purchase trip cancellation insurance. The insurance premium must be paid at the time of final payment or earlier.

Arrival & Departure +

Arrival / Departure

The trip officially commences on the morning of day one at The Scenic Hotel Reception in Tongatapu. From here we transfer to Tongatapu airport for our Real Tonga Airlines flight to Lifuka in the Ha’apai islands where we will transfer by boat to Serenity Beaches Resort and our home for the next 7 nights.
Your trip ends on the morning of the last day when you will be transfered by boat back to the airport for your flight to Tongatapu. Our Real Tonga Airlines flight from Ha’apai to Tongatapu arrives at 11:20am. If you are returning to Auckland this conveniently ties up with Air New Zealand flight NZ0273 departing at 2:20pm and arriving at 4:25pm.

Flight Arrangements

Trip members are responsible for making their own arrangements for international air transportation.
Virgin Pacific and Air New Zealand offer direct flights from Auckland to Nuku’alofa.
We have made a group booking at our hotel of choice, The Scenic Hotel for the night before the trip. Please indicate at the time of booking if you would like to stay at the Scenic Hotel on this pre trip night.

Please do not purchase your airline tickets until you are confirmed on the trip and have ensured your flight schedule matches our arrival and departure logistics information. Once your tickets have been purchased, please send us a copy of your airline schedule. Note: The full name on your airline ticket must match the name on your passport; otherwise you may be denied boarding. Please remember this when reserving your flights. In addition, your passport must be valid for at least six months after your date of return.

While as accurate as possible at the time of printing, this itinerary should be considered an approximate indication of the schedule and scope of activities and trip routing, rather than an inflexible schedule of events; it is subject to change due to circumstances beyond our control.

Lodging +
Serenity Lodge

Serenity Lodge

Few people and places in the world leave you inspired and refreshed like Serenity Beach Resort does. After owner Patti Ernst left upstate New York to search for a place she could build an inspiring home-away-from-home for wellness travellers, she…
More about Serenity Lodge
Additional Info +

What the trip is like

Although this trip allows you the opportunity to improve your yoga practice it is designed to still be a holiday and there is plenty of time for relaxation. You may opt out of any activity for more time to relax if you choose. Because one of the primary enjoyments of the trip is snorkelling and swimming with whales, trip members should know how to swim. However, non swimmers can be accommodated (please enquire). We will have a “refresher” snorkel in calm waters at the beginning of the trip. There is ample time for both scheduled snorkels and free snorkelling, and for the most part the water time is “at your own pace.”

Yoga 

Treat yourself to daily yoga in a tropical paradise under the expert instruction of our yoga instructors. Perfect for those with a desire to go to the next level of yoga experience, each class will be peppered with laughs, smiles and careful instruction to help enhance your yoga practice.

Daily morning Vinyasa practice combines meditation, breathing and graceful movement to help restore your energy and refresh your spirit to prepare you for each new day.

The evening restorative practice will help you contemplate the beauty and tranquility of each day with gentle stretching, deep breathing and concluding with peaceful meditation. Helping untangle the mind and soothe the spirit from the inside out, you’ll be well and truly ready for sleep every night.

Pairing the pristine beaches of this Tongan paradise with yoga and mindfulness, you’re guaranteed to better understand the meaningful ideas behind yoga and how to integrate them into your life when you return home.

Swimming with Whales

This once-in-a-lifetime experience will help you reconnect with nature and discover the magic of the ocean’s most gentle giants. Feel the all-consuming reverberations of whale song as it surrounds you in the indigo water, and watch as these graceful creatures swim right by you. We’ve chosen the dates very carefully to give you the best chances for swimming with new born whale calves. These ocean infants are curious and may even swim right up to you! Although there are no guarantees in nature, in over 10 years of operating whale swimming trips we have a 100% success rate!  Tonga, particularly the Ha’apai Islands, is one of the only places in the world where you can get up close and personal with Humpback whales in their mating and calving season, so don’t miss this life-changing opportunity to reconnect with nature and experience the true wonder of the world around you.

Tongan Culture

You’re an explorer and a wanderer. You want to become a part of a place when you travel, even just for a week. To give you the complete Tongan experience, we’ve ensured you’ll learn about true Tongan culture during this inspiring wellness adventure. From enjoying daily interactions with the friendly local staff to helping prepare a Tongan feast, you’ll relish this opportunity to participate in this happy Pacific culture.

Tropical Reef

Wander past endless coconut palms and dive into the warm sparkling ocean just in front of your accommodation to discover a breathtaking world of delightful sea creatures. A rainbow of colour from the countless fish to colourful coral gardens, you’ll explore the caves, caverns and tunnels as you search for ocean friends and curious sea turtles. In the comfort of your own snorkel gear, you’ll be free to discover this magical underwater world at your own pace and comfort level. Thanks to the remoteness of the mostly uninhabited Ha’apai islands, these coral reefs are perfectly preserved and free to grow and change in their own way, making the snorkeling here absolutely world class.

Environmental Responsibility

The thrill of close encounters with the whales comes with a responsibility: the need to protect these magnificent creatures and their environment from over-exploitation. While not as deadly as the whaler’s harpoon, our desire to get up close and personal has the potential to negatively impact their natural behaviour. We believe that understanding their behaviour is the key to a sustainable and mutually beneficial relationship. Our goal is to increase our understanding of their natural behaviour through passive observation and interaction, and to provide you with the opportunity to participate in this as part of your humpback whale experience. Once you have been lucky enough to swim with these majestic creatures, we are sure you also will become a strong advocate for their conservation.

Climate

The climate in Tonga is very pleasant, slightly cooler and less humid than Fiji and Samoa. The winter months (June to September) tend to be the best months for travel, with temperatures ranging from 70-90ºF. Mosquitoes aren’t as persistent in these months but we recommend bringing repellant, and lightweight long sleeved shirts and pants, especially for the evenings.

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