Day 1: Arrival/Orientation. Meals: On own.
Accommodation: Hilltop Hotel, Port Wine Guest House or Harbour View Resort (subject to availability). A driver is waiting at Lupepau'u Airport in Vava'u to escort you to your accommodation. Please ensure that you send us your full flight itinerary so we may arrange transport. Your guides present a 45-minute orientation talk commencing 4:00 pm. at The Adventure Centre in Toula Village, 2.5 km southeast of Neiafu. It is important that all participants attend this informative talk.
Day 2: Day 1 of Kayaking. Meals: L, D.
Destination: Vaka'eitu Island (Base Camp). Paddling Time: 3-4 hours. A safety briefing commences 9:00 a.m. at The Adventure Centre before departing for the first of eight days of kayaking. Our journey begins in the Port of Refuge, reputedly the most protected and beautiful harbour in the Pacific. We paddle into renowned Swallows Cave, snorkel and picnic at Kapa Island, and finish off the day by skirting several islands on the western side of the island group. Tonight's camp is on uninhabited Vaka'eitu Island.
Day 3: Day 2 of Kayaking. Meals: B, L, D.
Destination: Vaka'eitu Island (Base Camp). Paddling Time: 1-2 hours. Following a leisurely hot breakfast, there is an optional paddle to the village of Matamaka on nearby Nuapapu Island. At low tide, we snorkel the magnificent Coral Gardens, adjacent to our campsite, where colourful coral gardens teeming with reef fish offer snorkellers endless hours of delight. A short hike before dinner to the island's summit may be rewarded with a view of the setting sun and possibly humpback whales (July-October) in Pulepulekai channel!
Day 4: Day 3 of Kayaking. Meals: B, L, D.
Destination: Ovalau Island. Paddling Time: 2-3 hours. After breaking camp we paddle to uninhabited Ovalau Island, reprovisioning with fresh water at either Lape village or Ovaka village en route. While paddling, we may be fortunate enough to sight turtles, dolphins, and humpback whales, the latter of which migrate annually to Tonga's warm sheltered waters to breed and calve. Tonight's camp is a sandy beach facing the setting sun with possibly the best view in the Vava'u Group.
Day 5: Day 4 of Kayaking. Meals: B, L, D.
Destination: 'Euakafa Island (Base Camp). Paddling Time: 2-3 hours. On today's paddle to 'Euakafa Island, our Tongan guide leads us through shallow, reef-strewn turquoise waters. This afternoon is free for snorkelling the exquisite reefs and combing the expansive beaches of uninhabited 'Euakafa Island, our base camp for the next two nights.
Day 6: Day 5 of Kayaking. Meals: B, L, D.
Destination: 'Euakafa Island (Base Camp). Paddling Time: 1-2 hours. In the cool hours of the morning, a guided walk to the 'Euakafa's distinctive tabletop summit takes us to the site of a legendary royal tomb within the fortress of a Tu'i Tonga king. This afternoon offers the opportunity for fishing, snorkelling, a short paddle or just relaxing in tropical paradise!
Day 7: Day 6 of Kayaking. Meals: B, L, D.
Destination: Taunga Island. Paddling Time: 1-2 hours. This morning, we break camp and paddle to nearby 'Eueiki Island (a.k.a. 'Treasure Island') for some wall snorkeling and exploring an immense cave with Tarzan-like vines cascading down through a hole in the cave ceiling. Following lunch, we cross a channel to Taunga Island. Here, in the evening, the villagers host an authentic Tongan feast consisting of roast suckling pork complemented by fresh root vegetables, octopus, reef fish, vegetarian dishes, and tropical fruits such as papaya in coconut milk, all steamed in an underground oven or 'umu. This gastronomic delight is followed by a traditional Tongan song and dance performance.
Day 8: Day 7 of Kayaking. Meals: B, L, D.
Destination: Umuna Island. Paddling Time: 3-4 hours. Today, we make our way to the eastern chain of islands and visit Ofu village before paddling around to Umuna Island, one of three islands comprising a fringing reef that protects the Vava'u Group from the Pacific swells. The summit of the island's precipitous, windward side affords a spectacular view of waves crashing against the cliffs, a sharp contrast to the calm idyllic waterways inside the reef where we paddle.
Day 9: Day 8 of Kayaking. Meals: B, L, D.
Destination: The Adventure Centre. Accommodation: Hilltop Hotel, Port Wine Guest House or Harbour View Resort (subject to availability). Paddling Time: 2-3 hours. On this final day of paddling, the journey westward takes us back to the Port of Refuge via Mala Island. Once the home of a cannibal demi-god who ate passing outrigger canoeists, Mala is now home to a friendly tourist resort! From the beach we can snorkel to the entrancing Japanese Gardens before returning to The Adventure Centre. From here, we transfer by taxi to your accommodation property and hot showers! This evening, we dine at a fine restaurant in Neiafu.
Day 10: Departure.
Meals: On own. The trip concludes today with transfers to Lupepau'u Airport and a warm farewell from your guides.
Note that the following itinerary is subject to alterations and delays owing to weather, sea conditions and/or logistical considerations. B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner.
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Australia and Oceania Tonga Outdoor: Water Drifter Canoeing/Kayaking/Rafting Snorkeling
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