Note that the following itinerary is a sample only and is subject to alterations and delays owing to weather, sea conditions and/or logistical considerations.
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner.
Day 1: Arrival/Acclimatisation/Orientation. Meals: On own. Accommodation: Matafonua Lodge (or The Resort at Billy's Place subject to availability). A driver is waiting at Salote Pilolevu Airport in Ha'apai to escort you to your accommodation. Please ensure that you send us your full flight itinerary so may arrange transport. Your guides present a 45-minute orientation talk commencing 4:00pm at your accommodation property. It is important that all participants attend this informative talk.
Day 2: Kayaking. Meals: B, L, D. Destination: Uoleva Island (Base camp). Paddling Time: 3-4 hours. Transport departs early this morning (exact time is tide-dependent) from your accommodation to our launching site near Pangai. Here, the guides give a safety briefing before we depart for the first of 4 days of kayaking. Today we paddle along the leeward shores of Lifuka and Uoleva Islands skirting pristine reefs and beaches. Tonight's camp is at the southern tip of Uoleva Island, rated by Outside Magazine as one of the top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world. Following lunch back at camp, confident swimmers may follow the guides on a drift snorkel along a spectacular coral wall at the edge of Auhangamea channel. There are also lovely pockets of coral and reef fish closer to shore.
Day 3: Kayaking. Meals: B, L, D. Destination: Luangahu Island. Paddling Time: 2-3 hours. Weather permitting, we paddle offshore to Luangahu, a tiny uninhabited island visited only by local fishermen and nesting sea snakes! Whilst paddling, we may be fortunate to sight turtles, dolphins, and humpback whales, the latter of which migrate annually to Tonga's warm sheltered waters to breed and calve. After a picnic lunch, we circumnavigate the island on foot observing makeshift fishermen's shelters and octopus drying trees. Those with sharp eyes may find remnants of whalebone in the sand dunes from Tonga's whaling days. After a refreshing swim and snorkel, we paddle back to our camp on Uoleva Island for afternoon tea.
Day 4: Whale Watching - Snorkeling. Meals: B, L, D. Destination: Lifuka Archipelago. Excursion Time: 5-6 hours. At 10:00 this morning our whale watch operator picks us up at our campsite. Their team of whale educators discuss humpback whale migration, mating, surface activity and song. From July through October we can observe the impressive acrobatic displays of these magnificent mammals who migrate from Antarctica annually to breed, give birth and nurse their new-born calves in Tonga's sheltered, warm waters. Outside the whale watch season, we enjoy a day of snorkelling, picnicking and sightseeing in the beautiful Lifuka Archipelago.
Day 5: Kayaking. Meals: B, L, D. Destination: Serenity Beaches Resort. Excursion Time: 3 hours. Take advantage of today's more relaxed pace to explore Uoleva island or work up an appetite paddling, fishing, snorkelling and/or beachcombing for this evening's resort meal. In the cool hours of the morning we stretch our legs with a walk through low-lying bush to the windward side of Uoleva Island. Late afternoon we paddle to nearby Serenity Beaches Resort, a small island hideaway to savour Serenity's delicious cuisine prepared with natural ingredients.
Day 6: Kayaking. Meals: B, L. Destination: Lifuka Island. Accommodation: Matafonua Lodge (or The Resort at Billy's Place subject to availability). Paddling Time: 3-4 hours. On our final day of paddling, we paddle north along the leeward shores of Uoleva and Lifuka Islands back to Pangai township where we started our journey five days ago. From the kayaks we observe traditional village life in including fish nets and traps, pandanus soaking in the sea to soften and bleach it in preparation for weaving mats, and colourful commuter boats piled high with baskets of market produce and cheerful locals returning to their villages. From here, we transfer by taxi back to your accommodation and hot showers!
Day 7: Diving or Sailing. Meals: B, L. Accommodation: Matafonua Lodge (or The Resort at Billy's Place subject to availability). Excursion Time: 5-6 hours. Join our preferred water sport operators for an active morning of scuba diving (two tanks) in Ha'apai’s marine wonderland or a day of sailing, snorkelling and exploring the myriad reefs and uninhabited islands of the Lifuka Archipelago. Along the way, naturalist guides explain the flora and fauna as well as local legends and myths.
Day 8: Mountain Biking. Meals: B, L, D. Accommodation: Matafonua Lodge (or The Resort at Billy's Place subject to availability). Excursion Time: 4-5 hours. Ha'apai’s flat topography and plantation four wheel drive tracks render it ideal for bicycling. Today, you and your guide(s) set off on quality mountain bikes to explore Foa and Lifuka Islands. Pedal through villages and observe locals going about their daily routines. Skirt plantations and learn from your guides the various tropical fruits and vegetables. Pause along the way at scenic viewpoints of the coastline and surf of the windward side. Visit one of the many stunning beaches and enjoy a swim in the crystal clear tropical waters! Finish off the day with a shower and happy hour back at your resort. This evening your guides join you for a farewell dinner.
Day 9: Departure. Meals: B. Your trip concludes today with transfers to Salote Pilolevu Airport and a warm farewell from your guides.
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Australia and Oceania Tonga Outdoor: Water Drifter Canoeing/Kayaking/Rafting Multi-activity
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