Vava'u Trip: 8 Day Classic

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Vava’u Trip 8 Day Classic

"A fantastic trip which lived up to my high hopes. Thoroughly enjoyed each day ... and couldn't get enough of the beautiful Tongan setting (including the whales!). Thanks so much for a great time." - Michael, Australia

Vava’u Trip Package Components

Vava’u Trip Itinerary Overview

Note that the following sample itinerary is subject to alterations and delays owing to weather, sea conditions and/or logistical considerations.
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

Day 1: Arrival / Orientation

Meals: On own.
Accommodation: Boathouse Apartments or Pulekoleva Guesthouse (subject to availability).

A driver awaits your arrival at Lupepau'u Airport in Vava'u and transfers you to your accommodation. Shortly after check-in, your guide welcomes you and confirms the time (normally 4:00 p.m.) and venue for this afternoon's 45-minute orientation briefing. It is important that all participants attend this informative talk.

Day 2: Kayaking

Meals: L, D (B on own).
Destination: Vaka'eitu Island (Base Camp).
Paddling Time: 3-4 hours.

A safety briefing commences 9:00 a.m. at Kayak Base, located 2.2 kms east of Neiafu township, before departing for 5 nights of camping in the Vava'u Archipelago. Our journey begins at the entrance to the Port of Refuge, reputedly the most protected and beautiful harbour in the Pacific. Inside renowned Swallows Cave, don your mask and snorkel, slip over the edge of the kayak and marvel at the schools of tiny zebra fish and iridescent neon fish. Paddling southeast across a large bay, we reach our lunch stop on the southern side of Kapa Island where snorkellers can enjoy vibrant coral and fish life in the channel. We finish off the day skirting several small islands on the western side of the island group eventually reaching a large lagoon. Tonight's camp is on Vaka'eitu Island facing Nuapapu Island.

Day 3: Kayaking

Meals: B, L, D.
Destination: Nuapapu & Hunga Islands / Vaka'eitu (Base Camp).
Paddling Time: 2 hours.

Following a leisurely hot breakfast, we paddle across the lagoon to the village of Matamaka on nearby Nuapapu Island for a glimpse of village life in Tonga's outer islands. Visit the primary school and watch the women weaving mats in the village hall. Back at camp we snorkel amidst stag horn coral gardens teeming with reef fish. A short hike before dinner to the island's summit may be rewarded by a view of the setting sun and possibly humpback whales (July-October) in Pulepulekai channel.

Day 4: Kayaking

Meals: B, L, D.
Destination: Taunga Island (Base Camp).
Paddling Time: 3-4 hours.

After breaking camp and re-provisioning with water at nearby Lape village, we paddle northeast bound for Taunga Island. En route we may be fortunate enough to sight turtles, dolphins or humpback whales. The latter migrate annually to Tonga's warm sheltered waters (July-October) to breed and calve. Following a picnic and snorkelling at Sisia Island we carry on to inhabited Taunga Island. This evening, the villagers host an authentic Tongan feast consisting of 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. Tasting kava, Tonga's traditional ceremonial drink, and stories around the kava bowl provide an insight into the local culture.

Day 5: Lay Day

Meals: B, L, D.
Destination: Taunga Island (Base Camp).

Today, Sunday, is by Tongan law a day of rest and worship. Those who choose to attend the morning church service in Taunga village will be impressed by the splendor of the Tongan people's elaborate attire and harmonized singing. Tour operators are not permitted to offer guided physical activities anywhere within the Kingdom on a Sunday. Exploring on foot the inter-tidal zone of Taunga, Ngau and Pau Islands, interconnected by a sand bar at low tide, is a must. Bathing in the warm sea, reading, eating and socializing are also pleasant diversions on this enforced lay day.

Day 6: Kayaking

Meals: B, L, D.
Destination: Eueiki Island / 'Euakafa Island
Paddling Time: 1-2 hours.

This morning we break camp and paddle across a wide deep channel to nearby Eueiki Island where we picnic, snorkel and, at low tide, explore an immense cave with Tarzan-like vines cascading down through a hole in the cave ceiling. We can quench our thirst at Treasure Island Eco-Resort, named after the television survivor reality show filmed on location a few years ago. Back in our kayaks we paddle across the channel to neighbouring 'Euakafa Island with its distinctive table top summit. The afternoon is free for snorkelling, beachcombing and gathering dry coconut husks and fronds for this evening's bonfire. Bring along marshmallows and chocolate for a sweet treat!

Day 7: Kayaking

Meals: B, L (D on own).
Destination: Kayak Base.
Paddling Time: 3-4 hours.
Accommodation: Boathouse Apartments or Pulekoleva Guesthouse (subject to availability).

In the cool hours of the morning, our local guide leads us through lush bush up the mount, explaining traditional Polynesian culinary and medicinal applications of diverse plants along the way. Reaching the site of a royal tomb within the fortress of a Tu'i Tonga king our guide tells the legend of how the queen met her fate. On our paddle westward back to the Port of Refuge we stop for a picnic lunch and snorkel at 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 confident swimmers can snorkel across a channel to the entrancing Japanese Gardens. Back at Kayak Base, transfer by taxi to your accommodation property for a hot shower in preparation for tonight's farewell dinner at a restaurant in Neiafu.

Day 8: Departure

Meals: On own.

The trip concludes today with a transfer to Lupepau'u Airport.

Vava’u Trip At A Glance

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