When to Swim with Whales in Tonga
Humpback whales are not in Tonga’s waters all year round. They migrate from Antarctica each year, arriving in Tonga between June and July in order to mate and calve. They then leave Tonga back for Antarctic waters around October and November, depending on the island group. Because, yes, each island group in Tonga has slightly different whale seasons. We’ll go through them all in this guide to the whale season in Tonga.
For more whale talk, head over to The Guide to Whale Swimming in Tonga.
Quick Tips for Planning Your Whale Swim in Tonga
- A successful whale swim is not guaranteed, with different days bringing different results, so book a multi-tour package to increase your chances for a better whale swim
- When booking a whale tour, make it a day or two later than the date you arrive on the island in case your flight/ferry gets cancelled for bad weather (which happens often)
- Also allow a day or two after your desired tour date, just in case your tour is cancelled due to unsafe conditions.
For more tips, take a look at the 10 Tips for Swimming with Whales in Tonga.
The Whale Season in Each Island Group
While the general consensus for the whale season in Tonga is that it lasts from June to October, this isn’t exactly true for every island group. It’s best to find out the whale season for the island group you are visiting to avoid disappointment. They are as follows:
- The whale season in Tongatapu: mid-June to end of October
- The whale season in ‘Eua: early June to early November
- The whale season in Ha’apai: mid-July to mid-October
- The whale season in Vava’u: mid-July to mid-October
For more about picking a destination to swim with whales, check out The Best Place to Swim with Whales in Tonga.
The Best Time to Swim with Whales
Now that you know the whale season in Tonga, when is the best time to swim with whales in Tonga? Our 10 Photos That Will Make You Want to Swim with Whales in Tonga Now gives a good insight into how whale behaviours change throughout the season, with some behaviours toward the end of the season making for better whale swimming than those during the beginning of the season.
Early into the whale season, say June and July, whale mothers tend to be more apprehensive about approaching boats while their calves are still newborn, so are more likely to swim away. In contrast, later into the whale season, September and October, calves are older and more inquisitive about swimmers, while mothers are more relaxed, which tends to result in better swims.
However, throughout the season, excitable juveniles playing together and performing “heat runs” are seen in Tonga’s waters, which can be observed at any time during the whale season. You’ll just need to be at the right place at the right time to experience this type of swim.
For tips like this, head over to How to Get the Best Whale Swimming Experience in Tonga.