Vava'u 10-Day Island Explorer

"The experience of a lifetime ... lots of sun and paddling and most of all the scenes that you only see in pictures. I will have to go a long way to find a better, more rewarding experience. Thanks so much." - John, Connecticut USA

Kayaking in a Cave
Package Components
  • Return airport transfers between Lupepau'u Airport (Vava'u) and accommodation property. A transfer surcharge applies to Tongan Beach Resort or Mystic Sands Resort upgrades.
  • 2 nights’ pre-/post-tour accommodation at the Boathouse Apartments or Talau House (subject to availability). Optional upgrade to Tongan Beach Resort or Mystic Sands Resort.
  • A 45-minute orientation talk.
  • 7 days kayaking.
  • 7 nights camping (tents and mattresses included).
  • Snacks and 3 meals per day on the kayaking portion of the tour.
  • A traditional Polynesian feast in an island village.
  • A farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
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: Accommodation: Boathouse Apartments or Talau House (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 4:00pm) 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: 4-5 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 Island / Vaka’eitu Island (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.

Destination: Tapana Island / Ofu Island / Umuna Island (Base Camp).

Paddling Time: 3-4 hours.

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. Today's kayak destination is the eastern island chain with a lunch and snorkelling break at Tapana Island. We visit Ofu village en route to Umuna, one of three islands comprising a fringing reef that protects the Vava'u Group from the Pacific swells.

Day 8: Kayaking

Meals: B, L, D.

Destination: Kenutu Island / Umuna Island (Base Camp)

Paddling Time: 1-2 hours.

Today we stretch our legs on an optional bush walk to an interesting cave tucked into the hillside. Dare to swing from the vines and tumble into the cool brackish water! A gentle climb to the summit affords a spectacular view of huge breakers crashing against the precipitous cliffs - a sharp contrast to the calm idyllic waterways inside the reef where we paddle. After lunch, we paddle to adjacent Kenutu Island for some further exploration of this magic easternmost side of the Vava'u Archipelago.

Day 9: Kayaking

Meals: B, L, D.

Destination: The Adventure Centre.

Paddling Time: 3-4 hours.

Accommodation: Boathouse Apartments or Talau House (subject to availability).

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 and hot showers in preparation for tonight's farewell dinner.

Day 10: Departure

Meals: On own.

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

Guest Testimonials

‘Epeli, thank you for taking such incredible care of us on our 8-day sea kayaking trip to Vava’u. We loved seeing the beautiful islands, paddling on the pristine ocean and camping on the beach. We have planned this trip over the past 10+ years, and it was especially wonderful to spend this time together.

Thank you for the great guiding and excellent food,
Nicki Bart and Jared Nemes, Sydney, Australia September 2018

Thanks Ioane and George for a truly Tongan experience. We liked your casual guiding style.

Robert Hall Christchurch Kayak Club, New Zealand June 2019

Thanks Ioane & George for a great kayaking trip. Really enjoyed it and will remember it always. Really appreciated your great sense of humour Ioane. Always felt safe. You’re both excellent guides. Pity about the rain, but it was fun! Love your islands and warm water.

Annette Brixton Christ church Kayak Club, New Zealand June 2019

At a Glance
  • Vava'u Islands, Tonga
  • 10-day package
  • 7 Days Kayaking
  • 7 Nights Camping
  • 2 Nights Pre-/Post-Tour Accommodation
  • Snorkelling
  • Grade: Moderate


NZ$ 4490

Prices are New Zealand dollars inclusive of 15% Tonga Consumption Tax.

Private group departures upon request subject to guide availability.

Please read our flexible booking policy and booking how-to for more information

Departure Dates


  • 26 Jun - 05 Jul
  • 10 - 19 Jul
  • 24 Jul - 02 Aug
  • 07 - 16 Aug
  • 28 Aug - 06 Sep
  • 11 - 20 Sep
  • 02 - 11 Oct
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Pre-post-tour accommodation can be arranged upon request. See our package accommodation page for details.