Tuesday, March 26th, 2013
Pacific island paradise Kingdom of Tonga is 1 of just 3 global locations where visitors can can swim with humpback whales. The June 2013 return of these sea giants marks the 20th year that the tiny nation has offered this unique visitor experience.
Pacific island paradise the Kingdom Of Tonga continues to provide international independent travellers a unique opportunity to swim up close with Southern Humpback Whales twenty years after the first license was granted in 1993.
Unlike whale watching, swimming with Humpback Whales is an experience limited to just 3 locations worldwide, with Tonga being one of only 2 locations available in the Southern hemisphere.
Pioneered by Whale Watch Vava’u in conjunction with scientists from South Pacific Whale Research Consortium in the early 1990’s, there are now more than 10 operators in Tonga successfully offering conservation minded encounters with these majestic ocean mammals every year.
Late June, the Southern Humpback Whales return annually from the icy depths of Antarctica to the warm, unspoilt, reef protected waters of the Vava’u island group in Tonga to breed and give birth to their young.
Once hunted to near extinction, visitors to Tonga can now swim within metres of these giants of the sea for a once in a lifetime experience. Renowned for often swimming close to shore, Humpback whales also display spectacular open-mouth surface feeding techniques and courting males offer to females haunting songs of love, that can carry across the ocean for up to 100km.
Attracting travellers from across the world, these regulated whale watch encounters have become internationally successful, and feature in media as diverse as the UK’s BBC Life Documentary series & the Australian 'Getaway' TV Travel series – with Tonga’s whale watching being voted one of the top 10 experiences in the world.
In addition to whale watching and swimming, the unpolluted and crystalline waters of Tonga’s’ 150 islands offer world class intermediate surf breaks, stunning sailing experiences and unparalleled diving and snorkelling experiences. The island tropical waters offer visibility of up 30 metres with sea life including dolphins, turtles and the magnificent manta ray.
Priced from just AU$500, independent travellers can visit this unspoilt, unhurried and affordable Pacific island paradise with daily flights from cities throughout Australia.
The Kingdom Of Tonga offers accommodation to cater to all budgets, from basic backpacker shared rooms to exclusive resorts, with whale watching day tours that start at less than AU$300 to comprehensive weeklong whale and diving encounters travellers can share with conservationists, marine biologists and professional wildlife photographers .
Australian citizens are issued a visitor's permit (valid for 31 days) free of charge on arrival in Tonga with provision of an onward/return air-ticket.
For more information go to www.thekingdomoftonga.com
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