Best Diving in Tonga

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Tonga, is a miniature kingdom in the heart of Polynesia, is one of the world’s few remaining constitutional monarchies. Ruled by His Majesty King Taufa’ahau IV Tonga, Tonga preserves ancient traditions alongside policies designed to stimulate economic development and improve the well-being of the 96,000 Tongans. Tonga is famous for the humpback whale migrations through its waters.

Every year humpback whales undertake one of the longest migrations known to man, which takes one population from their feeding grounds in Antarctic waters to their Tongan breeding grounds. These whales form part of an Antarctic feeding population south of New Zealand and Australia but little is known about the migration path of this small population and their movements between the Southwestern Pacific Islands. A chance to see these majestic animals is an experience of a lifetime. You also cannot beat the diving in Tonga. The waters are crystal clear with the visibility averaging 100 ft plus. A big plus for the diving is the incredible variety found all in one group of magnificent islands. Tonga diving offers hard corals that truly are untouched, and soft coral gardens with rainbows of colors. One of the best life size Gorgonia fan dives in the South Pacific is located in Vava’u, a small island group in the north of the Kingdom of Tonga. Unique caves and caverns, spectacular underwater archways, large black coral trees, and wall dives that vanish into the inky blue. Also the wreck of the Clan McWilliam which sank over 65 years ago sitting upright and is still intact. There are over 50 islands in the Tonga group so one can only imagine all the wonderful dive sites that are still being discovered and explored.

Best Diving Destinations in Tonga

When you are not whale watching here are some dive sites all located in Vava’u.

King Neptune’s Sea Fan Grotto

The size of the sea fans on this dive are beyond belief. Flute fish and butterfly fish swim gracefully through the fans as the Clown Fish triggers dart back and forth. After passing the fans you enter “Clown Fish Heaven” home for hundreds of anemones and every size of clown fish possible. This dive is a photographer’s dream.

Mariner’s Cave

This cave can not be seen above water, it can only be found underwater. There are two entrances to the cave, the diver’s entrance at 50 ft and the snorkeler’s entrance at 12 ft. Once inside that cave you slowly surface into the most magnificent 40 ft high chamber with beautiful rock formations and stalactites. Inside the chamber it will turn into a blue-green fog then clear as the swell goes in and out making you think your mask has fogged up. Only seconds later the air is crystal clear again. The adventure repeats itself with each swell. Magic! Truly Magic!

Hunga Magic

This is the dive site for the soft coral lover. Deep magenta, pastel pink and sunny yellow soft corals abound throughout this dive.

The Clan McWilliam

The beautiful old copra steamer sank in the 1920’s with brass portholes, mast and crows nest still in place. The wreck is teaming with bat angelfish, and snappers galore. Legend has it that the Captain and Chief engineer went down with her. Some say as they descend onto the upper deck they can feel the presence of the Captain watching over his mighty ship.

Split Rock

This dive is appropriately named. This 40 x 40 ft rock looks as if God took an ax and split the rock in half. Divers can swim through the middle of the split. The hard coral reef is adorned with Christmas tree worms of every color. A couple of friendly white tip reef sharks bid you farewell from their cave near the end of the dive. sharks bid you farewell from their cave near the end of the dive.

When to Visit Tonga

The Season for Humpback whale trips is from July – November. The scuba diving season is best from March – May.

Travel tips

Feeling inspired to visit Tonga? Check out our Tonga travel guide and start planning your next diving trip!

Dive Sites Reviews in Tonga

Been diving here? Please share your experience using the comment section!

Liveaboard Reviews in Tonga

Been diving here with a liveaboard? Please share your experience using the comment section!
Miki August 23, 2017

I’d like to book whale Swimming and one diving from 30th Aug to 2nd Sep.
Is that available?


Xu August 25, 2017

Dear Paul & Karen,

I’m Xu, and my friends and I are really interesting about going to Tonga next August. Four of my Chinese friends came to Tonga 6 years ago, and they recommended you. We can’t make sure how many ppl we will have for the trip, but probably 5-10, and we’d like to do 3 days for whale watching and 1 day for scuba diving. Could you please recommend us a cost-effective hotel near your store? And if it’s possible, could you please provide some discount? Thank you so much! Looking forward your replying!


samira August 27, 2017

Hi 🙂
I am visiting Tonga from the 19th – 30th September and would love to go diving and swimming with whales. How far in advance should I book with you? Is it possible to just show up and book?
Thank you!


Paige August 28, 2017


I’m a solo traveller and I’m looking to dive on 21 September swim with whales on 22 and 23 September. Do you have availability then?

Thanks 🙂


Andrew August 28, 2017


Me and my girlfriend will be arriving in Tonga from September 12 to September 16, 2017. We will go whale snorkeling / free diving. Do you have any good offer for us to do whale swimming?

Thank you.

Kind regards.



Crystal August 31, 2017

Hi I’m Crystal. My husband and I will be in Vava’u September 15th to the 20th. We would really like to swim with the whales or maybe just watch if we’re not brave enough to swim. I’m wondering if you have any availability for whale swimming during that time period?

Thank you


Carmen and Michael September 04, 2017

Malo e lelei,
we are interested in a Whale watching/swimming tour on 24th or 25th October 2017. Are you still operating and do you have 2 places available?
Ofa atu, Carmen and Michael


Crystal September 10, 2017

Do you have any availability for Whale swimming Sept 14, 15, 16, 18, or 19?


Margaret September 11, 2017

I read about you in 50 Places to Dive Before you Die.
Well I have a simple note on my desk for some time now and it says “Tonga Whales” !
I am thrilled to have a contact. I have been diving for many years. My dream is to be in the water either diving or snorkeling with whales.
Preferably diving. My husband and I would love to set up a privately guided event . We are both older but quite fit.
What would be the best time to come to Tonga to realize this dream.
And is this something you can facilitate for us?
Looking very forward to hearing from you! My husband and I feel life is not a dress rehearsal , we want this experience very much!


Toby September 12, 2017

Hi we would like to book a whale swim on 25 September – would you have any vacancies?
We arrive on the ship Pacific Jewel at 8am and need to be back on board at 6pm.
Toby and Jo


Xu September 14, 2017

Hey, I’m Xu and I’m really interested in diving with whales. We are planning to go Vava’u next August (probably Aug.22th-25th). We’d like to do 3 days of whale watching and dives. Can I ask if you have availability for those days? We probably will have 8 ppl. Best regards! Looking forward your replying.


Margaret September 14, 2017

This is Margaret and Mike touching base again. Would like to set up a dive experience to dive with the whales. If you could let me know what the potential for this is and when would be the best time? Looking forward to hearing from you! Thank you in advance.
Mike and Margaret


PAUL September 25, 2017


Do you have any availability to dive for 2 people on Thursday 28th September?



Ian October 23, 2017

We are looking for a new dive and whale watch company in vavau and have been recommended your dive operation




XINGYIN November 07, 2017

I wanna check availability for whale swim on 11 Aug,13 Aug,14 Aug 2018, thanks.


Sandra November 11, 2017

I would like to book 3 divers on 12 January 2018
3 divers twin dive
2 snorkellers
Weights and tanks
Thanks you


Shawna November 15, 2017

Hello! My fiance and I will be spending our honeymoon in Tonga the week of August 13th, 2018 and would love to go swimming or diving with whales. What is your availability and cost? Thanks!


Dennis November 16, 2017

We would like to go snorkeling on Jan 3 or 4. There are two us. Is it available and what is the cost?



Janelle November 19, 2017

My husband and I will be in Tonga for a whale trip Aug 12-22, 2019. I am looking at what we can do before or after this trip – we are both underwater photographers with 1000+ dives. I found your site after reading a review on undercurrent. Is it possible to scuba dive with you around this time, or are your boats full up with whale watchers/snorkelers? If we can dive, where do we stay?


Aki November 20, 2017

I’ll go to vavau island from in 21st of Dec to 23rd of Dec. I really want to dive 22nd of Dec. my flight is 11:10am in 23rd.

Please mail me back.

Thank you, Aki


capucine December 02, 2017

Malo e lelei!
As you can see I am planning to stay about a month in Vava’u starting from mid September 2018.
I have my own accommodation on the main island (next to the shipyard) and hope to do about 10 days trips during my stay (maybe more).
I don t really have a schedule, but I think you probably do, so let me know if I can join you guys in between the dates I pulled off… You would definitely make my day!
Last detail: I am a freediving instructor so I am a good swimmer and carry my own gear. I have been to Vava’u before so I also know how to behave in the water and what to expect from Mother Nature!
I hope to hear from you soon,
Malo Aupito!


Gretchen December 13, 2017

Hi There
I’m wondering if you have any availability for whale tours / swimming within the window 9 August and 13 August (inclusive).
Many thanks


Kym December 15, 2017

Hi There! I am busy planning our first ever overseas family holiday onboard Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas and Vava’u (Neiafu) is one of our shore stops

I was really impressed with the recent reviews I discovered on TripAdvisor for your snorkelling experiences and Swallow Cave tours service and am hoping that you would be available to take an Aussie family of four under your wing for the day? My hubby, Jim, myself and our two teenage daughters, Keely 17 and Tia 15.

We would be arriving in Neiafu on 12 January 2018 at approx. 8 am with the ship departing at 5pm that evening.

I look forward to hearing from you soon!



Terry January 03, 2018

We will be in Tonga in August 2018 and my husband, a PADI certified instructor would like to do 2 days diving. If possible on the 8th & 13th of August. Please could you advise availability and how to make a booking


james January 11, 2018


We are a family of 4 arriving in Vavau tomorrow 12th jan 2017 for the day
on royal Caribbean ship radiance of the sea.

Would you have any snorkelling trips we could book please?



Anne January 11, 2018

We are in Vava’u today (off cruise ship). We are interested in a dive. Just checking if you are PADI or SSI? Also your location and dive availability?
Thanks anne


Abbi January 16, 2018

Hi, I am looking at booking an afternoon and night dive for two people on the 20th of June, just wondering when it would depart?
Thanks Abbi


Kit January 18, 2018


How are you? We are a group of three who would like to come swim with whales in September until early October. We are interested in doing about 3-4 days of swim. Please advise if there’s any availability during that period. Thank you so much.


Ben January 22, 2018

Hi. Arriving in Vava’u 25 Jan, what dives do you have on?


Prashun January 24, 2018


I wanted to check if you have availability for 2 divers between the 20-22nd of Feb. 6 dive package – clients are staying at Harbourview Resort


Dale January 28, 2018

Visiting Vavau – August 28 to September 5th

Would like to do a combination of Whale watching and diving.

My wife and I are avid divers and have Advanced Open Water experience, over 80 dives in the last 3 years, and will be bringing our own dive equipment including wetsuits. Our current itinerary has us arriving on the 10am flight and departing on the 4:30 flight back to TBU.

Can you recommend an itinerary and pricing to do as many dives possible with enough Whale watching to get a good experience.

Dale and Beth


Alexandra February 21, 2018


We are touroperator company and biggest Diving Club in Russia are searching for the private boat for 3-5 pax for whale swim (4-5 days ) in the period from 1 to 8 September 2018
Our guests will stay in Reef Resort Vava’u
Please advise the availability for boats and price for it.
Please also advise availability for not private boat for the same dates


Dan February 22, 2018


My wife and I are arriving on Vava’u late next week to spend a few months diving, snorkelling and exploring Tonga.

We will be looking for a good dive shop to make friends with and help us explore the area both over and underwater.

We’re both fairly experienced divers with our own equipment and a real interest in underwater photography.

A few questions:

On days we don’t dive we’d be keen to do some snorkelling – will we need booties & open heel fins for shore access or will full foot tropical fins do the job OK?

We’d be keen to rent a place to live that isn’t too pricey nearby – so we can get to you and some good snorkelling quite easily (happy to rent mopeds or bikes if needed). Have you got any suggestions?

Do you have accomodation for divers if we need somewhere to stay for a bit when we arrive around March 2-3rd?

How is the general situation following the clear up after Cyclone Gita? We were horrified when we heard what had happened.

thank you so much for your help, sorry ffor the barrage of questions & hope to see you soon!

Dan & Jacqui


Jeremy March 10, 2018

Dear all

We are looking for a whale swimming tour, our planing will stay at Tonga beach resort from July 27 until August 3. So we are two people and we plan to do the whale swimming on 7/28, 7/30,8/1,8/2( 4 days) and a day (7/31) for scuba diving.
Is these days is available for you? Does your whale tour including lunch and wetsuit? I’m looking forward to your reply.

Best regards


Monika March 31, 2018

we’d like to go swimming with the whales for 3 days between Sept 7 and 11, 2 persons.
Do you have any spaces available? How much would it be, how many peolpe on the boat?


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