Adventure Week - Tonga

South Pacific Tonga: (ZZ-SKEC-11)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/outdoor_kayak_tonga_adventure_week.aspx

Introduction
South Pacific Tonga
Situated approximately 240 kilometers north of Tongatapu, the Vava'u Island Group is a smattering of 50-odd islands, in an area 23 by 25 kilometers, protected by a semi-circular reef. The islands are separated by reefs or open water, but are not great paddling distances apart.

Tonga is in the top 10 beaches and small islands for travel in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2014 guide. Shh, don't tell everyone!

A popular package for those who prefer an activity-packed vacation including 3 to 4 days of sea kayaking plus a day of whale watching and either a two-tank scuba dive or a full day of sailing. Suitable for the active traveler with physical stamina and a moderate degree of fitness. Includes 4 nights' accommodation and 3 nights camping.

Accomodation

4 nights (nights 1, 5, 6 and 7) are spent in comfortable accommodations in Neiafu and the 3 remaining nights are spent camping on 'Euakafa and Taunga Island.


CAMP ORGANIZATION ('Euakafa and Taunga Island)
Self-inflating mattresses and two-door tents with mosquito screening are provided.

On the first camping day the guides orient participants to the camp kitchen and protocol for erecting and breaking camp. The more assistance with camp duties rendered, the quicker meals are served and the earlier the group gets out on the water each day.
We typically aim to be on the water by 9:30 a.m. in order to take advantage of the cool morning hours for paddling. We usually aim to reach our camp by lunchtime. On arrival at camp the guides require help erecting the overhead tarpaulin; hanging up life vests and spray skirts; and unloading the kayaks. Once these duties are completed, everyone is free to pitch their tents.
Assistance with meal preparation and dish washing is not expected but always appreciated. Packing bags and tents prior to breakfast makes the job of breaking camp more efficient.

The tents provided are two-door tents with mosquito screening. A self-inflating mattress is also provided.
There is no electricity at the camps so it is recommended that you bring a power bank with you.

Please, note that there are no toilets or showers at any of the camps. People usually wash themselves in the sea with environmentally friendly salt water shampoo and soap.

Single occupancy:
Tour package accommodation is based on double occupancy. A single supplement applies to those who prefer a private fale/room or who cannot be paired with another single participant.

Extra nights
If you plan to extend your stay in Tonga and/or need to overnight in Tongatapu, please advise us of your accommodation requirements in advance and we will be happy to book on your behalf.


MEALS ON TOUR
Snacks and three meals per day are provided, beginning with lunch on Day 2. Our camp food has an international theme so you are likely to find Thai, Indonesian, Italian, Mexican and, of course, Polynesian cuisine on the menu. The meals are predominantly vegetarian supplemented with fresh fish. We try to make extensive use of the delicious tropical fruits and vegetables and fresh seafood caught by our Tongan guides. We also try our best to please every palate. Please let us know well in advance of the tour of any food and/or drink allergies and/or dislikes.

FOOD AND WATER
There are a wide selection of eateries in Nuku’alofa and Vava’u, some of which are excellent. In Nuku’alofa (Tongatapu), we can recommend Fakalato Restaurant, Friends Café, Little Italy Pizzeria, Seaview Restaurant, Black Pearl, Taste of India, and The Waterfront Café. In Neiafu (Vava’u), the Sovereign Residence, Mango, Aquarium, Dancing Rooster, Mermaid, Sails, Ciao, and the Tongan Beach Resort. The tap water in Tonga is treated well water with a high mineral content, giving it a metallic taste. While the tap water is potable, for people unaccustomed to the local water, it is advisable to drink rainwater or bottled water. Both are readily available on request at shops, restaurants and hotels. There are no waterfalls, rivers or lakes in Tonga and so, whilst on tour, we bathe and wash laundry in the sea using biodegradable saltwater shampoo or soap. Provided there is not a drought we fill solar shower bags with rainwater from cement tanks in the villages.

Riding

FITNESS AND EXPERIENCE
Whilst no experience is required for our sea kayak tours, a moderate level of physical fitness and a sense of adventure are important. A typical day entails two to three hours of paddling interspersed with rest stops. The guides endeavor to balance the group by pairing slower paddlers with stronger, more experienced paddlers. However, the slower paddlers always dictate the pace. Base camps offer the luxury of paddling empty kayaks or a lay day for exploring and relaxing. Paddling into southeasterly trade winds of 12-18 knots requires extra effort and can make the distance we travel feel longer. Those who engage in regular exercise such as walking, cycling or swimming tend to derive more enjoyment from their adventure. Physical conditioning exercises and camping experience are recommended.

KAYAK GUIDES
A minimum of one Tongan professional guide accompanies all of our trips. Depending on the group size, there is an additional guide (guide: guest ratio = 1:6). The guides are responsible for making safety decisions, coordinating logistics and activities, preparing meals as well as interpreting the natural and cultural features of Vava’u. Our guides lend invaluable local knowledge and cultural flavour to the experience and also offer outdoor safety, first aid and risk management expertise.

SEA KAYAKING
The concept of sea kayaking is still new to many people, who may have visions of paddling in small unstable kayaks typically used on river trips. In contrast, we use stable, seaworthy double kayaks (Necky Tofino) especially suited to novices and the ocean environment. No previous kayaking experience is required, but a moderate level of fitness is necessary. Non-swimmers are welcome since everyone is required to wear a life vest. The issuing of single kayaks (Necky Arluk III, Quality Kayaks Southern Aurora and Puffin) is at the guides’ discretion as this depends not only on the paddler’s ability, but also on weather, sea conditions and group composition.
Your guides cover boat handling basics; paddling strokes; use of the foot controlled rudder; boat entries and exits; and rescue procedures in the protected warm waters of the Port of Refuge. They also cover trip safety and carry a cell phone and flares for emergency use. Sea kayaking is a very safe sport when conducted properly. The expedition always paddles as a group, but there is still ample opportunity for individuals to enjoy their personal space on land if so desired. Certain rules of sea kayaking must be agreed to and observed by all trip participants to ensure everyone’s safety and enjoyment. We discuss these rules and why they are necessary as well as contingency plans. We do everything reasonable to minimize the risks of this outdoor pursuit to ensure your safety and expect you to do the same.

WHALE WATCHING & SNORKELLING
From July to October Tonga’s warm sheltered waters are annual breeding and calving grounds for the southern ocean humpback whale. Join our preferred whale watch operator for a fun, educational day on the water. Their knowledgeable guides provide interesting facts and anecdotes about these amazing mammals, once on the brink of extinction. Witness the whales’ acrobatic aerial displays and, with the aid of a hydrophone, listen in on their mystical songs. You might also see spinner dolphins and seldom-sighted pilot whales. You will have the opportunity to snorkel in Vava’u’s spectacular underwater world. Confident swimmers who elect to swim with the whales do so at the skipper’s discretion and at their own risk. From November to June when the whales have returned to their Antarctic feeding grounds, join our preferred sailing operator for a relaxing day of sightseeing and snorkelling in the beautiful Vava’u Archipelago. Both excursions include snorkelling gear, wetsuits and lunch.

SCUBA DIVING
Experience diving at its best in warm clear waters where visibility is often up to 40 metres. The distinctive landscape of Vava’u creates a unique diving environment with dramatic drop-offs, caverns, and swimthroughs. Explore the myriads of reefs with colourful hard & soft coral, sea fans, abundant reef fish, sharks, manta rays, nudibranchs,
crustaceans, pipefish and more. In winter you might even hear the humpback whale song! Time permitting, enjoy a swim or snorkel from a pristine outer island beach. Includes full equipment, snacks and water.

SAILING & SNORKELLING
Enjoy a relaxing day with our preferred operator sailing and exploring the myriads of reefs in warm crystal clear waters. In winter the average water temperature is 25 degrees Celcius and in summer up to 29 degrees. Snorkel directly from the vessel and/or from pristine beaches. A perfect way to discover the stunning Vava’u Archipelago and learn about the flora, sea birds, and marine life along the way. You might even see southern ocean humpback whales in season (July – October). Snorkelling gear, wetsuits and lunch included.

MEDICAL FORMS
Every trip participant must provide an accurately completed medical form. Participants aged 65 years and over must also provide a medical certificate. 

MEDICAL SUPPLIES
Although your guides will be carrying a comprehensive first aid kit, all tour participants are encouraged to bring a basic personal first aid kit including the
following items:
- Medication (pain relief, anti-inflammatory, mild anti-nausea drugs)
- Antiseptic swabs and cream
- Anti-histamine cream (for insect bites)
- Antibiotic cream or powder (powder is best in the humid tropics)
- Fabric plasters (more waterproof than plastic plasters)
- Lip sunscreen (SPF30+ or zinc)
- General sunscreen (water resistant; SPF15+)
- Insect repellent (DEET is the most effective)

TRAVEL INSURANCE
Personal travel insurance is not included in the trip cost and is a pre-requisite for trip participation. We recommend you purchase a policy that includes airfare, trip cancellation (in particular cancellation owing to severe weather), and medical coverage.

Itinerary

Note that the following itinerary is a sample only and is subject to alterations.
It is possible that route or itinerary changes and/or delays may become necessary for reasons of safety or enhancing the quality of the trip. These disruptions could be due to inclement weather, acts of God, delayed transport, political or cultural considerations, government restrictions, participants’ limitations, or any other cause. If we are unable to paddle, we will endeavor to offer alternate activities (e.g. snorkeling, bush walks, land tours, village tours).
The trip participant shall be responsible for any additional expenses such as accommodation, meals, transport, prepaid airline tickets, fees for visas, etc. in connection with changes and/or delays to a route or itinerary.
If possible, ensure some degree of flexibility in your travel plans. A sense of adventure and tolerance for the unexpected are essential attributes when visiting developing nations such as Tonga where “Tonga Time” is synonymous with delays and waiting.


B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

Day 1: Arrival / Orientation
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 talk. It is important that all participants attend this informative talk.
Meals: Not included.
Accommodation: Hilltop Hotel or Vava'u Backpackers or Port of Refuge Villas (subject to availability).


Day 2: Kayaking
A safety briefing commences 9:00 a.m. at The Adventure Centre before departing for 3 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 harbor 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 snorkelers can enjoy vibrant coral and fish life in the channel. After lunch our Tongan guide navigates our group of paddlers through reef-strewn turquoise waters and across a wide deep channel towards the distinctive tabletop island of 'Euakafa - our campsite tonight.
Meals: L, D (B on own).
Camping: 'Euakafa Island.
Paddling Time: 3-4 hours.


Day 3: Kayaking
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 we hear the legend of how the queen met her fate. This afternoon, we paddle to nearby 'Eueiki Island where we can snorkel and, at low tide, explore an immense cave with Tarzan-like vines cascading down through a hole in the cave ceiling. A short paddle across the channel, and we reach tonight's camp on the scenic isthmus of Taunga Island. This evening, the villagers host an authentic Tongan feast consisting of roast suckling pork complemented by 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.
Paddling Time: 2 hours.
Meals: B, L, D.
Camping: Taunga Island (Base Camp).


Day 4: Lay Day
Today, Sunday, is by Tongan law a day of rest and worship. Those who choose to attend the morning church service in Taunga village are impressed by the splendor of the Tongans' elaborate attire and harmonized singing. On Sunday tour operators are not permitted to offer guided physical activities anywhere within the Kingdom. However, as with guests staying at resorts, you may use the kayaks as transport to access recreational areas such as beaches and bays. 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.
Meals: B, L, D.
Camping: Taunga Island (Base Camp).

Day 5: Kayaking to The Adventure Centre
On our paddle westward back to the Port of Refuge 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. En route 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 The Adventure Centre, transfer by taxi to your accommodation property and hot showers.
Paddling Time: 2-3 hours.
Meals: B, L (D on own).
Accommodation: Hilltop Hotel or Vava'u Backpackers or Port of Refuge Villas (subject to availability).

Day 6: Diving or Sailing
Join our preferred water sport operators for an active morning of scuba diving (two tanks) or a more leisurely day sailing and snorkeling. Vava'u is a marine playground for both activities.
Meals: L provided (B, D on own).
Accommodation: Hilltop Hotel or Vava'u Backpackers or Port of Refuge Villas (subject to availability).
Excursion Time: Diving 7:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.; Sailing 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


Day 7: Whale Watching / Snorkelling / Sightseeing
A team of whale educators discusses humpback whale migration, mating, surface activity and song. From July through October you can observe the impressive acrobatic displays of these magnificent mammals who migrate from Antarctica annually to breed, give birth and nurse their new-born calves in Tonga's sheltered, warm waters. Outside the whale watch season, enjoy a day of snorkeling, picnicking and sightseeing in the scenic Vava'u Islands.
Meals: L provided (B, D on own).
Accommodation: Hilltop Hotel or Vava'u Backpackers or Port of Refuge Villas (subject to availability).
Excursion Time: 7:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.

Day 8: Departure
The trip concludes today with a transfer to Lupepau'u Airport.
Meals: Not included.


Rates and Dates for Adventure Week - Tonga

Rates include:

Return airport transfers between Lupepau’u Airport (Vava’u) and the apartment/guesthouse; 4 nights accommodation at apartment/guesthouse and 3 nights camping, meals as indicated; fibreglass kayaks, 45-minute orientation talk, 3 days kayaking, camping equipment including tents, groundsheets and mattresses; 1 day of sailing or diving, 1 day whale watching (July-Oct) or snorkeling (Nov-June), a traditional ’umu feast on an island village; a farewell dinner at a local restaurant

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescriptionNZ$ ~US$
    A
    20198-day adventure kayak trip$2695$1780
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 0.66
Minimum Deposit: ~$750.00 per person

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 Description
2019 Transfers from/to Vava'u International Airport / Lupepauʻu International Airport included
2019 Single supplement - please inquire

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2019 07/18 - 07/25 8d / 7n 8-day adventure kayak trip 2 /16 Expired
A 2019 08/01 - 08/08 8d / 7n 8-day adventure kayak trip 2 /16 Expired
A 2019 08/15 - 08/22 8d / 7n 8-day adventure kayak trip 2 /16 Expired
A 2019 09/05 - 09/12 8d / 7n 8-day adventure kayak trip 2 /16 Expired
A 2019 09/19 - 09/26 8d / 7n 8-day adventure kayak trip 2 /16 Reserve
A 2019 10/03 - 10/10 8d / 7n 8-day adventure kayak trip 2 /16 Reserve
A 2019 11/07 - 11/14 8d / 7n 8-day adventure kayak trip 2 /16 Reserve
A 2019 12/05 - 12/12 8d / 7n 8-day adventure kayak trip 2 /16 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Excess baggage charges; Transfers that are not included in the itinerary; Beverages and meals that are not included in the itinerary; Clothing, liquor, laundry, postage, medical expenses and any other expenses of a personal nature; Expenses incurred as a result of delays due to inclement weather, delays of scheduled aircraft, logistical delays, and resultant changes to the itinerary. Emergency evacuation charges. Gratuities to guides

Other Info
Meeting: Lupepau’u Airport
Airport: Tonga’s international airport
Transfer: Lupepau’u Airport

Climate:
                                                Neiafu area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

86

87

86

85

82

81

80

80

81

82

84

85

Average Low Temperature (°F)

76

76

76

75

73

72

70

70

71

72

74

75

Average High Temperature (°C)

30

30

30

29

28

27

26

27

27

28

29

29

Average Low Temperature (°C)

24

25

24

24

23

22

21

21

22

22

23

24

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

9

11

12

10

8

6

6

5

6

5

5

10

Source: NOAA


Seasons

The climate of Tonga is very pleasant, being slightly cooler and less humid than most tropical areas. From June to November the mean humidity hovers around 74%; and the southeasterly trade winds average 12-18 knots - ideal weather for paddling and camping. May through January is the best time for kayaking in Tonga.

During the wetter summer months (December to May) the weather is hotter, more humid and changeable with an increased risk of tropical cyclones. Most cyclones either brush past Tonga leaving little or no damage or miss Tonga altogether.


Special note – insects

We try wherever possible to camp in breezy spots as wind tends to keep mosquitoes at bay. They are only a nuisance after a rainfall and or when there is little wind. A good mosquito repellant is an effective prophylactic for the majority of people. However, if you are especially sensitive to mosquitoes it would be wise to wear long sleeves and pants in camp. Wasps are generally not a nuisance. Our guides carry oral anti-histamine and an anaphylactic shock treatment kit, but if you know that you are allergic to wasps it is a good idea to bring your own personal supply.

What To Bring:
Large dry bags, duffel bags and backpacks cannot be accommodated in the kayak hatches. Please bring no more than 2 medium sized (20L-25L) dry bags per person - one for clothing; the other for miscellaneous items - plus one small (10L) dry bag per person for items you need to access in the cockpit (e.g. wallet, documents, sun screen etc.). A mesh bag containing your snorkelling gear is additional to the above items. Nylon stuff sacs lined with heavy-duty rubbish bags are a more affordable option if you do not already have dry bags. However, a dry bag for the cockpit is essential. Camera and optical equipment should be waterproofed and insured.

Quick-dry clothing is recommended for Tonga’s warm tropical climate. Long-sleeved shirts with a collar offer good sun protection. Lava-lavas (2 metre wrap-around cloth) may be purchased in Tonga. It is a good idea to bring along two lava-lavas, one for wearing over shorts or a swimsuit when entering villages and a clean one for other occasions.

If you have any questions about clothing or equipment, consult your local canoe or outdoor equipment retailer or contact us. Any excess baggage can be left at your own risk at our base, which is unoccupied overnight.

Essential Items
" Passport
" Cash (pa’anga); EFT-POS card
" Basic first aid kit
" Toiletries
" Toilet paper (preferably unbleached)
" Sun screen (SPF30+)
" Lip screen (SPF30+)
" Insect repellent (DEET most effective)
" Sun hat (stiff brimmed) with chin strap
" Sunglasses (polarized) with neck strap
" Pack towel (microfibre)
" Drink bottle (1-2 litres)
" Lycra swimsuit, sports bra & briefs
" Lightweight rain jacket with hood
" Lightweight fleece jacket
" Cotton/quick-dry T-shirts (long & short sleeved)
" Quick dry shorts & pants
" Lava-lava (can be purchased in Tonga)
" Cotton socks & underwear
" Cotton bandanna, hankie
" Sturdy sandals
" Snorkelling gear (prescription lenses for mask) & mesh carry bag
" Up to 3 (2 x 20L-25L and 1 x 10L) dry bags or nylon stuff sacs per person
" Heavy-duty rubbish bags (for lining stuff sacs)
" Waist pack
" Ziploc bags (medium & large)
" Flashlight/headlamp, spare batteries

Optional Items
" Binoculars
" Hand sanitizer, wet wipes
" Talcum powder and/or Vaseline (for preventing chafing)
" Camera, spare batteries
" Favourite snacks, drink crystals
" Fishing lures & hand line
" Pocket knife, sewing/repair kit
" Reading & writing materials
" Calf-length skirt/dress
" Half wetsuit 3mm (June-Sept)
" Cycling gloves (without fingers)
" Reef shoes or old running shoes (for intertidal walks)
" Rubber sandals/thongs
" Clothes line & pegs
" Lighter