Niue: Swim with the Whales

Humpback breaching by Glenn Edney.

By Lee Czerniak.

An awesome experience! One you will never forget!

Each year from July to October, humpback whales arrive in Niue to nurse their young. It is one of the few places in the world you are allowed to swim with the whales. While it’s not a guarantee that you will experience in-water interaction as this is strictly dependent on the whims of the whales and the weather conditions, it is a guarantee that these gentle, playful giants are unmissable (in both senses of the word).

Swimming with whales can literally be a life changing experience. Usually you’ll hear the whales before you see them; their mournful singing so loud and so deep that it will reverberate through your entire body. And when you eventually do see them?

“They have the most enormous physical presence,” says writer Philip Hoare, who’s spent years writing about whales and their history. “When you go whale watching, you sometimes see a fin, a fluke or a head but often the first thing you see is this massive cloud of air, which is symptomatic of the elusiveness of this animal. It’s one of the biggest animals that has ever lived and yet how many of us have actually seen it?”

These enormous mammals can be also be viewed from the land at dedicated viewing areas, where their gymnastics provide a spectacular show sometimes only 20 metres from shore. Niue is a signatory to the South Pacific Whale Sanctuary and fully supports the conservation of whales, so all interactions are conducted from a distance that respects their privacy and your safety.

At night, you can sometimes hear the whales slapping their giant fins against the water and you may even be kept awake by their calls, unlike anywhere else in the world – they can come that close only because the water is so deep so close to shore.

Organised viewing or swimming tours can be arranged – self-guided experiences are not allowed. Whale interactions are very dependent on mother nature so if you don’t get to see them close up don’t be disappointed… there is still some great diving and adventures to experience.

There are three tour operators that offer whale watching trips and in water whale interactions:

Buccaneer Adventures Niue Dive

Buccaneer Adventures Niue Dive is a registered SSI and PADI store owned and operated by Shannon and Krystal Hunter. Whether you want to embark on an underwater tour with Scuba Diving, Freediving or explore the outer reef’s wide assortment or marine life while Snorkelling.
Contact: Shannon and Krystal Hunter
Ph: (+683) 4311
Email: niuedive@niue.nu

Fish Niue Charters

Manutahi (seabird) is a 6.3 metre stabicraft purpose built for Niue’s waters offering a range of options customised to your needs. Our vessel complies with Niue’s safety requirements and carries all appropriate safety equipment. Your local skipper BJ Rex is a certified PADI Divemaster and certified whale watching guide.
Contact: BJ Rex
Ph: (+683) 5697
Email: fishniue@niue.nu

Magical Niue Sea Adventures

Magical Niue Sea Adventures offers whale watching tours as well as in water interactions with the spinner dolphins and the Humpback whales. This operation is run by your guide Rami Oved who is an experienced certified PADI specialty dive instructor.
Contact: Rami Oved
Ph: (+683) 6737 or 6477
Email: adventures@magicalniue.com