The Best Time to Swim with Whales in Niue
The Best Time to Swim with Whales in Niue

The Best Time to Swim with Whales in Niue

(c) Niue Tourism

When to See Whales in Niue

Niue is famous for being one of the only countries in the world where you can legally swim with humpback whales. However, this only happens during a particular season each year when whales migrate from Antarctic waters to the warm waters of the South Pacific to mate and raise their young. To increase your chances of a once-in-a-lifetime experience, we go through the best time to swim with whales in Niue.

When is the Whale Season in Niue?

Humpback whales frequent Niue’s waters between July and September each year. Between July and September is the best time to have a whale encounter through whale swimming tours and watching whales from shore. Whales can be seen in Niue’s waters as early as June and as late as October, however, the fringes of the whale season tend to be disappointing for whale encounters in Niue, so it’s highly recommended that you book whale tours within July to September.

For more about the whale season, see The Guide to the Whale Season in Niue.

The Best Time to Swim with Whales in Niue(c)

How to Swim with Whales in Niue

The only way you can swim with whales in Niue is to go on a tour with a licensed whale watching operator. Niue has three full-time whale swimming operators, as well as a few more operators with restricted licenses.

Whale Watching and Swimming Operators

  • Magical Niue Sea Adventures
  • Niue Blue
  • Explore Niue / Fish Niue Charters
  • Niue Fishing Charters
  • Paul Pasisi Charters

Magical Niue Sea Adventures and Niue Blue offers the most whale swimming trips for visitors, while Explore Niue can cater to groups. Typically, ages eight and above can travel on boats for whale watching, while the minimum age for whale swimming is usually 10 or 12 years old.

Learn more about swimming with whales tours in The Guide to Swimming with Whales in Niue, as well as the 5 Best Whale Tours in Niue.

The Best Time to Swim with Whales in Niue(c)

The Best Time to Swim with Whales

As mentioned, although the whale season in Niue can run from June to October, the best time to swim with whales is between July and September. Whale calves and mothers tend to be more relaxed and playful toward the end of the whale season in Niue, so you might stand a better chance of a fun whale interaction toward the end of August and September. Remember, however, that whales are wild animals and an encounter is never a guarantee.

How to Enhance Your Whale Swimming Experience

Like with any interaction with wild animals, you can’t control what’s going to happen when swimming with whales in Niue. Whale swimming operators have the experience in finding whales in Niue’s waters, giving you a good chance of seeing whales, but will not persist whales that are not willing to be swam with. Considering every whale swimming tour is different and it’s not always the case where you’ll get a good swim, it’s highly recommended that you allow some time in your visit to Niue for at least a couple of whale tours in your itinerary. That way, you’ll increase your chances of having a good whale interaction.

For more tips, see How to Get the Best Whale Swimming Experience in Niue.

The Best Time to Swim with Whales in Niue(c) David Girsh - Niue Tourism

Other Ways to Watch Whales in Niue

You don’t have to get in the water to enjoy an incredible whale watching experience in Niue. In fact, you don’t even have to go on a boat. During Niue’s whale season, it’s possible to simply watch whales from shore!

Niue’s reef only drops as far as 100m from shore, so it’s often possible to watch whales as close as 20m away! Niue’s west coast has a number of whale watching lookouts, while accommodations like the Scenic Matavai Resort, Lau’s Getaway, Breeze, Anaiki Motel, Kaliki Lodge and more have their own lookouts and decks for watching whales. See the 10 Accommodations You Can Watch Whales from in Niue for more information on these accommodations.

Generally, the best time to look for whales from shore is in the mornings. However, as whales swimming close to shore can happen at any time!

Check out some of the whale watching hotspots in the 10 Amazing Lookouts for Watching Whales in Niue.


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of Niue Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as Niue. She knows the island inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Niue’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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