The Guide to Swimming with Whales in Niue
The Guide to Swimming with Whales in Niue

Niue Whales: The Guide to Swimming with Whales in Niue 🐳 [2023]


How to Swim with Whales in Niue

Join majestic humpback whales just moments from shore in Niue’s crystal clear waters. Swimming with whales in Niue is like nowhere else on earth, especially as the limestone island filters surface water run-off, making for vivid viewings of these gentle giants. Humpback whales migrate to Niue’s warm waters each year to mate and raise their young, meaning you could have many exciting interactions, whether it’s with playful juveniles or adorable mothers and calves.

Learn about how you could swim with humpback whales in this guide to swimming with whales in Niue.

Frequently Asked Questions About Swimming with Humpback Whales in Niue

Have a question about whale swimming in Niue? Chances are we answer it here.

Can You Swim with Whales in Niue?

If you hadn’t already worked it out, yes, you can swim with whales in Niue! Niue is one of the few places in the world where you can legally swim with humpback whales.

How Much is it to Swim with Whales in Niue?

Whale swimming in Niue cost approximately NZ$225 per person for a half-day tour. Some operators offer partial refunds if no whales are seen.

Why Do Whales Swim to Niue?

Humpback whales swim to Niue’s warm waters every year to mate, give birth and nurse their young. Pregnant mothers find a safe place to give birth and raise their calf until fit enough to make the journey back to their feeding grounds in Antarctica.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Swim with Whales in Niue?

The minimum age requirement for swimming with whales in Niue is between 10 to 12 years old depending on the operator. You are also required to be a confident swimmer in open water.

Niue Whales: The Guide to Swimming with Whales in Niue ©

Swimming with Whales in Niue: The Essentials

Here are some tips that are essential to know about whale swimming in Niue:

  • You can only swim with whales in Niue if you are with a licensed operator
  • The minimum age for whale swimming is typically 10 or 12 years old
  • Whale swimming is not a guarantee
  • There are guidelines that operators have to abide by for whale encounters
  • Allow about 4 hours for a whale tour
  • Whales can also be spotted from shore in Niue.

For elaboration on each tip, as well as more advice, see the 10 Tips for Whale Watching in Niue.

The Guide to Swimming with Whales in Niue(c)

The Whale Season in Niue: When to Swim with Whales

Humpback whales come to Niue once a year during Niue’s wintertime to breed and raise their young.

The whale season in Niue runs from July to September. However, whales can sometimes be spotted in Niue’s waters as early as June to as late as October. If you want to visit Niue in the hope of seeing whales, the best time to book your trip is between July and September. These months are the only months that whale tours operate.

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

The Guide to Swimming with Whales in Niue(c)

How to Swim with Whales: Whale Tours in Niue

Providing you are in Niue between July and September, you can join one of Niue’s whale tours to enjoy whale interactions both above and below the surface.

Whale tours in Niue are only available with operators licensed to run whale tours. These tours must follow strict guidelines as part of having a license, for instance, only having six swimmers in the water with the whales at a time, swimming with mothers and calves for five minutes or less, or swimming with adult whales for up to 30 minutes. Boats must also keep 50m (160ft) from the whale, so keep this in mind as whale swimming involves you being active, which includes swimming in open water and getting on and off the boat multiple times. This is why tours often have an age restriction of swimmers being no younger than 10 or 12 years old.

Licensed Whale Tours in Niue

Licensed operators offering whale tours in Niue include:

  • Niue Blue
  • Explore Niue / Fish Niue Charters

Check out a comparison of each operator in the The Best Whale Tours in Niue.

The Guide to Swimming with Whales in Niue(c) David Girsh - Niue Tourism

How to Get the Best Whale Swim

Knowing that a good swimming interaction with whales in Niue is not a guarantee, how can you at least increase your chances for a good whale swim?

Book Multiple Whale Swimming Trips

First, we recommend booking at least a couple of whale swims during your stay in Niue. That way, if the first swim is unsuccessful, at least you’ll have another chance. If your first swim is a success, then trust us, you’ll probably want to try and do it again anyway! Alternatively, if you don’t want to book multiple whale swims in case the first one is a success, then we at least suggest leaving some spare time in your Niue itinerary to book another whale tour while you’re in Niue if needed.

Whale Swim Briefings

Another way to improve your whale swim is to abide by the whale swimming guidelines given to you during your briefing. It’s important to respect the rules for your own safety, as well as to not disturb the whales. If the guides feel you are breaking the rules given, then they will cancel the swim and get all of the swimmers back on the boat for another briefing.

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

The Guide to Swimming with Whales in Niue(c)

Other Ways to See Whales in Niue

If getting in the water is not your thing, then there are still other ways to enjoy the whales in Niue. Whale swimming tours do accept guests onto the boat to watch the whales, you are not obligated to swim if you don’t want to. Make sure to request non-swimming during booking.

Seeing Whales on Fishing Tours

Fishing tours with licensed charters, such as Fish Niue Charters, are licensed to approach whales should the opportunity arise. If you want to do some fishing or some sightseeing, with the opportunity to watch whales, get in contact with these charters.

Watching Whales from Shore

Finally, one of the beauties of Niue is that you can also watch whales from shore. Along the west coast, you will see whale lookouts signposted, while some accommodations on the coast also have their own whale watching decks and lookouts. See the 10 Amazing Lookouts for Watching Whales in Niue for the locations of some of these lookouts, as well as the 8 Accommodations You Can Watch Whales from in Niue.

More About Swimming with Whales in Niue

That’s it for our guide to swimming with whales in Niue. For more about whales and getting out on the water, check out the following guides:

Finally, be sure to check out the 101 Things to Do in Niue: The Ultimate List for even more amazing experiences.


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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