Expeditions 2017

Expeditions 2017

Explore the coast and smaller islands of Upolu over 4-9 days

The stunning south coast of Upolu beckons, and we stay at some of the best beaches in Samoa. These kayak trips take in several of the small islands off the coast and includes a mix of inshore and ocean travel. This trip is framed with an abundance of wildlife including turtles, frigate birds, shearwaters and prolific coral reef life. We are also invited to experience typical Samoan life, participating in umu preparation and basket weaving during our stay in the villages.

Description Beaches Comfort Adventure Culture
Lagoon and ocean paddling amongst the Friendly Isles Fale Accommodation
Description
Lagoon and ocean paddling amongst the Friendly Isles
Beaches
Comfort
Fale Accommodation
Adventure
Culture

There are essentially two tours that can be taken separately or combined into a single 9 day trip.  

Turtle Tour

A 4 day tour that is ideal for novice and less experienced kayakers the tour includes:

  • kayak skills training
  • a night on Manono Island,
  • snorkelling with the giant clams
  • Turtle soup - a lagoon paddle where we normally see 20 or more turtles
  • Nuusafee Island - a deserted tropical island with white sand beaches and its own private lagoon.

See the itinerary below for full details.

Aleipata Tour

A 4 day tour better suited to more experienced kayakers  (including those who have completed the Western Tour). Highlights include:

    • Nuusafee Island - a deserted tropical island with white sand beaches and its own private lagoon.
    • Whales, dolphins, boobies, frigate birds, giant turtles and other sea life.
    • Fale camping on Namua Island.
    • Exploring Nuutele and Faanuatapu Islands.

See the itinerary below for full details.

Paddlesome

Combine both trips in a 9 day tour.  We can't say it's awesome, because we don't have oars, but it is paddlesome.

The Turtle Expedition begins at our base at Mulifanua and takes in Manono Island, the giant clams, Turtle Soup and Nuusafee Island.

It is a trip suitable for beginners and inexperienced kayakers, but offers challenges and scenery that will appeal to all kayakers.

For customised tours (minimum 4 people) the trip can start on any day.  The schedule below is based on arriving Saturday and kayaking on Sunday.  It is possible to join on Sunday morning from the Brisbane direct flight.

Itinerary

Arrival Day

If this is the start of your holiday in Samoa, we will meet you at Faleolo Internation Airport, which is 10 minutes from our base at Airport Lodge.  

The fan cooled Garden Bungalows are comfortable, but upgrades are available to the air conditioned Ocean View Units.

Manono Island

Following breakfast we will have a briefing and fit your kayaks to you before setting off to Manono Island.  We are located on the most sheltered coast in Samoa. In good weather conditions, we can venture outside the reef to the sheltered open ocean, where the big turtles live. Alternatively, we can paddle all the way within the reef.

There is usually time today for basic kayak skills training and we will encourage you to experience a wet exit and deep water re-entry (falling out in open water).  With the water temperature around 29 degrees, there is no pleasanter place to learn.  

We paddle most of the way around Manono Island, which is a great chance to observe village life from the water.  Within the lagoon we usually spot smaller turtles and occasionally manta rays.  

After lunch there is time for more kayak skills, a snorkel on the reef or a two hour leisurely walk around the island.  

Giant Clams and Flying Foxes

Early risers can paddle out to Nu'ulopa island to see the flying foxes return to roost.  Dawn from a kayak is worth getting up for.

Back at the fale resort we have breakfast and pack before heading back to the mainland.  There are several route choices but we will normally paddle down the South Coast within the reef before swapping the kayaks for a car trip across the Falelatai Saddle to Le Faga Bay.  

Le Faga Bay is home to a colony of about 150 giant clams.  These molluscs are over 70 cms long and spectacularly coloured.  They are only 50 metres of shore and easy to snorkel to. 

We normally stay at Le Valasis Fales in Le Faga Bay.  Custom tours with a Waterfall or Coastal Adventure Challenge day, stay at Lalotalie River Retreat. 

Turtle Soup

This paddle from Sinalei Resort to Saanapu takes us along a deserted sandy coast, to an area of the lagoon where we normally see at least 20 turtles.  People are amazed at how fast the turtles can swim and it's always a very rewarding day.  As a beginners group, we will stay inside the reef, where we have the opportunity to anchor up and snorkel in the coral gardens.  There re also two sets of mangroves to explore.

We finish the day at Tafatafa, where we stay at Moega Amania Beach Fales, built on the shore of the lagoon.  This is one of the most pleasant beaches on Upolu, with a big range of nearby activies.

Nu'usafe'e Island

We launch from the beach at Moega Amania for a 5km paddle down the coast to Nu'usafee Island.  The island is uninhabited and has two beautiful white sand beaches and its own private lagoon.  We stop for a leisurely lunch, swim, snorkel and explore. The approach to the island is quite sheltered, but it's technically outside the lagoon, and for those wanting to play in the waves, there are often several opportunities to gain new skills. The nearby mangroves at Poutasi provide a calm contrast, and are always worth a tour if people can be persuaded to leave the island.

Your tour ends here (or with a ride back to Apia or Airport Lodge).  However this is a lovely spot and we recommend you stay on for an extra day.

Tafatafa Day  (Optional extra day)

After 4 days of kayaking you may be ready for a relaxing beach day. Your hostes Aunty Mago is a great cook and Nug runs a popular bar at the the resort next door. 

And if your urge for adventure is not yet sated there is heaps to do.  Explore the nearby lava tube caves, visit To Sua trench and swim in the salt water pools at the bottom.  Jump the waterfalls at Togitogiga (or at least swim in the fresh water pools). 

After completing this trip, you will have sufficient skills to join the Aleipata Tour that normally begins on what would be day 6 of this tour.

Price and dates

There are tours departing most months between March and September - see Dates.  These scheduled trips will proceed with as few as two participants and are suitable for solo travellers (a small single supplement may apply).

Price includes:

  • 4 nights accommodation
  • All meals
  • Guide 
  • Kayaks and full safety equipment
  • Transport on tour

 Price $1,300 NZD pp

Add-On Days 

Extra days at Tafatafa

Stay at Tafatafa and explore the surrounding attractions by bike for the rest of the week. 

South Coast Bike Tour

Day 1 - Togitogiga Falls

Ride to the falls and enjoy the refreshing fresh water pools.  Detour back via the Ma tree, Coastal walkway and Aganoa Beach for a very full day.  Stay at Tafatafa

Day 2 To Sua Trench and Lalomanu

Ride to Lalomanu, stopping for at least 2 hours at To Sua Trench.  The collapsed lava tube cave pools are spectacular. There is a small private beach at Lalomanu, where you can stay at the very popular Taufua Beach
Resort.

Day 3 To Namua Island 

Ride to the Namua Island Wharf and take the ferry to Namua.  The Fale Resort on the island is the only habitation, and if your ideal holiday is a picturesque, secluded beach it's very hard to better this.  If lying on the beach reading a book and lazy swimming is not enough, scramble round the island at low tide or climb to the top to watch the sea birds and spot dolphins in the bay.

Day 4 Namua Island

Stay here a second night before wishing everyone "Tofa soifua" and starting your journey back.

 

The Aleipata Expedition begins at Tafatafa with a day trip to Nu'usafe'e Island before heading on to the Aleipata Islands. 

It is a trip best suited to people with experience and confidence with kayaking as it includes sections of open water paddling.  People who have completed the Western tour should be ready and suitably experienced enough for this trip.

For customised tours (minimum 4 people) the trip can start on any day.  The schedule below is based on arriving Saturday and kayaking on Monday.  It is possible to join on Sunday morning from the Brisbane direct flight. 

The trip includes 4 days of kayaking and 4 nights of accommodation.

Itinerary

Pre Arrival

The scheduled trips are designed to run as a follow-on from the Western Trip and so typically start on a Friday morning.  Many people on a scheduled trip are likely to have either taken the South Coast short cycle tour or the Western kayak tour.  However, if you are flying in for the start of the trip we can arrange your first nights accommodation and transfers.

The trip begins at Moega Amania, a delightful fale resort nestled on the beachfront at Tafatafa. 

Nu'usafe'e Island

After a briefing we will fit your kayaks to you and set off for Nu'usafe'e Island.  The trip begins with a 5 km paddle within the reef giving you plenty of time to get acquainted with your kayak.   As we approach Nu'usafe'e we cross the inner reef and have a number of choices on how we approach the Island.  For confident groups this can be a chance to try their skills in small surf and to experience the open ocean swells.   

The island is uninhabited and has two beautiful white sand beaches and its own private lagoon.  We stop for a leisurely lunch, swim, snorkel and explore but no-one is in a rush to leave.    The nearby mangroves at Poutasi provide a calm contrast and are always worth a tour if people can be persuaded to leave the island.

Another alternative for very experienced groups is an afternoon paddle down the coast to Aganoa Beach and on to Sinalei Resort.  However this is an open ocean paddle with an exposed lee shore and will only be done in the right conditions and with a group that is clearly capable.

Aleipata Islands

There is much to see in the Aleipata islands, but some of the best is dependent on swell, tides and wind, so the itinerary is always flexible for these three days. 

Namua Island

Normally we will put in at Lalomanu and paddle to Namua Island.  The route is dependent on swell conditions but with a little luck we will be able to exit through one of the small reef channels and cruise past Nuutele Island.  As we approach the Island we will be closely monitored by large boobies that soar and swoop above us.  

Dolphins are often present in the main bay and as we approach the main channel back into the lagoon we are likely to see large turtles on the surface.   

Our destination for the day is Namua Island which will be our base for 2 nights.  The fale resort is located on a very sheltered, sandy beach and being the only habitation on the island , with no electricity there is a real sense of a tranquil, remote getaway.   It's a great place to relax, but also a fun place to explore.  At low tide it is possible to scramble around the base of the island, exploring the hidden beaches on the exposed East coast.  The climb to the top of the island is also well worth the effort for the views over the reefs and bays, and a chance to study the seabirds soaring close to the cliffs.

 Fanuatapu Island

Fanuatapu lies on the edge of the reef with a sheltered beach within the lagoon.  From the lighthouse at the top we get a close up view of frigate birds in aerial dog-fights with searwaters and other smaller birds (frigates lack waterproofing oil in their feathers and feed either by skimming the sea surface or stealing food from other birds).  On clear days American Samoa is visible 70 kms away on the horizon.

On the return from Fanuatapu there are opportunities to snorkel over the coral gardens.

Nuutele Island

Nuutele lies entirely outside the reef and so access is dependent on swell conditions.  The cliffs on the East side are home to numerous seabirds and we get a unique view of them nesting in the cliff holes and clifftop trees.  If conditions are right we will land at the abandoned Leper Colony which is located on a spectacular beach. The remains of the colony are still present, but the storm debris spread almost 100 metres inland to the foot of the old buildings is stark reminder of how isolated and tough living here must have been.  There is a resident pod of dolphins in the bay and we have occasionally had whales breach nearby.

Nuulua Island

This is the most remote and exposed island in the group.  The only landing place is on the exposed Eastern side so we are more likely to admire the birds and cliffs from the water than land. 

Tour End

The kayaking part of the tour ends either at the Namua wharf or Lalomanu.  Transport back to Apia is included, however there is much more to do here, so consider some of the add-on options detailed below:

Pricing and dates

Price Includes:

  • All accommodation and meals
  • All transport while on tour
  • Guide services
  • kayak hire

Price  NZD 1,300 pp  (share twin/double).

Minimum party size for scheduled tours is 2 (individual bookings welcome once we have two bookings).  

Minimum party size for custom tours/custom departure dates is 4.

Departure dates:


See Departure Dates for scheduled trips, or get your own group of four or more together and go whenever you want.

Additional Activities

Extra days at Lalomanu or Namua

Tafua Beach Fales at Lalomanu is regarded by Lonely Planet as one of the best value  beach resorts in the world.  We also like Namua and Megea Amania for their less commercialised feel.

Add on a few days at any of these resorts.

Cycle the South Coast

Ride back to Airport lodge over 4-8 days , staying on the beach in fales each night and taking in the following experiences:

  • To Sua Trench - dramatic collapsed lava tube cave pools
  • Lava tube caves 
  • Togitogiga waterfalls and pools
  • Aganoa black sand beach
  • Waterfall and canyoning challenge
  • Coastering and coastal navigation challenge (a climbing, swimming, scrambling coastal and forest adventure)
  • Giant Clams of Le Faga bay

See South Coast Ride for more details.

 

 

This trip combines the Turtle and Aleipata tours into a nine day trip.

It can be undertaken by relative novices, but the trip will progress from sheltered water paddling to some open ocean travel with moderate swells and the possibility of surf landings.

For customised tours (minimum 4 people) the trip can start on any day.  The schedule below is based on arriving Saturday and kayaking on Sunday.  It is possible to join on Sunday morning from the Brisbane direct flight.

Itinerary

Arrival Day

If this is the start of your holiday in Samoa we will meet you off the plane at "Apia" Airport (the international Airport is called Apia by the airlines but locally is known as Faleolo.  It is 10 minutes from our base but 50 minutes from Apia).

We are based at Airport Lodge and it is a convenient place to start your trip.  The fan cooled Garden Bungalows are comfortable but upgrades are available to the air conditioned Ocean View units.

Manono Island

After a briefing we will fit your kayaks to you and set off for Manono.  We are located on the most sheltered coast in Samoa and it is one of the few places where it is easy to cross the reef and paddle in sheltered open ocean.  So conditions permitting we will venture out to where the big turtles live, otherwise we stay within the reef all the way. 

There is usually time today for basic kayak skills training and we will encourage you to experience a wet exit and deep water re-entry (falling out in open water).  With the water temperature around 29 degrees there is no pleasanter place to learn.  

Our accommodation is on the South side of Manono so we paddle most of the way around the island which is a great chance to observe village life from the water.  Within the lagoon we usually spot smaller turtles and occasionally manta rays will breach spectacularly nearby.

After lunch there is time for more kayak skills work, snorkelling on the reef or a two hour walk around the island.  

Giant Clams and Flying Foxes

Getting up pre-dawn on only the second morning seems a bit tough but watching the sun rise from a kayak off Nuulopa Island as the flying foxes return to roost is well worth the effort.  In good conditions we can paddle right round this little island which is usually a great chance to experience a small, gentle surf for those who want a bit more challenge before breakfast.

Back at the fale resort we have breakfast and pack before heading back to the mainland.  There are several route choices but we will normally paddle down the South Coast within the reef before swapping the kayaks for a car trip across the Falelatai saddle to Le Faga Bay.  

Le Faga Bay is home to a colony of about 150 giant clams.  These molluscs are over 70 cms long and spectacularly coloured.  They are also easy to snorkel to being only 50 metres offshore in sheltered water.  They can close remarkably quickly so we only swim there above half tide to leave a good 2 metres of water above them.

We normally stay at Le Valasis fales in Le Faga Bay.  Custom tours wanting to add a waterfall or coastal adventure challenge day would stay a Lalotalie River Retreat.   

Turtle Soup

 This paddle from Sinalei Resort to Saanapu takes us along a deserted sandy coast to an area of lagoon where we normally see at least 20 turtles.  People are amazed at how fast the turtles can swim and its always a very rewarding day.  Depending on the group there are many variations to the day, but as a beginners group we will stay inside the reef.  I love to anchor up and snorkel in the coral gardens and there are two sets of mangroves to explore.

We finish the day at Tafatafa where Moega Amania is a fale resort built on the shore of the lagoon.  This is one of the most pleasant beaches on Upolu and with the range of nearby activities it is worth staying a few days, even without the kayaks.

Nu'usafe'e Island

We launch from the beach at Moega Amania for a 5km paddle down the coast to Nu'usafee Island.  The island is uninhabited and has two beautiful white sand beaches and its own private lagoon.  We stop for a leisurely lunch, swim, snorkel and explore. The approach to the island is quite sheltered, but it's technically outside the lagoon and for those wanting to play in the waves there are often several opportunities to gain new skills.  The nearby mangroves at Poutasi provide a calm contrast and are always worth a tour if people can be persuaded to leave the island.  Activity costs and lunch on this day are not included.

Tafatafa Day

After 4 days of kayaking you may be ready for a relaxing beach day. Your hostess Aunty Mago is a good cook and Nug runs a great bar at the resort next door. 

However if your urge for adventure is not yet sated there is heaps to do.  Explore the nearby lava tube caves, visit To Sua trench and swim in the salt water pools at the bottom (in the right conditions there is a very challenging underwater tunnel swim to the sea), Jump the waterfalls at Togitogiga (or at least swim in the fresh water pools). 

Aganoa Black Sands Beach

There are several options for this day depending on group composition and swell.  If conditions are ideal we will paddle down the open coast to Aganoa Beach.  This remote, sheltered location has excellent coral gardens, while the trip down the coast while the waves crashing against the cliffs and sea arches along the way are spectacular.  Along the way we stop at Nu'usafe'e island and we finish at Sinalei Resort, before heading back to Moega Amania for the evening.

If conditions are not suitable we will explore more of the channels and reefs near Nu'usafe'e Island.

Aleipata Islands

There is much to see in the Aleipata islands, but some of the best is dependent on swell, tides and wind, so the itinerary is always flexible for these three days. 

Namua Island

Normally we will put in at Lalomanu and paddle to Namua Island.  The route is dependent on swell conditions but with a little luck we will be able to exit through one of the small reef channels and cruise past Nuutele Island.  As we approach the Island we will be closely monitored by large boobies that soar and swoop above us.  

Dolphins are often present in the main bay and as we approach the main channel back into the lagoon we are likely to see large turtles on the surface.   

Our destination for the day is Namua Island which will be our base for 2 nights.  The fale resort is located on a very sheltered, sandy beach and being the only habitation on the island , with no electricity there is a real sense of a tranquil, remote getaway.   It's a great place to relax, but also a fun place to explore.  At low tide it is possible to scramble around the base of the island, exploring the hidden beaches on the exposed East coast.  The climb to the top of the island is also well worth the effort for the views over the reefs and bays, and a chance to study the seabirds soaring close to the cliffs.

 Fanuatapu Island

Fanuatapu lies on the edge of the reef with a sheltered beach within the lagoon.  From the lighthouse at the top we get a close up view of frigate birds in aerial dog-fights with searwaters and other smaller birds (frigates lack waterproofing oil in their feathers and feed either by skimming the sea surface or stealing food from other birds).  On clear days American Samoa is visible 70 kms away on the horizon.

On the return from Fanuatapu there are opportunities to snorkel over the coral gardens.

Nuutele Island

Nuutele lies entirely outside the reef and so access is dependent on swell conditions.  The cliffs on the East side are home to numerous seabirds and we get a unique view of them nesting in the cliff holes and clifftop trees.  If conditions are right we will land at the abandoned Leper Colony which is located on a spectacular beach. The remains of the colony are still present, but the storm debris spread almost 100 metres inland to the foot of the old buildings is stark reminder of how isolated and tough living here must have been.  There is a resident pod of dolphins in the bay and we have occasionally had whales breach nearby.

Nuulua Island

This is the most remote and exposed island in the group.  The only landing place is on the exposed Eastern side so we are more likely to admire the birds and cliffs from the water than land. 

Tour End

Price and dates

There are tours departing most months between March and September - see Dates.  These scheduled trips will proceed with as few as two participants and are suitable for solo travellers (a small single supplement may apply).

Price includes:

  • 9 nights accommodation
  • All meals
  • Guide 
  • Kayaks and full safety equipment
  • Transport on tour

 Price $2,500 NZD pp

The kayaking part of the tour ends either at the Namua wharf or Lalomanu.  Transport back to Apia is included.

If you have more time consider adding a cycle tour of either island.

The Turtle Expedition begins at our base at Mulifanua and takes in Manono Island, the giant clams, Turtle Soup and Nuusafee Island.

It is a trip suitable for beginners and inexperienced kayakers, but offers challenges and scenery that will appeal to all kayakers.

For customised tours (minimum 4 people) the trip can start on any day.  The schedule below is based on arriving Saturday and kayaking on Sunday.  It is possible to join on Sunday morning from the Brisbane direct flight.

Itinerary

Arrival Day

If this is the start of your holiday in Samoa, we will meet you at Faleolo Internation Airport, which is 10 minutes from our base at Airport Lodge.  

The fan cooled Garden Bungalows are comfortable, but upgrades are available to the air conditioned Ocean View Units.

Manono Island

Following breakfast we will have a briefing and fit your kayaks to you before setting off to Manono Island.  We are located on the most sheltered coast in Samoa. In good weather conditions, we can venture outside the reef to the sheltered open ocean, where the big turtles live. Alternatively, we can paddle all the way within the reef.

There is usually time today for basic kayak skills training and we will encourage you to experience a wet exit and deep water re-entry (falling out in open water).  With the water temperature around 29 degrees, there is no pleasanter place to learn.  

We paddle most of the way around Manono Island, which is a great chance to observe village life from the water.  Within the lagoon we usually spot smaller turtles and occasionally manta rays.  

After lunch there is time for more kayak skills, a snorkel on the reef or a two hour leisurely walk around the island.  

Giant Clams and Flying Foxes

Early risers can paddle out to Nu'ulopa island to see the flying foxes return to roost.  Dawn from a kayak is worth getting up for.

Back at the fale resort we have breakfast and pack before heading back to the mainland.  There are several route choices but we will normally paddle down the South Coast within the reef before swapping the kayaks for a car trip across the Falelatai Saddle to Le Faga Bay.  

Le Faga Bay is home to a colony of about 150 giant clams.  These molluscs are over 70 cms long and spectacularly coloured.  They are only 50 metres of shore and easy to snorkel to. 

We normally stay at Le Valasis Fales in Le Faga Bay.  Custom tours with a Waterfall or Coastal Adventure Challenge day, stay at Lalotalie River Retreat. 

Turtle Soup

This paddle from Sinalei Resort to Saanapu takes us along a deserted sandy coast, to an area of the lagoon where we normally see at least 20 turtles.  People are amazed at how fast the turtles can swim and it's always a very rewarding day.  As a beginners group, we will stay inside the reef, where we have the opportunity to anchor up and snorkel in the coral gardens.  There re also two sets of mangroves to explore.

We finish the day at Tafatafa, where we stay at Moega Amania Beach Fales, built on the shore of the lagoon.  This is one of the most pleasant beaches on Upolu, with a big range of nearby activies.

Nu'usafe'e Island

We launch from the beach at Moega Amania for a 5km paddle down the coast to Nu'usafee Island.  The island is uninhabited and has two beautiful white sand beaches and its own private lagoon.  We stop for a leisurely lunch, swim, snorkel and explore. The approach to the island is quite sheltered, but it's technically outside the lagoon, and for those wanting to play in the waves, there are often several opportunities to gain new skills. The nearby mangroves at Poutasi provide a calm contrast, and are always worth a tour if people can be persuaded to leave the island.

Your tour ends here (or with a ride back to Apia or Airport Lodge).  However this is a lovely spot and we recommend you stay on for an extra day.

Tafatafa Day  (Optional extra day)

After 4 days of kayaking you may be ready for a relaxing beach day. Your hostes Aunty Mago is a great cook and Nug runs a popular bar at the the resort next door. 

And if your urge for adventure is not yet sated there is heaps to do.  Explore the nearby lava tube caves, visit To Sua trench and swim in the salt water pools at the bottom.  Jump the waterfalls at Togitogiga (or at least swim in the fresh water pools). 

After completing this trip, you will have sufficient skills to join the Aleipata Tour that normally begins on what would be day 6 of this tour.

Price and dates

There are tours departing most months between March and September - see Dates.  These scheduled trips will proceed with as few as two participants and are suitable for solo travellers (a small single supplement may apply).

Price includes:

  • 4 nights accommodation
  • All meals
  • Guide 
  • Kayaks and full safety equipment
  • Transport on tour

 Price $1,300 NZD pp

Add-On Days 

Extra days at Tafatafa

Stay at Tafatafa and explore the surrounding attractions by bike for the rest of the week. 

South Coast Bike Tour

Day 1 - Togitogiga Falls

Ride to the falls and enjoy the refreshing fresh water pools.  Detour back via the Ma tree, Coastal walkway and Aganoa Beach for a very full day.  Stay at Tafatafa

Day 2 To Sua Trench and Lalomanu

Ride to Lalomanu, stopping for at least 2 hours at To Sua Trench.  The collapsed lava tube cave pools are spectacular. There is a small private beach at Lalomanu, where you can stay at the very popular Taufua Beach
Resort.

Day 3 To Namua Island 

Ride to the Namua Island Wharf and take the ferry to Namua.  The Fale Resort on the island is the only habitation, and if your ideal holiday is a picturesque, secluded beach it's very hard to better this.  If lying on the beach reading a book and lazy swimming is not enough, scramble round the island at low tide or climb to the top to watch the sea birds and spot dolphins in the bay.

Day 4 Namua Island

Stay here a second night before wishing everyone "Tofa soifua" and starting your journey back.

 

The Aleipata Expedition begins at Tafatafa with a day trip to Nu'usafe'e Island before heading on to the Aleipata Islands. 

It is a trip best suited to people with experience and confidence with kayaking as it includes sections of open water paddling.  People who have completed the Western tour should be ready and suitably experienced enough for this trip.

For customised tours (minimum 4 people) the trip can start on any day.  The schedule below is based on arriving Saturday and kayaking on Monday.  It is possible to join on Sunday morning from the Brisbane direct flight. 

The trip includes 4 days of kayaking and 4 nights of accommodation.

Itinerary

Pre Arrival

The scheduled trips are designed to run as a follow-on from the Western Trip and so typically start on a Friday morning.  Many people on a scheduled trip are likely to have either taken the South Coast short cycle tour or the Western kayak tour.  However, if you are flying in for the start of the trip we can arrange your first nights accommodation and transfers.

The trip begins at Moega Amania, a delightful fale resort nestled on the beachfront at Tafatafa. 

Nu'usafe'e Island

After a briefing we will fit your kayaks to you and set off for Nu'usafe'e Island.  The trip begins with a 5 km paddle within the reef giving you plenty of time to get acquainted with your kayak.   As we approach Nu'usafe'e we cross the inner reef and have a number of choices on how we approach the Island.  For confident groups this can be a chance to try their skills in small surf and to experience the open ocean swells.   

The island is uninhabited and has two beautiful white sand beaches and its own private lagoon.  We stop for a leisurely lunch, swim, snorkel and explore but no-one is in a rush to leave.    The nearby mangroves at Poutasi provide a calm contrast and are always worth a tour if people can be persuaded to leave the island.

Another alternative for very experienced groups is an afternoon paddle down the coast to Aganoa Beach and on to Sinalei Resort.  However this is an open ocean paddle with an exposed lee shore and will only be done in the right conditions and with a group that is clearly capable.

Aleipata Islands

There is much to see in the Aleipata islands, but some of the best is dependent on swell, tides and wind, so the itinerary is always flexible for these three days. 

Namua Island

Normally we will put in at Lalomanu and paddle to Namua Island.  The route is dependent on swell conditions but with a little luck we will be able to exit through one of the small reef channels and cruise past Nuutele Island.  As we approach the Island we will be closely monitored by large boobies that soar and swoop above us.  

Dolphins are often present in the main bay and as we approach the main channel back into the lagoon we are likely to see large turtles on the surface.   

Our destination for the day is Namua Island which will be our base for 2 nights.  The fale resort is located on a very sheltered, sandy beach and being the only habitation on the island , with no electricity there is a real sense of a tranquil, remote getaway.   It's a great place to relax, but also a fun place to explore.  At low tide it is possible to scramble around the base of the island, exploring the hidden beaches on the exposed East coast.  The climb to the top of the island is also well worth the effort for the views over the reefs and bays, and a chance to study the seabirds soaring close to the cliffs.

 Fanuatapu Island

Fanuatapu lies on the edge of the reef with a sheltered beach within the lagoon.  From the lighthouse at the top we get a close up view of frigate birds in aerial dog-fights with searwaters and other smaller birds (frigates lack waterproofing oil in their feathers and feed either by skimming the sea surface or stealing food from other birds).  On clear days American Samoa is visible 70 kms away on the horizon.

On the return from Fanuatapu there are opportunities to snorkel over the coral gardens.

Nuutele Island

Nuutele lies entirely outside the reef and so access is dependent on swell conditions.  The cliffs on the East side are home to numerous seabirds and we get a unique view of them nesting in the cliff holes and clifftop trees.  If conditions are right we will land at the abandoned Leper Colony which is located on a spectacular beach. The remains of the colony are still present, but the storm debris spread almost 100 metres inland to the foot of the old buildings is stark reminder of how isolated and tough living here must have been.  There is a resident pod of dolphins in the bay and we have occasionally had whales breach nearby.

Nuulua Island

This is the most remote and exposed island in the group.  The only landing place is on the exposed Eastern side so we are more likely to admire the birds and cliffs from the water than land. 

Tour End

The kayaking part of the tour ends either at the Namua wharf or Lalomanu.  Transport back to Apia is included, however there is much more to do here, so consider some of the add-on options detailed below:

Pricing and dates

Price Includes:

  • All accommodation and meals
  • All transport while on tour
  • Guide services
  • kayak hire

Price  NZD 1,300 pp  (share twin/double).

Minimum party size for scheduled tours is 2 (individual bookings welcome once we have two bookings).  

Minimum party size for custom tours/custom departure dates is 4.

Departure dates:


See Departure Dates for scheduled trips, or get your own group of four or more together and go whenever you want.

Additional Activities

Extra days at Lalomanu or Namua

Tafua Beach Fales at Lalomanu is regarded by Lonely Planet as one of the best value  beach resorts in the world.  We also like Namua and Megea Amania for their less commercialised feel.

Add on a few days at any of these resorts.

Cycle the South Coast

Ride back to Airport lodge over 4-8 days , staying on the beach in fales each night and taking in the following experiences:

  • To Sua Trench - dramatic collapsed lava tube cave pools
  • Lava tube caves 
  • Togitogiga waterfalls and pools
  • Aganoa black sand beach
  • Waterfall and canyoning challenge
  • Coastering and coastal navigation challenge (a climbing, swimming, scrambling coastal and forest adventure)
  • Giant Clams of Le Faga bay

See South Coast Ride for more details.

 

 

This trip combines the Turtle and Aleipata tours into a nine day trip.

It can be undertaken by relative novices, but the trip will progress from sheltered water paddling to some open ocean travel with moderate swells and the possibility of surf landings.

For customised tours (minimum 4 people) the trip can start on any day.  The schedule below is based on arriving Saturday and kayaking on Sunday.  It is possible to join on Sunday morning from the Brisbane direct flight.

Itinerary

Arrival Day

If this is the start of your holiday in Samoa we will meet you off the plane at "Apia" Airport (the international Airport is called Apia by the airlines but locally is known as Faleolo.  It is 10 minutes from our base but 50 minutes from Apia).

We are based at Airport Lodge and it is a convenient place to start your trip.  The fan cooled Garden Bungalows are comfortable but upgrades are available to the air conditioned Ocean View units.

Manono Island

After a briefing we will fit your kayaks to you and set off for Manono.  We are located on the most sheltered coast in Samoa and it is one of the few places where it is easy to cross the reef and paddle in sheltered open ocean.  So conditions permitting we will venture out to where the big turtles live, otherwise we stay within the reef all the way. 

There is usually time today for basic kayak skills training and we will encourage you to experience a wet exit and deep water re-entry (falling out in open water).  With the water temperature around 29 degrees there is no pleasanter place to learn.  

Our accommodation is on the South side of Manono so we paddle most of the way around the island which is a great chance to observe village life from the water.  Within the lagoon we usually spot smaller turtles and occasionally manta rays will breach spectacularly nearby.

After lunch there is time for more kayak skills work, snorkelling on the reef or a two hour walk around the island.  

Giant Clams and Flying Foxes

Getting up pre-dawn on only the second morning seems a bit tough but watching the sun rise from a kayak off Nuulopa Island as the flying foxes return to roost is well worth the effort.  In good conditions we can paddle right round this little island which is usually a great chance to experience a small, gentle surf for those who want a bit more challenge before breakfast.

Back at the fale resort we have breakfast and pack before heading back to the mainland.  There are several route choices but we will normally paddle down the South Coast within the reef before swapping the kayaks for a car trip across the Falelatai saddle to Le Faga Bay.  

Le Faga Bay is home to a colony of about 150 giant clams.  These molluscs are over 70 cms long and spectacularly coloured.  They are also easy to snorkel to being only 50 metres offshore in sheltered water.  They can close remarkably quickly so we only swim there above half tide to leave a good 2 metres of water above them.

We normally stay at Le Valasis fales in Le Faga Bay.  Custom tours wanting to add a waterfall or coastal adventure challenge day would stay a Lalotalie River Retreat.   

Turtle Soup

 This paddle from Sinalei Resort to Saanapu takes us along a deserted sandy coast to an area of lagoon where we normally see at least 20 turtles.  People are amazed at how fast the turtles can swim and its always a very rewarding day.  Depending on the group there are many variations to the day, but as a beginners group we will stay inside the reef.  I love to anchor up and snorkel in the coral gardens and there are two sets of mangroves to explore.

We finish the day at Tafatafa where Moega Amania is a fale resort built on the shore of the lagoon.  This is one of the most pleasant beaches on Upolu and with the range of nearby activities it is worth staying a few days, even without the kayaks.

Nu'usafe'e Island

We launch from the beach at Moega Amania for a 5km paddle down the coast to Nu'usafee Island.  The island is uninhabited and has two beautiful white sand beaches and its own private lagoon.  We stop for a leisurely lunch, swim, snorkel and explore. The approach to the island is quite sheltered, but it's technically outside the lagoon and for those wanting to play in the waves there are often several opportunities to gain new skills.  The nearby mangroves at Poutasi provide a calm contrast and are always worth a tour if people can be persuaded to leave the island.  Activity costs and lunch on this day are not included.

Tafatafa Day

After 4 days of kayaking you may be ready for a relaxing beach day. Your hostess Aunty Mago is a good cook and Nug runs a great bar at the resort next door. 

However if your urge for adventure is not yet sated there is heaps to do.  Explore the nearby lava tube caves, visit To Sua trench and swim in the salt water pools at the bottom (in the right conditions there is a very challenging underwater tunnel swim to the sea), Jump the waterfalls at Togitogiga (or at least swim in the fresh water pools). 

Aganoa Black Sands Beach

There are several options for this day depending on group composition and swell.  If conditions are ideal we will paddle down the open coast to Aganoa Beach.  This remote, sheltered location has excellent coral gardens, while the trip down the coast while the waves crashing against the cliffs and sea arches along the way are spectacular.  Along the way we stop at Nu'usafe'e island and we finish at Sinalei Resort, before heading back to Moega Amania for the evening.

If conditions are not suitable we will explore more of the channels and reefs near Nu'usafe'e Island.

Aleipata Islands

There is much to see in the Aleipata islands, but some of the best is dependent on swell, tides and wind, so the itinerary is always flexible for these three days. 

Namua Island

Normally we will put in at Lalomanu and paddle to Namua Island.  The route is dependent on swell conditions but with a little luck we will be able to exit through one of the small reef channels and cruise past Nuutele Island.  As we approach the Island we will be closely monitored by large boobies that soar and swoop above us.  

Dolphins are often present in the main bay and as we approach the main channel back into the lagoon we are likely to see large turtles on the surface.   

Our destination for the day is Namua Island which will be our base for 2 nights.  The fale resort is located on a very sheltered, sandy beach and being the only habitation on the island , with no electricity there is a real sense of a tranquil, remote getaway.   It's a great place to relax, but also a fun place to explore.  At low tide it is possible to scramble around the base of the island, exploring the hidden beaches on the exposed East coast.  The climb to the top of the island is also well worth the effort for the views over the reefs and bays, and a chance to study the seabirds soaring close to the cliffs.

 Fanuatapu Island

Fanuatapu lies on the edge of the reef with a sheltered beach within the lagoon.  From the lighthouse at the top we get a close up view of frigate birds in aerial dog-fights with searwaters and other smaller birds (frigates lack waterproofing oil in their feathers and feed either by skimming the sea surface or stealing food from other birds).  On clear days American Samoa is visible 70 kms away on the horizon.

On the return from Fanuatapu there are opportunities to snorkel over the coral gardens.

Nuutele Island

Nuutele lies entirely outside the reef and so access is dependent on swell conditions.  The cliffs on the East side are home to numerous seabirds and we get a unique view of them nesting in the cliff holes and clifftop trees.  If conditions are right we will land at the abandoned Leper Colony which is located on a spectacular beach. The remains of the colony are still present, but the storm debris spread almost 100 metres inland to the foot of the old buildings is stark reminder of how isolated and tough living here must have been.  There is a resident pod of dolphins in the bay and we have occasionally had whales breach nearby.

Nuulua Island

This is the most remote and exposed island in the group.  The only landing place is on the exposed Eastern side so we are more likely to admire the birds and cliffs from the water than land. 

Tour End

Price and dates

There are tours departing most months between March and September - see Dates.  These scheduled trips will proceed with as few as two participants and are suitable for solo travellers (a small single supplement may apply).

Price includes:

  • 9 nights accommodation
  • All meals
  • Guide 
  • Kayaks and full safety equipment
  • Transport on tour

 Price $2,500 NZD pp

The kayaking part of the tour ends either at the Namua wharf or Lalomanu.  Transport back to Apia is included.

If you have more time consider adding a cycle tour of either island.

Mangroves at Poutasi

South side of Manono

Eagle Ray

Near Manono

Giant Clams

Giant Clam

Old and new boats

Namua Fale resort

Namua circumnavigation

Kayak skills

Fanuatapu from Namua Island

The end of another tough day in the office

To Sua Trench

Namua - Eastern Beach

Snorkelling from the kayaks

Nuutele Island

Starting point

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