Niue is one of the world's largest coral islands. This upraised coral atoll, affectionately known as “The Rock of Polynesia”, is situated in the south-west Pacific Ocean, just over 3 hours north of New Zealand.
The coral make up of the island and the surging Pacific Ocean has created a rugged coastline of soaring archways, deep chasms, cool caves, fascinating rock pools and intimate swimming coves. A fringe of coral reef clings to Niue’s sides before plunging to abyssal depths.
As there are no sandy beaches, streams or rivers on Niue, the rain filters through the porous coral into the warm waters of the Pacific, completely devoid of any silt runoff. This allows the surrounding ocean to remain crystal clear with visibility often reaching up to 70 metres - wonderful for diving.
The interior of the island is the remains of a shallow lagoon and is therefore flat with lush, tropical rainforests rich in diversity of spectacular flora and fauna, bird life and butterflies are everywhere. The entire island is laced with a myriad of magnificent limestone caves and unique geological formations. Many caves are still being formed with stalagmites and stalactites in all stages of development. The bush tracks through the forests are not clearly signposted so it is essential to explore harder to find caves with a local tour guide who will provide an insight into their history.
Niue is a unique, unspoiled island destination. It is laid back, quiet and peaceful, an island for the explorer and adventurer and for those who want to relax in an un-commercialized environment among friendly people.
The island country of Niue covers an area of 269 sq. km. The island is almost completely surrounded by coral reef, except for a break in the reef near the capital of Alofi on the central, western coast. Two large bays at Alofi and Avatele indent the west coast. 60 metre high limestone cliffs along the coast protect a number of limestone caves and rise to a central plateau. There is a mostly sealed 64 km road that circumnavigates the island as well as inland routes leading from Alofi to the surrounding villages. On Niue there are no traffic lights!
Air New Zealand services Niue with twice weekly flights from Auckland, New Zealand to Niue with connections to / from Australia. You will gain a day on arrival as you cross the International Date Line.
Every year (generally varying from June to October), the Humpback whales arrive in Niue’s waters to calve and nurse their young on their annual migration through the South Pacific. Niue is one of the few places in the world where you may be lucky enough to swim with humpback whales during this period.
Niue is laced with caves ranging in size from wormholes to giant caverns. These systems formed the basis of ancient Niuean homes, food storage and burial places.
Guided cave tours and expeditions are graded from easy to challenging dependent on visitors needs and abilities. The guide has extensive knowledge of the history and legends of the caves.
Niue is legendary amongst in-the-know fishermen. The steep drop off to the abyss on the edge of the Pacific Plate provides fishing just metres off shore. Large predatory fish use Niue as a marker and stopover point. Big game and sport fishing are excellent.
The main species targeted are Wahoo, Mahimahi and
Yellowfin Tuna with Marlin also being taken. Boats
are lowered by crane and trolling begins within
metres of the wharf with no time taken up with
getting to fishing spots. Saltwater fly-fishing
can also be tried with lines cast close to the
reef from off shore.
A magical 3 hour tour exploring the depths of Niue’s marvellous rainforest is a must. As walking tracks are scarce a guided tour with a botanical expert is a good idea and will enhance your senses and knowledge of the ancient forest.
The mainly flat terrain and lack of traffic makes biking a relaxing and fun pastime. Ride the sealed roads to one of the many coral pools around the coast or go off road on trails through taro fields and tropical rainforests. Good quality and well maintained bikes can be hired from rental companies.
Niue Golf and Sport Club
A 9 hole golf course and 2 tennis courts are available. The course is a little underdeveloped but the clubhouse is well stocked and friendly. Clubs and rackets can be hired at reasonable rates.
Niue has a warm and pleasant tropical climate with temperatures consistently ranging between the high 20’s during the day to the low 20’s at night (ºC).
The wettest and hottest months of the year are from January to March.
July to September is the best time to see the annual humpback whale migration.
Niue’s isolated location, lack of rivers and porous make-up, provides stunning clarity with water visibility of no less than 40 metres. Great for underwater photography. Explore drop-offs, canyons and caves.
The reef, predominately made up of hard coral, drops to around 40 metres, where it levels off for a short distance before heading off into the vastness of the abyss. There are numerous dive sites, some quite challenging.
Snake Gully has an abundance of timid sea snakes measuring up to a metre long. They ascend to the surface for a gulp of air before returning to probe the crevices of the reef for food. Along with the usual reef dwellers you will encounter reef sharks, barracuda, Maori wrasse, the comical anemone, surgeon fish, Moorish idol, regal angelfish, long nosed butterfish, large fin banner fish, the crown of thorns starfish and the elusive aqua Ribbon eel.
dolphins are in attendance all year. Every year,
between June and November the migrating Humpback
Whales are a common sight frolicking around and
breaching close to shore.
Enter a hole five metres below the surface and drop down vertically through the 'chimney' reaching “the fireplace " at twenty seven metres. As you descend, the bubbles from the divers below drift pass, giving the feeling you are in space. Look up and you have a silhouette of the following divers. At the base you are in an arch from which you look out into the deep blue waters. The fireplace is a favourite haunt for crayfish.
This dive site is one of the further sites from the dive shop. However it is defiantly worth the trip.The dive is based around two large caverns in the reef flat dropping down from a shallow 6m down to 28m. As you make your way through the caverns you can encounter Nudibranchs, Juvenile Scorpion Fish, friendly Sea Kraits, Spotted Rock Cod and on occasions a Black Tip Reef Shark or a Napoleon Wrasse. This is a great dive for those that enjoy caverns and swim throughs but also has a variety of marine life both large and small.
There are several stunning in shore swimming areas and coral pools like Matapa Chasm and Limu that offer a gentle introduction to the marine world beyond the outer reef.
The clear shallow waters with temperatures between 25 – 28°C, teem with colourful fish and living coral. You can snorkel around the rock pools, some formerly reserved exclusively for Niuean kings, for hours without growing tired or cold.
|Namukulu Cottages and Spa
10 mins drive north of Alofi
|Scenic Matavai Resort
10 mins drive south of Alofi
Wifi: Yes (charges apply)
|Matavai Motel and Villa
1.7km north of Matavai Resort
Niue is an isolated island located in the South Pacific between Tonga to the west and the Cook Islands to the east. Best known as 'the Rock of Polynesia', Niue is a perfect example of a 'raised atoll' island, the world’s largest single coral island. The international country code for Niue is 683. Niue is 11 hours behind of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
(subject to change)
Australian passport holders do not need a visa to visit Niue for a maximum stay of 30 days. For other passport holders, please contact the appropriate authorities to check your entry requirements.
The currency of Niue is the New Zealand Dollar. Visa is the only credit card accepted on the island.
1 AUD = approximately 1.03 NZD (June 2017)
The isolated location and lack of rivers results in stunning visibility, usually reaching over 40 meters with water temperatures between 25°C to 30°C. Niue is a true underwater photographers dream. You will be able to explore magical drop-offs, canyons, caves, tropical sea life and corals. It is also possible to snorkel with humpback whales between July to October. A 3-5mm suit is recommended. Dive operators supply tanks, weight belts and dive guide services. There will be an extra charge if equipment hire is required.