About Niue Island
About Niue Island
For anyone looking to escape the mundane realities of our daily lives & seeking sanctuary, ‘Niue Island’ is the paradise on earth. One of the most pristine self governed state in the globe with the world’s largest integrated coral islands ‘Niue’, traditionally pronounced as ‘Rock of Polynesia’ is situated in the South Pacific Ocean. Spreading over 260 km2 with a population of only 1612 the island stands tall under the leadership of Queen Elizabeth II of New Zealand. Almost 95% of Niuean people reside in New Zealand, speaking English & Niuean. The village ‘Alofi’ is the capital with remaining 13 more municipalities (villages). All members of the state enjoy free Wi-fi & patronize environment free livelihood. Beyond fishery & agriculture tourism remains the priority for the economic development. The donor agencies & the government invest a large portion of the annual budget to enhance their tourism which is a major industry. Rugby is very familiar; however, soccer is also played & netball is popular amongst the women.
There are many diverse activities one can participate in Niue including sightseeing, diving & snorkeling, art & culture, fishing & curving, trekking, even golfing (This tiny island even has a 9 holes golf course!). Popular must visit attractions include the following:
- Huvalu Forest: One of the main attractions of this island is its rainforest encompassing almost 20% of the island area. One could easily seize a guide or visit here with groups to grasp a glimpse of nature’s exotic beauty.
- Talava Arches: If you are a fan of rock climbing & don’t mind the sweat, you could always go for a walk in this rock archway.
- Matapa Chasm: Following the steamy exhausting walk in the Talava Arches, the Matapa chasm would be the perfect place to cool off with a dip. Separated from the sea by large boulders along its borders, one can enjoy both the serenity of the pure water & avoid the hazard of the strong sea currents.
- Liku Sea Track & Cave: On Niue’s East Coast, this sea track is about 500 metres from Liku Village. At sunset countless tourists gather here to enjoy the amazing view across the sea line. At low tide one even see the coastline of Chile!
- Anapala Chasm: Adjacent to the Hakupu Heritage Park, this spring is the island’s only fresh water source, owing to the absence of lakes or rivers.
- Avaiki Cave: Yet another beautiful swimming option provided by this limestone cave (other than Sundays), which opens to a reef on one side. At low tide one may even go for a walk along the reef.
Diving: If you are a fan of sea diving or have never tried it before, Buccaneer Adventures Niue Dive (formerly Niue Dive) is the oldest Water sports operator in Niue, operating in Niue for over 25 years, is the place for you. They run two-dive trips for $170 and a four-day open water course is roughly $650. They also offer professional Scuba Diving trips and courses, snorkeling, in-water whale and dolphin interactions; stand up paddle boards, inflatable kayaks. However, beware of decompression, which means dives must not be scheduled the day before your flight from Niue Islands.
Snorkeling: Care to peek into the marvelous underwater world of sea wonders? The Utuko Reef in Alofi and the reef pools at Hio Beach are excellent for beginners who have never tried snorkeling before. Further north from Hio there’s a pair of giant natural pools at Matapa that are best at low tide. It is best to take a guide or seek weather advices before going snorkeling in uncharted waters. One may even try snorkeling with dolphin or whales, just like in the movies!
Fishing: Contact with the local Nu Tours to be or Fishaway Charters, for any help or hiring fishing boats. One may even chose to fish independently & barbecue the catch at Washaway Café.
Cuisine: Niuean cuisine is vastly different from our traditional day to day fast foods, so you should keep your taste buds open to try some new flavors. Local specialties include uga (coconut crab), anything with coconut, and the like. Tropical fruits such as passion fruits cassava, etc. are the island specials & one must try. Local restaurants include:
Crazy Uga Cafe, Alofi: There are many varieties including pita wraps, sandwiches, coffee, fruit smoothies & of course their special ‘Big Uga’ & ‘Little Uga’ for breakfast which is basically coconut crab.
Gill’s Indian Restaurant & Takeaway, Alofi South: If you are not up for tropical cuisine, you and favor indian cuisine more this is a possible option. Succulent, spicy indian dishes such as beef, rice, rita, vegetable & roti are their specialty.
Kai Ika, Alofi: This restaurant serves amazing sushi, using fish caught by the owner’s fishing company. But if sushi does not suit your palate you can always order their delicious pizza with extra toppings!
Falala Fa, Alofi: For those who are into fish & chips, burgers & pizza, this restaurant is a must visit.
How to get there?
Air New Zealand is the lone airline which connects Hanan International Airport & Auckland twice a week. Seats tend to be a pricey during religious holidays, such as Christmas & Easter as Niueans tend to return home to New Zealand during these times. The airport is only a 2km taxi drive from Alofi.
Since the island is relatively small you can easily rent a bicycle or a car to get around (40 minutes car drive to cover the whole island!). However, the absence of a public transport system means there are no buses. One must produce his domestic driving license at the local police station, (two police stations in the island, on is in the north & the other the south of Alofi) to get a Niuean driving license for a small fee ($22.50). The people are very cordial & just about anyone will give you a lift if you are tired after hiking and stranded without a car or a bicycle.
Where to stay?
Depending on your budget there are plenty of places you could stay while in Niue Island:
For the mediocre price range, good quality hotels & guest houses those are available, namely:
Kololi’s Guesthouse, Alofi, ☎ (683) 4258. Centrally located. Communal kitchen and DVD room.
Peleni’s Guesthouse, Alofi, ☎ (683) 4317.
Coral Gardens Motel, Makefu, ☎ (683) 4235 ([email protected])
However, if you are ready to spare no expenses and splurge a little more money you could book a room in the resort or cottages namely:
Lanutahi Fales, Tamakautoga, ☎ (683) 4317: Only a 5 Minutes’ walk to Tamakautoga swimming pools and Avatele Beach, this holiday apartment has its own kitchen. It is very close to the Matavai resort with its fully stocked bar where you could also choose to stay.
Matavai Resort ([email protected]), ☎ (683) 4360: This is the sole resort in Niue with it fully stocked bars & well furnished rooms. With its twin swimming pools & the view of the coral reefs this resort is hard to beat with regards to comfort & proximity. Guests are even provided with free bikes & golf clubs are also available for hire. Although it does come with a steeper price with rooms ranging between $160-$190.
Stone Villas ([email protected]), ☎ (683) 4023: If you are looking to live somewhere truly exotic then this is the place for you, a dwelling made purely out of limestone! It can also brag about its spacious kitchen, private patio, lounges, bar, laundry service, even the villa’s private car. Prices range around $150.
Things to consider:
Niue islands is one of the most pristine exotic places on earth were nature’s beauty has not been tarnished by skyscrapers or excessive population. The climate however is humid with temperatures ranging around 27℃-30℃, which is to be expected owing to its proximity to the sea. Hence one must pack light clothes. One should also be aware that the nearest specialized hospital is in New Zealand, hence necessary precautions to avoid serious accidents & illnesses are to be taken. The humidity does facilitate breeding of mosquitos, which could again lead to dengue fever hence repellant should be used with care. Sunday is a special day reserved for Niue’s strong church-going population. Fishing, kayaking and diving is prohibited by law on Sunday. Swimming is also prohibited on Sunday but, in practice, you can swim at many locations away from villages without any offence to the locals. Swimming gear is OK in swimming areas but not in villages. Don’t swim nude or topless, and don’t swim where locals are fishing during the spawning season. Niue does not have any decompression chambers, hence don’t go deep sea diving the day before your flight.