Niue is just a three-hour flight from Auckland, New Zealand. The island has plenty to offer the holiday traveller, ideal for those wanting to get away.
Situated right within the cluster of popular South Pacific holiday destinations, Niue offers something a little out of the ordinary. Known as the Rock of Polynesia for good reason – the island is an uplifted atoll – Niue does not have sweeping, sandy beaches lined with coconut palms. But in its very difference and contrasts it has everything one could wish for while on vacation.
Niue’s Unique Coastline
To the tropical Polynesian island visitor, it’s generally sun and sea that are the main attractions. A Niue holiday provides all the sunshine desired while the visitor is relaxing in one of many secluded coves formed by the ocean pounding on the limestone remnants of an ancient reef.
Niue’s geology has made for easy access to numerous crystal-clear rock pools, many reached by climbing down through spectacular chasms. There it’s safe to swim and snorkel, always taking the usual precautions appropriate to the circumstance, reveling in the warm waters with a myriad of marine life literally within reach.
The narrow fringing reef that circles Niue lies close offshore. The clear waters of the deep ocean, in some places just 100 metres from land, provide first-rate diving conditions. A great variety of fish, turtles, dolphins, whales in the season, (and sea snakes!) abound in close proximity to land. Then there’s the fishing. Charter boats are available to take the visitor out in search of the big one.
Land-based Attractions on Niue
A quarter of Niue’s land area has remained virgin rain forest. Here the visitor can choose from numerous walks among the tropical vegetation, safe knowing there are no dangerous creatures, but lots of butterflies. For a little extra, guided tours provide informative expeditions into the heart of the island.
Cycling is a popular way to get about, and bikes can be hired from various outlets. The roads are variable in quality but there are no serious hills. A leisurely cycle right around the island, stopping frequently along the way to explore, is a great way to spend a day. Niue’s predominantly limestone structure has made for an interesting series of caves, some of the best in the Pacific, accessible with or without a guide.
No holiday in an exotic destination should be without some appreciation of the local culture and way of life. Niueans are very friendly people, and pleased to share knowledge of their unique traditions. For those whose visits coincide with the regular village show days, the local Polynesian colour and flair is a feature of the travel experience. As well as all the food there are traditional arts and crafts for sale. Niueans are a deeply religious people, and the Church is a major part of society.
Accommodation and Dining on Niue
Niue is a small-scale tourist destination – that’s one of the reasons it’s an attractive option for many. So while there are several Niue accommodation options, they are limited. Matavai Resort offers full hotel facilities and a stunning ocean vista. Motels and apartments are also available around the island, and a number of former homes have been set up as guest houses. Most visitors therefore find themselves staying in self-catering facilities. Bookings are essential at the island’s dining establishments.
Practical Matters on Visiting Niue
Air New Zealand flies to Niue weekly, currently with an Auckland departure and arrival each Saturday. Travelers from Auckland cross the international date line just before reaching Niue. The local currency is the New Zealand dollar. While overall Niue is a cost-effective destination, visitors should expect imported items to be expensive. It’s a costly business stocking the supermarket shelves.
There are less than 1500 local inhabitants, many families divided between home and the better-paying jobs of New Zealand and elsewhere. So the economy is small, and services limited but nevertheless very adequate for visitors, who are always made very welcome. Sunday is strictly a day of worship and rest. All visitors need to be aware of local religious practices and respect them.
As with any South Pacific island holiday destination, the best months for visiting Niue are May to October. That is the dry season with warm sunny days and cool evenings, when the temperature averages around 24 degrees. The summer months are hot and humid, a time when most of Niue’s rain falls.