OUR thoughts on NIUE

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On Niue, the phone numbers have only 4 digits!  For us, that gives a great indication of what Niue is all about.  We reckon you could name this wonderful place “Nature Island” or "Eco Island” and that gives even more clues of what to expect when visiting Niue.  Niue is actually a raised coral atoll which sits out in the South Pacific in the middle of The Polynesian Triangle with Samoa to the north, Tonga to the south west and The Cook Islands to the east.  The coast road is 64 km’s in length right around, so that gives you an indication of size – it’s not a huge island but neither is it a tiddler and it contains an amazing amount of interesting natural features.  Most of the island rises between 20 and 30 metres almost straight out of the ocean, so there is not much in the way of sandy beaches, but there are a few and the coves, caves and the coral shelf that joins the cliffs to the sea provide plenty of opportunities for swimming in the stunningly clear water which surrounds this island country. 

Year-round there are now  normally two flights each week between New Zealand and Niue (on Saturday and Wednesday) and that’s great, because it means you have a choice of holiday durations of 3 nights, 4 nights, 10 nights and 11 nights. With only 2 flights a week by A320 size aircraft, you are never going to be in a crowd on Niue.  The total population of Niue is only around 1200, (yes, that’s one thousand, two hundred) so the number of tourist visitors is not going to overwhelm the place either.  The flight time from Auckland to Niue is around 3½ hours.  The airport is only 5 km from the capital – Alofi. 

For those who are short of holiday time, 3 and 4 night short-breaks are a good chance to sample what Niue has to offer, but we've experienced these short breaks and can assure you that 3 or 4 days is not nearly enough time on Niue - you really do need a week or longer to really get to appreciate this remarkable place. You might wonder what on earth you can find to do for a week or two on Niue, and we can tell you that there is plenty to keep you interested even if all you do on Niue is unwind.  Relaxation is almost compulsory as there is no hurry, virtually no crime and the loudest noise you are likely to hear is the crashing of the waves on the reef or the singing in church on Sunday.  The next thing we recommend you do is pick up a hire bicycle, small motorbike or car and Our Specialists can organise this for you in advance.  Almost all the roads are sealed but the few unsealed roads are fine to use and even though the island is not huge it is certainly far too big to contemplate walking everywhere.  You’ll feel more at home if you can get around at your own pace using your own transport.

For those not wishing to drive at night to visit restaurants, there is a new Niue Restaurant Shuttle Service which will pick up guests at their hotels from 6:00pm on Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays taking them to central and southern restaurants on the island and returning from 8:00pm.  On Sunday there is a Shuttle to Washaway Café as well as evening services from 5:00pm.  The Shuttle comes at a modest cost of $5 return

We will book you either at the superior grade Matavai Resort or at one of several excellent little motels, holiday units and cottages. Most are self-contained apartment-style and some come complete with a swimming pool and even a spa. All are an ideal choice if you are looking for the self-catering option. We also offer a good-quality guest house (all rooms with ensuite bathroom) right in town for those people seeking close contact with the Niuean way of life. So, you have arrived, checked into your accommodation, started to relax, picked up your choice of transportation, then it’s probably time to think of dinner; for such a small place there is a good choice of cafes and restaurants.  Your accommodation hosts will be very happy to discuss some possible activities for your stay.  We know that not everyone is into organised activities, but, because you will never be “just a number” in Niue, we thoroughly recommend you take some of the organised options.  Another reason to be a bit organised is that not everything, including some of the eating places, operates every day. Make the Tourism Office in town one of your earliest calls; they are really helpful with information and assisting with bookings for the various activities on option.

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You will find many, many crystal-clear water swimming places where you and your travelling companions may well be the only people seen there all day.  Some of these are surrounded in rock and some have sandy bottoms and these ones offer first-rate snorkelling.  Because Niue doesn’t have any rivers or muddy run-off from the land the water is amazingly clear – there is up to 75 metres of visibility and any Scuba Diver will tell you, that is almost like being able to see forever.  You’ll find beautiful natural features everywhere you go; stone arches, amazing caves, the coral shelf butted up against the land, spectacular forests and colourful glades of trees along the roadsides.  An absolute “must-do” is a guided walk through the virgin Huvalu rainforest. You will go right through the conservation area then traverse the coral outcrops until you come to the breathtaking Togo Chasm, a sandy palm tree oasis in the midst of the coral moonscape – don’t miss it.  Fishing off the coast of Niue is world-class and there are professional fishing charter companies. The fully certified Dive operator will take you diving and learn to dive courses are available too.  From June to October each year, humpback whales come to Niue to give birth to their calves and because the deep sea is only between 50 and 100 metres off shore you really can experience the whales up close and personal from the land.  The dive operator takes swimmers out to swim with the whales and dolphins – what a magic experience. 

In Niue you are welcome to join up with the local people in almost everything they do.  Each of the 14 small villages has an annual Village Show Day and you are welcome to participate.  If there is a boys’ haircutting ceremony or girls’ ear piercing ceremony held while you are there you may be invited to attend.  Friday and Saturday nights are when the locals enjoy their weekends and there are regular dances held and there are two or three cafés and bars that provide good food and good music.  Of course, there is a Rugby Club and there is a nice little 9-hole golf course too. 

Niue is a perfect place to unwind; it’s a wonderful spot for a low-key honeymoon too.  If you are a person who enjoys a less hectic pace of life on holiday you simply can’t do better that Niue.  And, after a week, you will have made friends with the people running your motel/apartment, so don’t be surprised if they give you the keys to their transfer van to drive yourself back to the airport while they make up your room for the arriving guests – just leave the van with the keys in the ignition at the airport, they’ll pick it up later.  You’ll be back!

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