Niue Travel Guide
An isolated island located a fair distance from the Cook Islands on the opposite side of the International Date Line, Niue is a tiny island country in Oceania which has portions of its affairs run by New Zealand.
While many of its citizens have left in search of work and after the devastation wrought by a cyclone in 2004, the 2,000 residents who remain will welcome you warmly to an off-the-beaten-track isle which doesn’t get close to the number of visits the Cook Islands do.
While it may not have the dream beaches its nearby neighbours do, it has a charm which is hard to find on tropical islands across the world these days.
Currency: New Zealand Dollars
Languages: Niuean, English
What To Do
Start your time on Niue by paying a visit to the Taoga Niue Museum. While the original collection they had suffered considerable damage during a recent tropical cyclone, the managers have done a great job rehabilitating it to its original purpose: to tell the story of this tiny South Pacific island.
Within, you’ll get to learn about this island’s role in World War I, you’ll get to read books about the isle’s history, and you’ll get to gaze on artifacts which were plucked from the waters off Niue after the aforementioned cyclone drove them into the sea.
Want to have an epiphany about our place in the world and how environmental issues affect it? Drop by Hikulagi Sculpture Park. Put together by those who had been driven from the island by the degradation of its soil by primitive cultivation methods which deprived future harvests of fertility, it is meant to serve as a warning to visitors about the consequences of abusing finite resources of the world we live in.
Discover the brilliance of the coast and the waters of Niue by first spending time at the Limu Pools. A tidal pool defined by surrounding coral rocks, lush vegetation, and vivid blue waters, it is a beautiful spot which is easy to access.
Best visited between high and low tide, the main pool is filled with colourful fish, much to the delight of snorkelers that come here. It is also an excellent place to swim, especially if the Pacific Ocean is acting up during your visit to Niue.
The Matapa Chasm is another incredible place to go if you are looking to discover the best places to swim and snorkel on Niue. A popular place for former royals of the island to come swimming thanks to cool water which welled up from an aquifer into the chasm, present-day visitors will find this place just as appealing.
It is an excellent snorkelling spot, with the nooks and crannies in the rocks creating plenty of spots for local marine life to congregate. Just be sure to bring sunscreen or ways to shield yourself from the sun when you aren’t in the water, as there is little natural protection from the sun at this site.
As with any South Pacific island, there are plenty of amazing beaches to hit on Niue. When you aren’t lounging at the strips of sand adjacent to your resort, take a day to check out Utuko Beach.
While it may not be the best swimming beach in the world, there is no doubt it is a beautiful place to spend the day. It is a great place to snorkel, and thanks to the reef offshore, swells get knocked down, making it a safe place for children to swim.
Hio Beach is another popular place to visit for locals and travellers to visit on Niue. A rare sandy beach on this island, it offers an atmospheric place to relax for visitors, so don’t miss it.
What to Eat
Niue has a cuisine which follows in lockstep with many Polynesian island countries, but it does have a few unique dishes worth seeking out.
Nane Pia is a porridge made from coconut flesh. Slow cooked in a pot, it produces a morning meal which will provide with all the energy you’ll need to face the day. Some versions may not be all that flavourful, so feel free to add sugar to give it that added taste which will make it easier to consume.
At dinner, ask the restaurants where you are dining whether they serve Uga. These are land crabs which are hunted in the interior jungles of this island. Its delicious white meat is prized by locals and is served with garlic bread, so try to find some find you are in Niue.
When the time for dessert rolls around, try and have some Takihi. Created by layering slices of taro and pawpaw and coating it generously in coconut cream, it is traditionally cooked in an earth oven, adding an element of excitement to this amazing dish in Niue.