Adventure time in paradise
Niue is a large raised coral atoll with a reef shelf that extends from the base of coastal cliffs a short way to the deep ocean. There are no streams or lakes to silt up the clear blue sea, just a huge supply of clean, fresh underground water in the rock. For you, this remarkable geology means an impressive choice of activities.
In Niue you can watch whales and dolphins swim very close to shore; walk sea tracks through the forest down to caves, chasms and sheltered coral pools; swim, snorkel and dive in the clearest water you can imagine; hook up with some of the best fishing in the world; explore quiet roads by car; and ride mountain bikes along wilderness trails.
At Matapa Chasm, where Niue's royalty used to bathe, you can swim or snorkel in a deep sheltered pool with cliffs rising vertically on both sides.
Biking in Niue
Niue is made for biking adventures. The traffic is very light and speed limits are low. In addition to the 64km coastal loop road, there are several cross-island roads that make it easy to explore different parts of the island each day. Most of the island is flat and the highest point is only 69m above sea level.
Several unsealed forest and plantation trails are open for mountain biking, creating more than 170km of scenic loop tracks for cyclists. There’s even a trail through the magnificent Huvalu Forest conservation area. In June, Niue holds the annual Rally of the Rock, a cycle race for all abilities that includes bush tracks and sealed roads. It’s a highlight on Niue’s events calendar.
You can hire bikes on the island or take your own bike. A bike counts as a checked-in baggage item and needs to be packed in a special bike box. See overweight and oversized items for more information.
Walking and hiking in Niue
There are numerous well-marked sea tracks dotted around the island. They lead from the coast road to beautiful snorkelling pools, swimming spots, chasms, arches, limestone caves and other points of interest. Ranging from a few minutes to about an hour each way, the tracks often pass through coastal forest before opening out to reveal spectacular ocean views. For longer walks, head to the inland mountain bike trails and the Huvalu Forest conservation area. To get a map of the tracks, and a list of outdoor activities in Niue, pick up the handy Niue Guide booklet on arrival or drop into the visitor information centre in Alofi.
Driving in Niue
There's no public transport on the island, so hiring a car or scooter is the best way to get around. It's easy to hire a car in Niue, but it definitely pays to book ahead. Most Niue car rentals will meet you at the airport and dropping the car off can be as simple as leaving it unlocked in the airport car park with the keys in it when you fly out. Niue is that kind of place.
They drive on the left in Niue, as in New Zealand and Australia. The speed limit is only 40km/h in the villages and 60km/h on the open road and everyone waves as they pass. The official road sign suggesting motorists 'keep calm and be nice' is clearly being obeyed. There's only one petrol station on the island, so don't let your tank get too low. Before you head off, you'll need to get a Niue driver licence from the police station in Alofi. Just show your home country licence, get your photo taken and pay the fee. It makes a cool souvenir.
Exploring caves and chasms in Niue
Given that Niue is a raised coral atoll, spectacular limestone caves and fascinating rock formations come with the territory. Large sea caves near the impressive Talava Arches include ancient stalactites and stalagmites. They're yet another reason to get your camera out and Instagram some unique pics for friends and family back home.
Nearby at Matapa Chasm, where Niue's royalty used to bathe, you can swim or snorkel in a deep sheltered pool with cliffs rising vertically on both sides. On the southeast coast, Togo Chasm is like something from a movie. You walk through protected forest, along a path on jagged coastal rock formations, down a long ladder and suddenly you're standing in a sandy oasis with palm trees that's completely enclosed by cliffs. Time for another Instagram post!
Whale watching in Niue
Every year, humpback whales visit Niue to breed and raise their young, staying in the area from July to October. Because the deep ocean is so close to shore, you can enjoy fantastic whale watching from lookouts, cafés and bars on the cliff tops. If you'd like to get closer, book a professional whale watching tour. When conditions are right you might even be able to swim with the whales, but their needs will always come first. Chances are you'll also see the playful spinner dolphins that live along Niue's coast year round.
Snorkelling in Niue
Snorkelling is one of the most popular water activities in Niue. With no rivers on the island to deposit silt into the sea, the underwater visibility is astonishing. Huge pools on the exposed coral shelf that surrounds the island provide sheltered homes for colourful fish and coral. They're perfect places to snorkel, even if you're a beginner.
Limu Pools is a favourite spot, along with Matapa Chasm. At low tide, Hikutavake offers two giant coral pools cut off from the ocean. There's also good snorkelling at Avatele Beach. Some spots are better at certain tides, so check with your accommodation provider or the visitor information centre in Alofi, and remember to pack your reef shoes.
Diving in Niue
Niue is a diving mecca, renowned for long-range visibility (up to 100m) and a huge range of marine life. Local professional dive operators can provide all the gear you'll need and they'll quickly get you to some of Niue's best dive sites, including drop-offs, caves, coral walls, caverns and more. The dive boats operating in Niue only take small groups. With so much spectacular coastline to explore, you'll feel like you're the only people diving this spectacular underwater world.
Game fishing in Niue
Niue has been described by commentators as a fisherman's secret paradise. It's easy to see why. The crystal-clear water is very deep close to shore, which means you can be among target species in minutes, while also enjoying great views of the island from offshore. Marlin, mahimahi, wahoo, giant trevally, yellowfin tuna, red bass, sailfish and other game fish regularly feature in delighted anglers' photos and stories. There are several professional Niue fishing charters to choose from. On Niue fishing trips the catch always stays with the boat, but most operators will ensure you have enough for dinner. A word of warning: the fishing here is so good, it can quickly become an addiction.