Niue is a limestone island resulting from an ancient atoll rising 200 feet above the sea. It is porous throughout and has a steep and jagged shoreline. The anchorage is open to the west and contains 18 moorings which cost $5 NZ a day. Dinghies are landed on the wharf and lifted on shore with a self service crane. Town consists of a small mall and a few shops.
The island is an independent nation but with strong ties to New Zealand. There is a dwindling population as people migrate to New Zealand. Our guide book had the population at 2700 but we heard that there are only 1800 remaining on the island. The island is very clean with trash cans at regular intervals that were used. The people were proud, friendly and well educated. The island is ruled by a council with a Premier, pictured here with us.
The island has numerous sights that are easy to visit, well marked, and with well developed access. They are mostly along the shore and are primarily chasms, caves and pools. We found it was best to get there by car and we rented a good car from Alofi Rental for $30 NZ a day which was cheap. We rented it for 5 days so I could practice driving on the other side of the road and car.
Our first stop was the Tongo Chasm. The entry was challenging for someone with a fear of heights like myself. It was worth it to see the beautiful pool at the end.
We then went to the Arches of Talava with Jerry and Francine of Zingaro. This is an impressive arch. It is really a lot of rock spanning a great distance.
We picnicked at Limu which is a beautiful pool on the protected western side. It has picnic tables and Bar-B-Que pits. The pool is great for snorkeling.
The island is literally porous with caves and crevices everywhere. Here is a sample of some of the caves we visited. Cave explorers could spend weeks crawling around inside the island. The last picture shows Hellen standing where I stood to take the picture for the title block. This huge cave opens to the sea and is clearly visible as you approach around the north side of the island.
Niue's other big attraction lies below the sea. Diving around the island offers some unique experiences. The coral is plentiful and varied. The water visibility is unbelievable. The picture taken up at the diver is from 90 feet. The visibility was over 200 feet and we could see the bottom under our boat in 110 feet. It was better than I experienced in the Red Sea.
Niue is also known for underwater caves. Similar to the above water experience, underwater there are many caves which haven't even been explored. Niue Dive will take you to a different coral cave on every dive.
Niue is also known for sea snakes. The sea snake has one of the most deadly venom known to man. One drop can kill 3 adults. Sounds like the intro for a nature show. The problem for the sea snake is that they don't have fangs. The venom really only acts a deterrent from eating them. As long as you don't eat them they really can't harm you and because they have no enemies they are quite gentle and even curious. It was a real treat to dive with them as they swam to the surface for air.
Niue is also the home of a very special artist named Mark Cross. I totally fell in love with his work. Check out some of his paintings available in limited prints by clicking here.