Must do’s in Niue
Guided Orientation Tour
The first thing that you should do is book a ‘Guided Orientation Tour’ as soon as possible at the start of your stay. We did ours with Niue Orientation Tours who we met at the Matavai Resort welcome drinks the day before. It took about 4 hours and our host’s shared plenty of local knowledge with us. On our trip, we travelled ‘clockwise’ around the island and stopped off at many of the chasm’s, sea tracks, whaling watching view points, pools etc. I found it invaluable for getting a sense of island and where key services are located (e.g. where you need to go to obtain a drivers licence).
The tour gives you great insight into the ‘must do’s whilst you are on the Island. Pack your Togs, Swim Towel and Reef Shoes for paddle at the end of your tour. Niue Orientation Tours can also supply you with snorkel equipment to use during your stay (this was included as part of the package).
Hire a car
This is highly recommended as there is no public transport on the island. The Island boasts 64km of tropical beauty and you honestly do not want to miss out on a single kilometre. (Niue Driver’s License required – this is obtained from the local Police station at a cost of $22.50). Pre-book your car-rental during high season (June to October) to ensure you don’t miss out. Scenic Matavai Resort can assist you with making a booking if needed.
Firstly I need to add that I enjoyed the most delicious toasted chicken mayonnaise and cheese sandwich that I have ever tasted! I could not quite work out what the ‘secret spice’ was though! Looking out over the Pacific ocean it’s a great spot to spot whales from the coast (July to September).
Matapa Chasm and the Talava Arches
Located at the Northern end of the island are two unique Niue sites. It has one of the easier tracks to navigate (no steep steps) from the car park, and is safe to swim and snorkel at any time, the Matapa Chasm is a fabulous spot with the best time of day is at noon when the sun is directly over the chasm. The grounds are a great spot to have a picnic too so this is a great spot to spend a couple of hours. Near the entrance to Matapa Chasm you’ll see an alternative track heading off to the right to the Talava Arches. The Talava Arches are best seen at low tide and you’ll need to allow 30-40 minutes to walk there. Be warned the track is very rough and challenging in places, make sure you wear sturdy shoes with a good sole and carry a backpack to keep your hands free (you’ll need them to navigate the roped cave/cliff section – take this from someone who dropped their brand new sunglasses twice!).
Kaiika Restaurant, Alofi
Kaiika Restaurant, Alofi has a convivial atmosphere. A trip to Niue is not complete unless you’ve tasted the sushi and pizza. Our host Avi with his exuberant personality and beautiful wife Nau ensure you have a fabulous time and delicious meal. According to Avi, using your fingers to eat enhances your sensory experience of eating the traditional Japanese way.
The beauty of the pools take your breath away as you come through the lush tropical growth, just a short walk from the car park. The path is well made and you’ll need to navigate a small ladder to access the second pool. These pools can be accessed at any tide but the best time to visit is on an incoming mid-tide on a still day. Limu pools is one of the best snorkelling spots for those not keen to go off-reef, I likened it to snorkelling in a giant tropical aquarium!
Don’t let the unassuming exterior of Hio Cafe put you off. Many Niue businesses have converted shipping containers into amazing cafe’s and restaurants. Hio Cafe is definitely one of these. The fresh fish taco with a sweet and spicy mango salsa was to die for and the divine passionfruit cooler was just what I needed after trekking up and down every sea track between there and Alofi.
Needless to say it is quite an adventure getting to the Togo Chasm but well worth it. The roads on the west coast of the island leave a lot to be desired and I spent a lot of my time apologising to my rental car. Once you reach the car park which is about 5km north of Hakupu Village you’ll need to take a 2o minute walk through a tropical forest (the shade will be greatly appreciated) to reach the coral gardens. This is where it gets really interesting, it’s like being on another planet with the grey fossilised coral covering the cliff edge. The path from here on is extremely narrow and definitely not for the faint-hearted – just remember if you fall there’s no Westpac Air Ambulance to winch you out of a crevice! On reaching the end of the path you’ll be faced with a 20 metre ladder which leads you down to the chasm floor – where an mini oasis awaits.
Washaway Café, Avatele Beach
Open Sundays only from 11am ‘till late. Enjoy a drink at the ‘honesty’ bar and tuck into a burger, focaccia with grilled fish or a delicious pizza. There is just that ‘something special’ about Washaway. The casual outdoor atmosphere, music playing in the background, people laughing, joking, sharing experiences and just soaking up the incredible atmosphere is what makes it so unique! Don’t forget to take your snorkelling gear and your reef shoes with you. We had a great time snorkelling just off the slipway, plenty see!
Scenic Matavai Resort Niue
After exploring for most of the day there’s nothing better than heading back to the Resort and enjoy Cocktails at the Pool Bar, kicking back with the other guests and sharing your adventures that day as you watch the sun go down over the Pacific Ocean.