- Niuean, English
- New Zealand dollar
If you blinked three times and wondered where? when you arrived on this page, you wouldn’t be the only one. Niue (pronounced new-ay) is a tiny dot in a vast ocean. Head 2400 kilometres northeast of New Zealand, and into the triangle formed by Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands, and you’ll find it: all 260 square kilometres of coral atoll also known as the Rock of Polynesia.
If you’re expecting never-ending stretches of white sand backed by swaying palms, you might be a little disappointed. There’s just one beach here: Hio, at the bottom of a cliff, is tiny, but the neighbouring rock pool is an ideal snorkelling spot, full of vividly hued fish, coral and a cavernous below-surface landscape.
Travellers to Niue are looking for one thing – an escape (although you won’t be leaving the modern world completely behind, since this was the first place in the world to offer free wi-fi throughout the country). The rocky coastline and pristine reefs make for plenty of swimming, snorkelling and diving opportunities, as well as the opportunity to explore coastal caves. The drop-offs are close to shore, which is a big tick for anyone who likes to fish. Tuna, sailfish and GTs are all part of the catch, and there’s always the opportunity to join one of the local fisherman in his vaka (canoe) to see how it’s done. Spinner dolphins live permanently in the waters off the island and several operators take visitors out to swim with them or, for those around between July and October, there’s a rare opportunity to swim with nursing humpback whales. That deep water close to shore means they can be just 20 metres away from the coastline.
Back on land, trek through the interior or grab a mountain bike to do some exploring. Central Alofi is the home of a twice-weekly market (Tuesday and Friday), where you can stock up on tropical fruits or try local delicacies like uga (coconut crab).