Niue; a hidden gem.

Secluded, safe, and serene, would be words to sum up this beautiful Pacific island. Only 3.5 hrs flight with Air New Zealand weekly from Auckland, Niue cannot be compared with any other island. It’s so unique. The scuba-diving, snorkeling and fishing is world-class due to the visibility. Crystal-clear or gin-like warm waters and stunning sunsets. Sssh this is our secret.I was fortunate to come here on a work trip and am now even more passionate about Niue. If you love all water sports, fish, golf, lawn bowls, this is the place for you. It’s not a place to come lie by the pool. You need to get out and explore what it has to offer.

I highly recommended an orientation tour of the island first, the day after arrival. We used -www.niuetours.com. Our 4 hour journey with Keith took us through a rainforest to the beautiful Matapa chasm where we swam in the rock pool, stopped at Avatele beach (did great snorkelling here), walked a sea track which led us to these amazing Avaiki limestone caves, with stunning cliff top views thrown in on the way. Keith (and wife Sue)’s knowledge and personalisation was outstanding. You need good reef/walking shoes for this pure magic sightseeing. We had high tide but next time if you arrive in low tide, you can do a reef walk. Also if you come in June/July you’ll hit the whale season.

You need a car for a few days to go exploring once you’ve become familiar with the layout of the island. We stayed at the Matavai resort which was fantastic. The views are beautiful with wicked sunsets at night. To go to sleep hearing the rolling waves was pure bliss.  Waking up to the roosters was quite a hoot as well. Our clifftop rooms were spacious and the bed so comfortable. They also have a 3 bed villa 2km down the road and 10 apartments if you prefer self-catering. Like most islands, you can bring in your own food but you just declare it on arrival. Namukulu cottages and villages are also highly recommended in Alofi and they have a pool and nice view too. There is a restaurant shuttle that you book at night, so it’s great if you wish to leave the car behind.

We had great weather and it was refreshing to take a dip in the pool late afternoon and then swim-up to the pool bar for a much needed cocktail. Boy these were good. My fave was the Death by Chocolate followed by the Lava Flow and the Margarita. The food was fantastic and they were able to cater to those who were dietary challenged shall we say, without an issue. The fresh pawpaw with homemade yoghurt was delicious each day and you could eat the Tropical breakfast or order a la carte. The scrambled eggs with bacon and spinach, omelette, French toast with banana and bacon (done with gluten-free toast) were all delicious. They made great coffee too. I ate fish twice a day; hapuka, tuna, john dory, and mahi mahi. In saying that though, Sunday was burger night at the pool bar and the meat and the kebabs were sensational. I also fell in love with tapioca fries and the Hawaiian pizza was divine.

We dined at Kai-Ika which was very nice if you love sashimi and sushi, although the pizza was very average. It was also great to eat outside. There was so much food and the miso soup was divine.

Dodging the pot holes in our rental car added to the fun. We had a quick stop at Vailoma Café (18 hole mini put) with spectacular views. This is owned by our former Wellington Mayor Mark Blumsky  and his wife. Mark has lived in Niue for sometime. Apparently his Sunday Rotisserie chicken is to die for and they have great coffee and cakes. The iced chocolate was very yummy served in a Mason jar with handle.

There are other good eating places to go like Crazy Uga, Fai-lala and Gill’s Indian but we just didn’t have the time. Next trip.

There are only a few souvenir shops here which were cute along with a large supermarket but as you can imagine, you don’t come here to shop.

Friday we got wind of an opportunity to go nightclubbing. Really you say? It’s held weekly at a Rugby hall and we had a blast. They play current pop music which has been islandafied and various DJ’s take a turn. There were a few young children there and everyone becomes one big family and dance together. Yes the young crowd were drinking but it was so refreshing to not see anyone out of control; it was just a good time had by all. Apparently the golf club has great dancing for the oldies on another night.

Our last afternoon in between our conference, we got to go crab hunting in the forest with Tony http://www.a5tours.com. It was really interesting. These massive nocturnal uga crab dine on berries, coconuts and themselves. I didn’t want to know or think about the latter. Survival of the fittest at its best but we got to eat them in the end for our entree. Sorry guys, you were beautiful in colour and even more delicious when cooked.

We didn’t get time to go right around the island (so we missed the famous Limu pools, Anapaia Sea track, Toga chasm to name a few) but we left room for a second visit.

Fakaaue lahi mahaki- Thank you Niue, you blew my breath away. I love you just the way you are.

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