Imagine driving on roads with hardly any traffic because there are so few people living there…sounds perfect. Now imagine that everyone you pass waves at you…sounds even better right?
Now imagine that the roads have a maximum speed limit of 40kph in built up areas or 60kph elsewhere. No need to rush. Even better!
Now imagine the roads are peppered with potholes with crabs crossing so you need to be super-careful…still pretty idyllic!
They drive on the left (in other words, the right side of the road), but in reality, you drive as slow as you need to, and wherever you can to avoid damaging your suspension etc. Truly a great experience. And one more thing, if you want to drive here, go to the police station to get your licence, a great tourist souvenir but a legal requirement too!
Take your time, enjoy the peace, enjoy driving in Niue. Please don’t resurface all of the roads, oh Government of Niue, you might alter a wonderful aspect of your culture somehow.
The Uga (pronounced “unga” in Niuean) is also known as the coconut crab or robber crab. This is the largest land-living arthropod in the world and is cherished and prized by the Niuean people (they even have crab races).
The Uga is a crab which lives on land for its adult life, indeed it cannot swim, and yet the eggs are released into the ocean to start their own circle of life. It grows to a fair size for a scavenger…and I have to confess to having tried it in a restaurant, wherein I found that it tasted really good too.
Please note that I did not eat the crab I am holding, and indeed these particular crabs are trained to be tame (by the chap with the dreadlocks) and are used to being handled. You have to be rather respectful of anything with pincers of that size (and slow down if they are crossing the road)!
Every so often a holiday has a memory so incredible that you just know that this is why you went. Niue is actually famous for humpback whales coming very close to shore due to the enormous 2km fall in the ocean floor not far from the coast…but when the whales aren’t there…well the spinner dolphins are there all year round! Hooray!
The dolphins aren’t so keen on being close to people (let’s be honest, we’re not very interesting and have a track record for making things go extinct), so how do you create an experience for tourists that doesn’t harm or exploit the wildlife? The answer, first spot the dolphins, then jump off the boat with your snorkel on, hold on tight and let the boat zoom along with the dolphins playing just ahead of you. Awesome!
And the best bit? Well, with water visibility of over 50m around Niue, you can see them coming and going for a good distance in a beautiful deep blue ocean, it was like being in a live edition of a David Attenborough show. Wow!
Buccaneer Adventures Niue Dive (B.A.N.D.) were fantastic from start to finish to do such a tour with, and I would like to thank them for this photograph, because I was in the water seeing such views first hand. If you go to Niue, you really need to do this with them (or maybe even swim with whales if you are there in June/July time)! They’re brilliant!
What better way to wish everyone a Merry Christmas than with such a view! Have a fabulous festive season!
I’ve never been confident when out of my depth in the water, so going on holiday to Niue which is famed for snorkelling was certainly going to be a personal challenge. The waters are so clear that you really just have to get in there and give it a go…and with fins (or flippers) to try out as well…gulp…deep breath…
The Matapa Chasm, Limu Pools, Hikutavake Pools (and more – such as caves revealed at low tide) all present fabulous and varied snorkelling at various tide levels (you have to check for safety or optimum experience before you start). For now just enjoy these…truly beautiful!
If I said the word “Niue” (pronounced like “New-eh”) would you know what I was referring to? Be honest.
I went to the Pasifika festival in Auckland a couple of years ago to celebrate the culture of Pacific Island nations and discovered there was an island dependency of New Zealand called Niue. It is a 3.5 hour flight from Auckland and sits in the South Pacific, roughly in the area of the more famous Tonga, Samoa or the Cook Islands.
Anyway, the island is around 250 square kilometres in area and around 64km around it by road, with a population of around 1,500 people. It is one of the largest raised coral atolls in the world and is referred to as “the rock” by locals. The highest point on the island is just 69m above sea level, however its raised, jagged sea cliffs protect it from many potential natural disasters.
I was lucky enough to go there recently, and I hope to share some things about this wonderful little slice of the world over the coming weeks with you. But for now, here is a photo of the western coastline at low tide with the exposed reef just to whet the appetite.