ROCK OF POLYNESIA
Niue is reputedly the largest upraised coral atoll in the world. The island's isolation and coral makeup create an exciting rugged coastline and reef which provide intimate swimming coves with crystal clear visibility which is superb for diving.
The land mass of Niue is 259 square kilometres with a population of 2,000 scattered throughout thirteen villages which are dotted around the saucer shaped island. Located in the triangle between Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands, Niue is 2,400 kilometres north-east of New Zealand on the eastern side of the International Dateline.
Niueans are Polynesians and are bilingual, speaking both Niuean and English. They are very friendly people who enjoy a modern lifestyle while still maintaining their traditional culture.
The English navigator Captain James Cook sighted Niue in 1774 but was refused landing three times by Niuean warriors. Cook departed but chartered Niue and named it "Savage Island".
Missionaries established Christianity in 1846, but in 1901, Niue annexed to New Zealand. Independence was given in free association with New Zealand in 1974 meaning that Niueans are self-governing but hold New Zealand citizenship in the same way as the Cook Islanders.
Niue is well known for its spectacular limestone cave and the unique scenic and historical areas throughout the island. The whole island is dotted with myriads of caves that have yet to be explored. The flora and fauna are spectacular particularly in the untouched Huvalu forest which is a conservation area.
A good range of accommodation is available. These includes the Matavai Resort, along with the Niue Hotel, Namakulu Motel, Coral Gardens Motel and Anaiki Motel. There are also very comfortable budget houses including Koloi's, Peleni's and Waimanu. A basic bunk house is available at the Huvalu Forest Camp.
Rental companies hire cars, scooters and bicycles. Taxis are also available, but there is no public bus service. You can, however, often hitch a ride with the locals.
FOOD AND ENTERTAINMENT
Popular places for meals include the licensed restaurants at Matavai Resort, Niue Hotel and Sails. All hold barbecue nights, as well as special events and dances at various times. Ciao's Restaurant offers a taste of Italy, while Tapeau Fisheries have a wonderful range of seafood delights. Clayton's Bar hold regular dances as does the Niue Sports Club.
Marine activities are undoubtedly one of the highlights of a visit to Niue. Diving in particular is a unique and exciting experience on Niue. As a dive destination, Niue sits atop an undersea mountain with pristine clear water hundreds of meters deep just a stone's throw from the shore.
Fishing also offers an exciting experience, with a variety of species and three fishing charter operators available for fishing expeditions.
Back on land, there are a number of tours that you can participate in, spectacular cave tours, forest and coastal walks. Cycling on the numerous bush tracks through villages where people are always welcoming makes a very enjoyable adventure.
There is always plenty to do on Niue, and booking an adventure is made easy at the Niue Information and Booking Centre in Alofi. Open six days a week, the Centre caters for visitors and ensures they are well looked after during their stay.
Handicrafts are recognized for their high quality and are respected by other Pacific people for their originality. There is a wide variety of shops selling souvenirs, gifts, handicrafts, food stuff and fish. Village shops and roadside dairies open extended hours and at weekends.
For Information Contact:
An extract from IN THE STRANGE SOUTH SEAS by BEATRICE GRIMSHAW, published in London by Hutchinson & Co., 1908.
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