Arriving into Niue the smallest independent country on the worlds largest coral rock. Known as “The Rock” it has a stunning shore line with huge waves crashing against it. We arrived in the morning where a mother whale and her calf were swimming in the bay.
The main town of Alofi is perched on the hilltop at about 30-40 meters above sea level. When you arrive at the dock for clearance into the country there is a crane to lift your dinghy up onto the dock and with the crashing waves below its advised. Quite the operation but once you have a bridle set up its great they have this available.
Clearance with the officials was very relaxed and friendly setting us on our way to explore. It was then down to the Niue yacht club to check in for use of the mooring (NZ$20/ night) while in Niue. When you snorkel off the boat you can see why you have to moor as the seabed is all hard coral.
Niue seems to receive a lot of support from New Zealand including using the NZ dollar and people having a NZ passport. It currently has a population of approx 1700 reduced from 4000 odd after cyclone Heta in 2004 when many people left for New Zealand. Alot of homes have been left un-tenanted and deserted but someone’s looking after them as most lawns are mowed and cleaned up. Must be tough for the people who stayed to see this constant reminder everywhere. All around the island are graveyards some decked out with BBQs and picnic tables.We hired a car for 2 days to see the sights including lots of caves and chasms. We couldn’t believe there wasn’t someone wanting cash to enter each sight as they would have been in a lot of other countries! Below were our favorites.
Matapa Chasm was the exclusive bathing pool of royalty back in the days, a lot colder than other pools we went in.
Talava Arches was a pretty hike where you pass thru a series of caves with huge stalactites and stalagmites to these arches where we hoped to snorkel but not today.
Togo Chasm was really interesting with a nice hike thru the forest out to the coast, which these razor sharp pinnacles. At the end of the concrete track, thru the pinnacles is a steep ladder down into the sandy chasm with coconut trees, the odd coconut crab and a pool of not so good looking water.
One of the many exhibits at the Hikulagi Sculpture Park made from all sorts of debris. The Washaway cafe open on Sunday’s has a great outdoor atmosphere and you serve your own drinks! The cruisers in the bay all found there way down here.
Niue was a great stop with friendly people and a lot more to see than we expected.