Niue, known in Polynesia as “The Rock”, is situated about 2400 kms north east of New Zealand with a decreasing population of about 1200 people and is a self-governing state associated with New Zealand. Niue is one of the worlds largest coral islands and consisting mainly of limestone, much of which is very jagged and rough.
Arrival - We hailed the Customs and Immigration office on the VHF radio and made an appointment time for the following morning to check into the country, they would meet us at the dock and take us to their office which is a few miles from the wharf.
After a passage of a few days we are all normally exhausted so we were all looking forward to a good night’s sleep and exploring the island over the next few days.
There is no dinghy dock as such in Niue just a ship wharf which in times of low swell is OK to tie up to but if a swell comes in then it can quickly destroy the dinghy so the locals have implemented a rather ingenious way of dealing with visiting dinghies: they have installed an electric crane to lift your dinghy out of the water, it is then placed on a trolley which looks a bit like a pizza shovel which you use to take it to a dinghy parking area. All sounds easy enough but with a large swell it is quite entertaining to watch.
The check in formalities were quick and painless – no fees and no boat visit and the officials were very pleasant. They collected us from the wharf and drove us the 5-6 miles to their offices where we completed a number of forms and then they drove us back to the wharf.
We were very pleasantly surprised by the shops and restaurants of the island, having a pretty good selection of produce we had not seen for some time and even some Australia and Kiwi items and there was a curry house!! Sign of civilization again.
|The cave where Jude broke her arm|
The hospital was very new but completely empty, not a single patient in the whole place, they must be a healthy bunch. The receptionist called the doctor in and then the radiologist who confirmed the break having seen the x-rays. Luckily the break was clean and no setting was required just a splint and bandage. At the end of the treatment we were presented with a bill for just $45!
Not to be held back from exploring we joined Neil and Jesse and Mark and Ursula (S/V Anahoa) in a minivan that they had hired and traveled up the west coast again seeing more of the great reef pools, caverns and caves. The following day we hired a jalopy and continued the tour of the island covering the eastern, southern and northern parts of the islands seeing more caves and hiking through the lush rainforest.
Niue is known for having great diving and snorkeling with amazing visibility – easily in excess of 200 feet and no sharks!
|Hike to The Oasis|
|Steps down to the oasis with Neil, Jesse, Mark and Ursula|
|The oasis from above|
Neil, Jesse, Marks, Ursula and I did a dive from the wharf and along one of the western reefs seeing more Moray eels and plenty of sea snakes or kraits which have a venom 20 times more deadly than any land snake, lucky enough they are docile and their mouths are too small to bite, or so they say.
Niue was a great surprise for us. We loved everything it had to offer and would recommend fellow cruisers, or anybody else for that matter to visit, a week would be enough but there is plenty to see and do.