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Palaha Cave & Reef Flat

 Palaha Cave in located on the North-West side of Niue, North of Alofi. It is a very easy place to find because there is a clear sign just beside the road. The track is short and easy, a little bit steep but nothing too demanding. Palaha is probably one of the biggest caves in Niue with a giant window opening to the reef flat. Once inside, if you walk in from the main saloon to the back of the cave, there are colourful stalactites and stalagmites in green and red composing a nice scenario. The reef flat is right in front of the cave mouth, also with easy access (just be careful because the wet rocks can be very slippery). The reef flat under the right conditions provides an easy, fun, and colourful snorkelling.

From the car park (park on the grass just beside the road) is a short and easy walk to Palaha Cave. From the car park to the entrance of the cave, it takes about 15 minutes. At first the track is flat between coconut palms on a large grassy area. When you reach the end, gorgeous views to the reef flat and sea will show up right in front of you (photo). You can already see the roof of the cave showing as a hill on the left side of this photo. The mouth of the cave faces the sea and the entrance is from the back door of the cave.

From the lookout you turn left and you will find a clear marked track with a wooden bridge built by the government to facilitate the access to the cave. The bridges have transversal wood bars, so if it gets wet, it doesn't get too slippery. After negotiating the first bridge the track turns to the right and goes down between the cave and another hill. A second wood bridge has to be crossed and than the track seems to end. Turn left and you will find the continuation of the track going down to the entrance of the cave.

The entrance is large and once inside, you keep going down. It is necessary to walk over some big flat rocks which were very slippery when we went there. Celia had to use her hands to grab some other rocks to stop her from becoming a rock surfer. She was wearing sandals as shoes, while I was wearing reef shoes which proved to be much better and efficient for dealing with wet and slippery surfaces. Passing this part which is about 10 meters long, the floor becomes dry again and opens up to a huge and very impressive cathedral style cave.

This panorama made out of 4 photos, shows the size proportion of the big saloon. Celia is sitting down changing her sandals into reef shoes for better grip. The entrance is in the tunnel behind her. To the right, there are gorgeous stalactites, stalagmites and pillars. There is more sections of this cave to explore not shown in this pano. The cave front opens to the reef flat.

With the right tide and calm seas, the reef in front of the cave provides a nice and fun snorkelling trip. It is shallow but it does have some small pools full of fishes and re-growing corals. The view from the reef to the inside of the cave is fantastic and we remember spending a long time snorkelling and later just appreciating the cave from the sea. The water on the reef flat gets even warmer and all you have to do is just let your floating body be taken by the tide. Please, if you go snorkelling in this place, remember that young corals are still growing so avoid stepping and destroy them.  We spent almost an entire day in Palaha Cave for which we took some lunch and drinks. The way back up is also easy with no dramas to go up the hill. Fabulous place in Niue.

The beginning of the track Very slippery in some parts

Stalactites & Stalagmites The cave-mouth to the sea

The reef flat from the cave Snorkelling over the reef flat

Plenty of fish everywhere
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