A Travel Guide about Niue Island in the South Pacific

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Snorkelling in Niue

We've been in much better snorkelling environments than Niue, but Niue has something very special about it. Are there many corals? No, most corals were destroyed by cyclone Heta in 2004. They are re-growing now, but still far away from what some people call a "forest of corals". Are there many colourful tropical fishes? Yes and No. There are many different species, but not too much of the same species. Is the water clean? Transparent and warm around 28º, but in some places such as rock pools, sometimes the fresh water coming from sub terrain creeks takes a while to mix with the salt water and you have a refractive effect. So, what makes Niue so special for snorkelling? The only answer that passes through my mind is... Fun, Fun, Fun. and lots of Fun.

  It is better to bring your own snorkelling gear, but if for some reason you don't want to or don't have it,  "The Dive Shop"  just beside Matavai Resort provides snorkelling tours, scuba dive tours, whale watching tours, and also the rental of diving gear. There are three situations for snorkelling in Niue...

Snorkelling in Open Waters

Snorkelling in Open Waters is one possibility if the sea is calm enough or if you engage yourself on a snorkelling boat tour. There are many places on the reef flats with easy access to the open Ocean. The reefs aren't continuous and there are gaps between two reefs, forming a kind of a deep "V" easy to start from and come back to. For this type of snorkelling it will be imperative to have the Ocean looking like a lake or you can be thrown over the reef by a wave and end up with bruises and cuts. For all open water snorkelling we strongly recommend wearing fins (flippers) due to possible currents, and never go alone having at least one person (capable of rescue) with one eye on you..

The wharf in Alofi is another nice place to start an open water snorkelling session. It has concrete stairs, easy to get in and out of the water. There are two reefs nearby Alofi's wharf. One to the right and another to the left (photo). Once again the sea must be calm and during the day some commercial activities may be going on, so watch out for support boats from and to fishing vessels. We did two nights snorkelling sessions at the wharf and enjoyed it immensly. Avatele Beach also has nice reefs and a canal (pass) to go out, but the ripps are strong and if the tide is going out you may have to come back by climbing over the reef. Snake Gully, two reefs to the left of Avatele is also nice, but is only recommended for experienced snorkellers or by boat.

Snorkelling in The Pools

Snorkelling in the pools is another way to go. There are plenty of rock pools on the reef flats to snorkel in. The tide must be right and the sea calm. One of our favourite spots was the reef flat in front of Palaha Cave (photo) and the rock pool in the reef in front of Hikutavake Village. Many others reef flats have pools deep enough for a nice snorkelling session, and you don't need to go too far, because in walking distance from Alofi there are at least 3 of them. Some are small pools, but we were very impressed with the number of colourful fishes these small pools can handle, sometimes much more fishes and interesting sea creatures to see than in open waters. If the sea gets too tough to snorkel on or if the reef flats or the tide is wrong, there are two another options...

Limu Pools  is one of the most popular  snorkelling places in Niue. The access from the road is easy, short and steep, but when you arrive at the place what you see is a paradisiacal vision of an immense blue-green pool. There are two huge pools , one with an natural arch and both have some underwater small caves to play and swim underneath. The best place we found to spot fish and corals was at the entrance of this canal, but the sea must be very calm. In this place we could observe large numbers and different species of butterfly fishes swimming together as couples among other species of colourful fish. (read more about Limu Pools here)

Matapa Chasm is another possible place to snorkel when the sea is calm. There are some small corals and some nice colourful fish, nothing special but really entertaining and fun. The huge pool is good enough to refresh and have a safe snorkelling trip, also a nice place for beginners to develop snorkelling skills. Due the chasm itself, there isn't too much light except at midday (photo). For more details about Matapa Chasm chick here.

Note: For snorkelling on the reef flats, Limu Pools, Matapa Chasm and in caves pools, there is no need for flippers or fins. A pair of reef shoes will be the ideal gear on your feet. This doesn't apply for open waters.

Snorkelling in Caves

Have you ever imagined yourself snorkelling inside a cave. Yes, Niue has quite a few small caves that are possible and safe to snorkel inside. Limu Pools has some, including an arch you can snorkel in. Avaiki and Amanau are semi-open caves which receives seawater from the Ocean and this water is kept in the interior pool. Avaiki is bigger and has an atmosphere you could onlt dream of. I was not impressed when I heard it was a place where the kings of the Island used to bath in. There are corals and trapped fish inside these pools, not many, but enough to make you feel really happy doing such a thing.  There are caves in the open waters but these caves must be explored with scuba gear and a boat is required. Niue Dive, just beside Matavai Resort is the place to inquire about this.

Kalaone Reef Flat in Alofi.




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