A Travel Guide about Niue Island in the South Pacific

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Talava Arches & Caves

 Get ready for another unforgettable adventure in Niue. Now, you're going to leave civilization behind and enter a world so pure and beautiful you'll feel like stepping back in time. Sorry no Dinosaurs found there yet, but the sensation in Talava Arches is that a Dino is around the corner. Talava is a complex place of Caves and Arches located at the Northwest part of Niue. It is not too difficult to reach by foot taking between 35 to 50 minutes walking, depending on the pace you take and the fitness level you have. The track is not mountainous with not many steep hills to climb, but it has lots of sharp corals and unlevel parts that may not be suitable for people with mobility problems or for the very young and very old. The only thing we can say is...:" If you think you can make it, do not miss it". A pair of walking sticks will be of great value and tennis shoes not sandals. You don't need to carry snorkelling gear because there is no place for such activity there, but bring plenty of water with you. In Australian terms, it is classified as "moderate" track.

  Your adventure stars near the village of Hikutavake at a point where the bitumen road does a sharp curve from the coast to the interior of the Island. You'll see a large grassy area with toilets where you can park your car. It is the same car park you use to go to Matapa Chasm, the only difference is that instead of going strait down to Matapa, like Celia is doing in the photo, you must take the track up at your right, just behind the coconut palm on this photo is a soft inclination that ends up becoming a flat trail in less than 50 meters.

Near half way the track become very uneven with plenty of sharp coral rocks to walk on. It is not as difficult as the photo shows but one must take care and watch every step. The thicker, the sole of your shoes is the better. This is the ideal time to use your walking sticks, but we did the entire track without one and without any problems. There are two rest areas which consists of a trunk of a tree supported on two coral rocks. Along the track you may see plenty of butterflies, crabs, Hermit crabs, lizards, and with luck a coconut crab. When you are about to arrive, there is a 50 meters part which is downhill but not too steep. It ends up at the entrance of a cave.

Entering the cave gives a great sensation. There is not too much clearance for the head and tall guys may have to bend to make its way in. A huge stalagmite, force a decision if one goes around by the left or right side but both are going to the same place. Than, the whole cave shows its explendour. Huge columns of Stalatactites and Stalagmites are everywhere, the colours are breathtaking and you must take care with some slippery wet parts. Usually, any wet part with any colour except green and brown are safe to walk on it, but of course take care, especially when doing inclinator areas or doing small jumps from one rock to another.

The cave has two exists, one to the sea and is dangerous when waves are big, and the other is a semi-circular gorge where the Arches are. This area is also breathtaking with the huge arches above your head and the walls of the gorge which also have smaller caves. We spent about half an hour just appreciating the magnificent work of nature, listening only to the sound of waves crashing over the reef and water dropping from the cave and arches, falling on small water holes. Unfortunately, no dinosaurs appeared. To go down to the green area which is the bottom of the gorge (photo) one will have to make its way down a steep but short rocky part using your hands to grab firmly in the rock slots. It is just 4 or 5 metres, and also not very difficult to do. Once under the arches, the big Arch that meets the Ocean can be seen (bigger photo on the top of this page).

  We spent about 5 hours exploring Talava Arches including the time that took us to go and come back to the car park. It is beautiful, it is fantastic, but please remember that any help you need will be very far away, so, take care and watch your step the same way you look for cars when cross a street. There is a reef flat from the two first arches to the third arch but it can be crossed only with very calm see and at very low tide, other ways, it is very dangerous to go there. Have fun and don't miss this place.

Twice on the track on will find rest areas to rest your feet from the sharp coral The end of the track and the entrance of the cave
Inside the cave in a colourful world Making our way inside the cave and pillars The ceiling looks like gold
Stalactites Stalagmites
The two arches just outside one exit of the cave Making the way to the first arch. It is not as scary as the photo suggests.
Under the arch (now wearing reef shoes). Other caves on the walls of the gorge

Tip: On the way back from Talava, at the car park, just take the short and easy track to have a refreshing swim at Matapa Chasm. It will be a great adventure.




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