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              A Travel Guide about Niue Island in the South Pacific

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Getting around in Niue

You'll need wheels in Niue, that's for sure. There are no public transports due to the small population besides the fact that many locals have their own car. The Island is much bigger than it seems to be and the attractions are distributed in many different parts of the Island. We had an air conditioned sedan for two straight weeks, and it was the best thing we did in Niue.

 A Niue Island Driver's License will be a must if you're planning to drive a car or motorcycle in Niue. All you have to do is pass by the Police Station in Alofi, show your driver's license from your  country of origin, pay NZ$ 10 cash, and take this fantastic souvenir home. At the police station, you'll recognize many people you've met before, because some police officers also doubles as Immigration Officers, Customs, Passport control, etc... So don't expect to be stopped on the road and be asked for your Niuean drive's license, except if you're driving and didn't have yours made. The Police know's you from the day of your arrival till the departure day. They are very professional and nice guys.

Before you rent anything, here are some facts. The first one is that Insurance companies don't notice Niue as a viable commercial place to invest, in other words, they DO NOT insure car, motorcycles or bicycles. This means that car rentals companies in Niue don't sell you insurance on the vehicle you're renting, but at the same time, they place a limit on the amount you have to pay if something happens with the vehicle. The amount varies depending upon the vehicle you're renting, and each rental company has a different procedure. Anyway, some travel insurances can cover this amount, so it's best to talk with them both (the rental company and your insurer).

 The good news is that the roads in Niue are good. There aren't many cars on the roads, and Niueans drive in Uga's pace, most respecting the speed limit which is 60 Km/h on open roads and 40 km/h in build up areas. Many times we drove for more than 20 minutes without crossing one car. The only thing we recommend is that the roads are narrow and there are some blind spots on some bends which can put adrenaline into you  if you suddenly meet a vehicle coming in the opposite direction, especially if you are appreciating the beautiful panorama and aren't too concentrated on the road.

 Niue has something around 90 Km of paved roads and 150 Km of unpaved ones. Both are in good condition of traffic despite the fact we had to deal with many pot holes. When we were there, we saw a maintenance truck topping up some of these holes with gravelled limestone, which solves the problem temporarily. The gravel roads are also in good shape. Some are accesses to attractions, such as the road to Liku Cave or to  Anapala Chasms. The grass on the middle of these gravel roads was a bit high, giving the impression we were riding a lawn mower instead of a car. Anyway, we had no problem at all on the roads we took. Some attractions such as Matapa Chasm, Liku Cave and Limu Pools have toilets, and near all attractions have a parking area. Just make sure you park out of the line of fall of coconuts. (which kills much more people in the tropics than sharks).

  • Car, Motorcycle, Bicycle, Taxi, Transfers:

- Car : Definitely for us was the best bet. We could carry lunch, drinks, snorkelling gear, cameras, walking sticks and many other things without problems around the Island. If rains a bit, no problem, and the air conditioning was a savier especially after hard tracks and tracks up the cliffs. Because the speed limit in Niue is low, the fuel consumption was also low. We spent 1 1/2 tank of petrol in two week and we did lots and lots of mileage on the island. Before we went to Niue, we were in doubt whether to get a motorcycle (cheaper and I have one home) or a car. The decision for a car demonstrated to be a wise one. The rental cost per week is around NZ$ 280 (with further discounts for two weeks hire - we paid NZ$ 463 for the 2 weeks).

- Motorcycles / Scooters:  Around NZ$ 25 per day with discounts for long term rentals. Well, it is another good option, but be aware that when the maintenance truck tops up the pot holes on the roads, there will be lots of loose gravel around, so, I would say it is very safe to ride bikes in Niue but you must take care and keep the speed down. Helmets are supplied by the rental companies and are a must to wear. (While we were there we heard of a very serious motorcycle accident which almost killed a young lady supposedly not wearing helmet). She was transferred by special air ambulance to Auckland on her family's expenses and the last notice we had was that she survived). You are an experienced motorcyclist, I don't see any problem of renting a motorcycle, as soon as you keep your speed down, wear the helmet, and have an insurance that pays your repatriation by air ambulance if something happens.

- Bicycles: Matavai Hotel and some guesthouses have bicycles for the guest (don't know know many available or if they are in good working order). Some rental companies also rent them for a very affordable price. Having a bike ride in Niue can be very pleasurable activity, but not all the time. In the hottest times of the day it can be a torture. Winter time (June- September) is much cooler.

- Taxis and Airport transfers: if you don't drive (or don't feel like) know that there are no Taxi services in Niue but you can arrange a car with a driver. from the Tourist Information in Alofi of with Alofi Rentals. Regarding Airport Transfers, usually the Hotel or accommodation you're staying will charge a very reasonable fee to do your transfer and will pick you up and drop you off at the airport. Alternatively it can be arranged with the Tourist information or Alofi Rentals. The email of Niue Tourism Office is [email protected]

Note: Niue has a very good hospital but it has its limitations. Niueans when in need of special medical care are sponsored by the government to have treatment in New Zealand. Anyway, New Zealanders visiting Niue don't have this benefit and as far as I know ACC (accident compensation from New Zealand) will NOT pay anything in case something happens. The conclusion is...If you are not a Niueans, don't travel to Niue without a good medical Insurance that will pay an air transfer and treatment in case a accident  happens.

  • Car Rental Companies in Niue:

Note: There aren't big difference in prices between car rental companies in Niue, but one may have the class of car you want and some other not (peak season can be quite busy and cheapest car may be already rented). Book in advance may be a good idea. The biggest ones do accept credit cards which are one of the few places in Niue where you'll use it.

- Alofi Rentals : This is the company we had our car from. No problems in dealing with them. The car was nice, good service, good discount, very happy with it. They bring the car to you at your door and drop you off at the accommodation after you give the car back at their place. Some people we knew in Niue dropped the car off at the airport without extra charge. Their place is located South of Alofi, almost opposite to the petrol station.

- Niue Rentals : Another person we knew in Niue got his car from them and was very happy too. They are located a little bit North of Alofi.

- Heahea Rental : Located at Pelenis Travel in Alofi. Don't know much about them but if someone knows any more information we will be glad to place it here. Their email is: [email protected]

- Driveway Rentals : The same as above. Don't know much more information about them. Their email is: [email protected]

 

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