There are two ways to get to Niue: by yacht or by the one or two Air NZ flights from Auckland each week. We arrived on Friday 19 August and left, 10 days later, on Tuesday 30 August 2016.
One very confusing thing is that Niue is just across the Date Line, and so 23 hours behind New Zealand. We left Auckland on Saturday and arrived on Friday. It was Tuesday afternoon when we left Niue, but we arrived in Auckland, some 3 hours later, on Wednesday. That really messed up my Apple Watch’s activity calculations (and my camera date settings which I thought I’d adjusted).
We settled in to our accommodation after arriving, then drove our rental car a few hundred metres to the supermarket, and grabbed an excellent fish dinner at Falala Fa cafe.
It was important to buy supplies early on, as on Sundays almost everything shuts down, and Saturday was to be busy with The Commodore’s Tour:
Niue Orientation Tour is a 4 hour minibus journey to a cave, a chasm, cliff tops, a reef flat & snorkelling spots. This tour will give you a taste of what Niue is about, a little off the well beaten track, and will leave you eager to explore at least two dozen unique locations.
We will visit 8 iconic locations in 4 hours, depending on tide state, a beach, a reef flat, cliff tops,a cave system, 4 of the best snorkelling spots.
The tour was invaluable and I’d recommend it to any first-timer on the island. Apart from being taken to see various sights, we were given tide tables and information about when to visit certain places, according to tides and weather. Knowing, for example, that we should snorkel at Hio just around low tide, and then when low tide would be on each day, made some planning possible.
All the information for tourists tells you to get a rental car as there is no public transport. We hired ours from Niue Rentals. I asked for it to be delivered to our accommodation, and sure enough, it was parked outside when we arrived, unlocked and with keys in the ignition.
The thing is, Niue is one island with a tiny population. If anyone stole the car, what would they do with it? Everyone would know who had it, and options for getting it off the island are not only extremely limited, but would be horribly expensive.
A couple of staff from Niue Rentals
found us in the supermarket while we were picking up supplies and had us fill out the rental form. They asked us to call in at their office sometime later that week to make our payment.
When we departed Niue the instructions were the same as for everyone else: leave the rental car at the airport with the keys in the ignition. Where else in the world does that happen, I wonder?
Oh, it turns out there are other ways to get to Niue. On the Monday after we arrived the monthly freighter visited, anchoring beyond the reef, and on the day we left a Tongan Navy ship berthed at the wharf in Alofi.
One day we were at a cafe chatting with some fellow Kiwi tourists when they spotted a plane arriving. The airport is about a 4 minute drive from
downtown Alofi. The thing is, it wasn’t
plane day. The others said there was a private charter jet arriving with visitors from China. The Chinese were apparently just visiting for the afternoon, presumably on business.
It turns out Niue was quite popular when we were there.