Sealife, food, forest and coastal walks, crafts: Stacey Hunt finds four good reasons to visit Niue.

DOLPHINS AND WHALES

A trip to Niue came with the chance to swim with a pod of small dolphins. We gripped on to the side of a tiny boat and had a perfect, clear view as they gathered around. If this isn't magical enough, from July to October Niue is one of the few places in the world you can swim with humpback whales. Just note that no diving or fishing is allowed on Sundays, as it's a day of rest. Another drawcard is a tour to visit the massive uga, or coconut crabs, which inhabit the island (and can live for up to 60 years).

DINING

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During a sunset visit to the seaside cafe Washaways, we ate burgers made with fresh fish and poured our own drinks from the bar, recording what we'd taken in a logbook as we went. For such a small place, there are plenty of cafes and restaurants to try — just double-check what's open each day as hours can be slightly erratic.

HIKING AND CAVING

Much of Niue is covered in lush forest and there are plenty of walks, caves and chasms to explore. Huge stalagmites make you feel as though you've stepped back in time and the view from the coastal walks makes it hard to keep your eyes on the rocky ground. The Togo Chasm is a small, secluded beach that takes a walk down a narrow concrete track and a ladder climb to get to, but is one of the most unique "beaches" I've ever seen. I also loved the hand-painted signs we often came across, asking locals and visitors to respect the environment and beaches, which are all so tidy and pristine.

ARTS AND WEAVING

If we had a little more time in Niue, I would have loved to have visited one of the village open days (which happen annually) or more frequent markets and weaving groups. There are a few stores and art galleries where you can pick up local crafts, and a national museum. A new one is currently under construction.

Checklist

GETTING THERE

Air New Zealand

flies a twice-weekly direct service from Auckland to Niue, with one-way Seat fares from $381.

ACCOMMODATION
Scenic Matavai Hotel is an oceanfront resort with 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean.

DETAILS
niueisland.com