Places to Snorkel from Niue’s Shore
The beauty of Niue is that its snorkelling reefs are right on its doorstep. The west coast of the island has many sea tracks that lead down to mesmerising snorkelling spots where you’ll find some of the clearest water that you can find close to land. However, it’s important to be aware of the tide times when visiting Niue’s snorkelling spots, as each place has a better time to go in terms of the tide. Check out What You Need to Know About the Tide Times in Niue for more information. Our below listings of the best places to snorkel in Niue also states when is the best tide to visit for snorkelling.
For more snorkel talk, take a look at The Guide to Snorkelling in Niue.
1. Limu Pools
One of the safest spots for snorkelling in Niue, the Limu Pools is best visited at mid-tide for enough water to snorkel comfortably. Alternatively, come at low tide if you’re with young kids. The pools are a great example of how clear the water is, with plenty of reef fish and coral to see. There is a shade cloth and bench for relaxing. Check out the side track to another pool for snorkelling with a fun swimthrough under an archway. However, be aware of possible surges through this archway. The water can also be a little fuzzy in this area where the freshwater meets the saltwater.
2. Matapa Chasm
A snorkelling haven at any tide, the Matapa Chasm is a must-visit. After a seven-minute forest walk, you’ll emerge at a sheltered cove with towering chasm walls. The water here harbours many reef fish, crabs and more. The water can sometimes be a little distorted with some freshwater mixing with the saltwater, especially at low tide. Snorkelling is good around midday when the sun lights up the entire cove.
3. Avatele Beach
This coral beach provides excellent snorkelling at low to mid tide with an array of fish, soft coral and hard coral. Be careful if snorkelling at low tide, as the hard coral is growing close to the water’s surface. Also, be aware of a strong rip channel near the boat ramp.
4. Utuko Reef
Accessible from the heart of Alofi, Utuko Reef is located opposite the Police Station. The sandy cover leads out onto a reef with snorkelling pools to the left of the cove, which is best swam at low-to-mid incoming tide, as long as the swell isn’t big. See more sea tracks in the area in the 6 Best Sea Tracks in Alofi.
5. Talava Arches
The Talava Arches is more about seeing amazing coastal arches and limestone caves, but the snorkelling here is also fabulous. After walking down a 30-minute sea track through the forest and scrambling through some limestone caves, you’ll emerge at an opening where you’ll see a huge archway. Below this opening is a narrow channel lined with coral and fish, ideal for snorkelling. It’s best visited at low tide so you can explore the whole area and walk on the reef to the archway.
6. Avaiki Cave
Only accessible at low tide, the Avaiki Cave is a must-visit to snorkel in its magnificent cave pool. There are a few clusters of coral to see which attract reef fish. Be careful on the slippery rocks when getting into the pool.
7. Hio Beach
This sweeping coral beach has a warm snorkelling pool on the right side of the reef. This is best enjoyed 30 minutes to an hour on either side of low tide. The Hio Cafe & Bar is located just above the beach, which you can learn more about in The 10 Best Restaurants in Niue.
8. Hikutavake Pools
Walk down the Hikutavake Sea Track to a reef where there are some pools with an abundance of coral and fish. It’s best snorkelled at low tide, allowing 30 minutes on either side of low tide. Make sure that no waves are crashing over the reef, which means it should be safe for swimming. Be aware of coral cuts when entering and exiting the pools.
9. Amanau Sea Track
A shady spot for snorkelling in a cave, the Amanau Sea Track provides access to a cave pool down a wooden ladder. There are various reef fish to find in the cave pool, which is best for snorkelling at low to mid-tide.
10. Alofi Wharf
For competent ocean swimmers only, there is good snorkelling from Alofi Wharf at low-to-mid tide. Snorkel with fins from the steps on the wharf’s south side, following the reef south of the wharf. Note that swimming here on a Sunday is forbidden. There is no public access to the wharf when the cargo ship is in port.