The Hidden Gems of Niue
Although you’ll never feel like you need to “escape the crowd” in Niue, as the tiny island in the South Pacific is an off-the-beaten-track destination in itself, there are certainly places less explored. From underrated sea tracks to secluded beaches, sometimes finding the places you have never heard of provides the most memorable experiences. We are almost ashamed to tell you about some of these places off the beaten track in Niue, as discovering them for yourself is all part of the fun. Nevertheless, here are what we consider some of the best hidden gems around the country.
Before we jump into our list of places that are off the beaten track in Niue, remember to bookmark the 101 Things to Do in Niue: The Ultimate List for more amazing experiences.
1. Motu Sea Track
You’ve probably heard of Niue’s famous sea tracks, such as the Limu Pools, Togo Chasm, Talava Arches, etc. However, there are more than 30 sea tracks around the island to discover, taking you to some of Niue’s most stunning off-the-beaten-track destinations. One of the most underrated sea tracks in the Motu Sea Track on the east coast. After delving down a narrow bush road, you’ll come to the start of the trail taking you through dense coastal forest until you emerge on the clifftops. Walk a little further and you’ll come to a cliff with a huge hole weathered through the middle looking out across a sweeping reef. There is even a sketchy-looking rung ladder down the cliff to the reef below. It’s one of our favourite sea tracks on the east coast.
Location: Between Liku and Lakepa, signposted on the main ring road
2. Vinivini Bike Trail
All five of Niue’s official bike tracks will take you to places few visitors get to see. However, the Vinivini Bike Trail, also known as Bike Track 5, is arguably the most off the beaten track taking you through the protected forest of the Huvalu Forest Conservation Area. The loop track is about 13.5km (8.4 miles), taking about three hours to hike and about one hour to cycle. Learn more in The Best Bike Trails in Niue.
Location: Liku, starting 250m (273 yards) north of the Hikulagi Sculpture Park
3. Pofitu Beach
Niue is not known for its beaches, mainly because it’s not a beach destination like the other South Pacific Islands. However, it does hide a few sandy coves and coral beaches nestled between its coastal cliffs, some of which are pretty popular, like Hio Beach and Tamakautoga Beach. Others are far less-visited, such as Pofitu Beach. The small beach leading onto a reef is the perfect photo spot, especially as it is likely that you’ll have the whole place to yourself. Check out more beaches in the 5 Best Beaches in Niue.
Location: Pofitu, signposted between Tamakautoga and Avatele
4. Ulupaka Cave
Niue has some popular caves to explore, such as the Avaiki Cave, Palaha Cave, Vaila Cave and more. But if you want to discover a cave less-explored, visit Ulupaka Cave. The journey to and into the cave is so adventurous that you need a local guide to take you there, which is available with Tali’s Cave Tours. You’ll scramble through the forest to the stunning limestone caves with majestic stalactites and pillars, as well as make your way through the cave’s numerous passageways.
Location: Between Lakepa and Liku, bookings required
If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-track place to stay in Niue, then consider staying in the village of Lakepa. Lakepa is located on the east side of the island, a side that very few visitors stay. However, Lakepa has two accommodation options, Taoke Units and Lialagi Units, which will give you an authentic Niuean village experience staying in a village with very little impact by tourists. Even here, you’re only a 20-minute drive across the inland road to Alofi.
Location: Lakepa, east coast
6. Niue’s Dive Sites
Niue is a scuba diver’s paradise thanks to its crystal clear waters due to the lack of surface run-off, as well as for its commanding underwater seascape and marine life. What’s more, Niue’s dive sites are never crowded – it’s just you and your group with a whole underwater world to yourselves. Niue only has two dive operators, which tend to visit different dive sites so you’re never likely to cross paths with another group. Learn more in the 10 Best Dive Sites in Niue.
Location: See scuba operators in The Best Scuba Diving Tours in Niue
7. Huvalu Forest with Ebony Rainforest Tours
Some of the other off-the-beaten-track destinations are where the tours take you. Niue’s tours are all small-group tours, usually just you and your group. That’s likely to also be the case of the Ebony Rainforest Tour based in Hakupu, where your guide will take you into the Huvalu Forest Conservation Area to show you traditional food and medicine gathering techniques, as well as show you where rare ebony wood is collected and carved to create beautiful art. The tour will take you to where few visitors have gone before! Learn more in The Best Guided Tours in Niue.
Location: Hakupu, bookings required, pick-ups are available from Alofi and the Scenic Matavai Resort
8. Mutalau’s Rainforest and Plantations with A5 Tours
Another tour that will take you off the beaten path is A5 Tours. You’ll tour Niuean rainforest and plantations via 4WD as you learn about sustenance living. It’s a hands-on experience having to learn to husk a coconut, hold and uga (coconut crab) and taste a variety of seasonal produce. It will likely be just you and your group seeing a slice of authentic life in Niue. Learn more in the 7 Best Nature Tours in Niue.
Location: Mutalau, bookings are required
9. Vaipouli Garden
Not many visitors have heard about this maala (garden) hidden in the interior of Niue. The Vailpouli Garden nestled in forest along the Alofi-Liku Road is a beautiful garden featuring tropical flowers to food crops. The garden is accessed via a guided tour with your passionate hosts, Doris and John, where you’ll experience their infectious love for growing things.
Location: 10km (6.2 miles) down Alofi-Liku Road from Alofi
10. Avatele Forest with Taue Uga Tours
Last but certainly not least, Ope from Taue Uga Tours will certainly take you off the beaten track as you set up coconut baits to catch uga in his ancestral forest. Scramble over rocky terrain, squeezing through chasms and tying coconuts beside caves to entice Niue’s prized uga. There are day and night tours available. See the 10 Must-Do Tours in Niue for more information.
Location: Avatele, bookings required