Travel in Niue: What You Need to Know
Niue is probably one of the more surprising destinations in the South Pacific. There’s something amazing to see around every corner on this large raised coral atoll. However, there are a few things worth knowing about Niue to make sure you make the most of the destination. We go through the most important things you need to know about travelling in Niue in this list.
1. The Best Time to Visit is When it’s Best for You
Despite unappealing names for some of Niue’s seasons, like the “wet season” and the “cyclone season”, there isn’t really a bad time to visit Niue. Niue experiences warm tropical weather all year round where it can rain at any time, even in the “dry season” but there’s always plenty of sun to be had. However, there are a select few seasonal activities that you might want to take into consideration if you’re interested, such as whale swimming, fishing for particular species, and catching one of the Village Show Days. See Travelling Niue: Month-by-Month Guide for advice on the subject.
2. You Probably Won’t Need a Visa
Citizens of around 40 countries can visit Niue without a visa, with a Visitors Permit automatically granted upon entry for up to 30 days. Visitors from countries not on the visa-waiver list will need to get an Entry Permit before being granted a Visitor Permit. See Do You Need a Visa to Visit Niue? for more information.
3. It’s Always Good to Have Some Cash on You
Despite many businesses in Niue accepting MasterCard, Visa and New Zealand debit cards, many tours, accommodations and market stalls only accept cash. Plus, sometimes the EFTPOS machines are known to lose connection, so it’s always a good idea to have some cash on you. The legal tender in Niue is New Zealand Dollars, by the way. One bonus tip, be sure to count your change and politely ask for the right change if necessary – it happens a lot in Niue. For more tips, see 11 Money Tips for Niue.
4. Five Days is the Absolute Minimum Amount of Time You Should Spend in Niue
There’s so much to do in Niue that you will definitely want to spend a week to two weeks here. Five days is the recommended absolute minimum if you were to fly in on a Monday and leave on a Friday. We don’t recommend staying in Niue for a long weekend, as many businesses are closed on a Sunday. See out recommended itineraries in our Niue Trip Ideas section.
5. Reef Shoes and Snorkelling Gear are a Must!
Niue is unlike any other South Pacific Island in that every single swimming spot is rocky so reef shoes are an absolute essential! We also recommend taking your own snorkelling gear, as there are some amazing snorkelling spots right on Niue’s doorstep! Only some accommodations rent out snorkel gear, so it’s best to bring your own. See more packing tips in The Complete Packing List for Niue.
6. Be Aware of the Tide Times
The tide is extremely important for your safety and enjoyment of Niue’s snorkelling, swimming and reef walking spots. Especially on the west coast, many of the swimming spots have a prime tide time. Your accommodation and the Tourist Information Centre will list the tide chart for the week. You just need to know where to go and when. See What You Need to Know About the Tide Times in Niue.
7. You Will Need to Hire a Car
Niue has very limited transport. There are no buses, no boat transport, domestic flights and just one taxi. One of your limited options for getting around is car hire, which is affordable and essential if you want to make the most of the island. Learn more about car rental in The Guide to Car Hire in Niue.
8. Be Aware of the Local Customs
Niueans have their own unique culture with their own customs. Make sure you are aware of them before travelling the island. For instance, it is customary to wave to everyone you see on the roads as you drive around. Wearing respectful clothes is appreciated, while walking or cycling shirtless or walking around villages in your swimwear is prohibited. See more rules to be aware of in the 10 Dos and Don’ts in Niue.
9. Roaming Will Not Work in Niue
Nope, you will not be able to use your phone in Niue. You will either need to get a Niue SIM card for your phone if it’s compatible. If it’s not, then you can hire a MIFI portable router to use with a Niue SIM card so you can access the internet. There are also other WiFi hotspots on the island, which you can find out more about in What is the Best Way to Get Internet in Niue?
10. Departure Days are a Little Weird
Due to the limited staff at the airport, there is some significant waiting time between the airport check-in and going through airport security. Airport check-in is open from 9am to 12pm. Then security doesn’t open for your departure flight until 1pm. For this reason, we recommend checking in your bags as soon as check-in opens to avoid the queues, then spend some time enjoying the island before security opens. Learn more in Leaving Niue: The Niue Airport Departure Process.