Advice for Walks in Niue
Niue is an active holiday destination where you can only see its stunning coastal sights by hitting the walking tracks. The walking trails around the island are known as “sea tracks”, which take you on scenic journeys to something breathtaking at the end. Because you’re a savvy traveller, you’re going to want to prepare for your sea track mission on the island before you set off into the unknown, so here are some tips for walking and hiking in Niue!
1. Wear Appropriate Footwear
Niue is not a place that you can dilly-dally about in the flip-flops. The rocky coral atoll has sharp rocks, where many of the walking trails have uneven surfaces. Trust us, it is no fun to stub your toe on a piece of protruding rock, so wearing closed footwear is a good rule-of-thumb for the Niue sea tracks. Preferably, sneakers or walking shoes are the best.
2. Take Water and Sunscreen at the Least
To add to your essential items to take with you on a walk in Niue, water and sunscreen should be in your day pack. While the sea tracks in Niue are short, it’s unlikely that you’ll just visit one sea track in a day. Most visitors visit a string of sea tracks, which can add up in time and be thirsty work in the tropical sun. Speaking of the tropical sun, be sure to stay on top of your sunscreen application to avoid sunburn or heatstroke. Remember to use reef-safe sunscreen, as explained in What are the Best Sunscreens for Niue?
3. Take Snorkelling Gear, Reef Shoes and a Camera to Make the Most of the Tracks
Now that we’ve got the essentials out of the way, let’s list some things to take on your walk in Niue that will enhance the experience. Niue’s sea tracks always lead to somewhere special, typically somewhere you can swim, snorkel and/or reef walk. With that in mind, make sure you take some snorkelling gear, your swimwear, reef shoes (Niue’s swimming spots have rocky surfaces) and, of course, some sort of camera. Yep, you’re going to need a day pack.
4. Almost all Sea Tracks are Well Signposted
With the exception of a few obscure sea tracks, all of Niue’s sea tracks are well-signposted from the main ring road around the island. Sea track signs are blue and say “Hala Tahi [track name]” in large letters and “Sea Track” in small letters underneath. Some of the more popular sea tracks also have an information sign at the start of the track telling some of the history of the area you are about to visit.
5. Check the Tide Times
Like we said, Niue’s sea tracks often lead to somewhere amazing to swim, snorkel or reef walk, but doing this safely greatly relies on what the tide is doing. As a general rule, swimming and reef walking in Niue are best at low tide, but there are variations of the best tide to visit for some areas. This information is best explained in our What You Need to Know About the Tide Times in Niue and Niue’s Best Tidal Activities & Attractions.
6. Niue’s Sea Tracks are Short but You Need to Have Good Mobility
Niue’s sea tracks range from 30 seconds to 45 minutes one way, but most are only around 5 minutes one way. While most fitness levels can handle the sea tracks in Niue, it’s the varying terrain and sometimes steep steps and ladders that don’t necessarily make Niue’s sea tracks suitable for all. Generally, you need to have good mobility to tackle Niue’s sea tracks, so keep this in mind when planning what you want to do on the island.
7. If You’re Looking for a Longer Hike, Check Out the Bike Trails
The 5-minute sea tracks might not satisfy a keen hiker, so if you’re looking for a longer walk in Niue, your best option is to tackle the bike trails. There are five bike trails in Niue, where maps can be picked up at the Visitor Information Centre in Alofi. Bike trails go in a loop, incorporating remote inland bush roads and the main ring road. On foot, they can take as little as 2 hours to as much as 4 hours to complete. Check out some of our descriptions of the bike trails in the 10 Best Hikes in Niue.
8. For Longer Hikes, Set Out Early
If you’re planning on doing one of the bike trails, as mentioned above, on foot, then we recommend setting out early. Doing these hikes are much more enjoyable in the cooler morning than during the heat of the afternoon.
9. Know the Best Places to Go if You’re Travelling with Kids
So where are the best places to go if you’re travelling with kids? We have put together a list of the best sea tracks in Niue for kids to walk, as well as safer swimming spots. Check them out in the 8 Best Sea Tracks & Places to Swim in Niue for Kids.
10. Know How to Get to the Sea Tracks
Finally, how do you get to Niue’s walking trails? The most accessible way to visit Niue’s various sea tracks is to hire a car. However, you can still manage to explore nearby sea tracks by hiring a bike. There is one taxi available on the island, which does regular trips to some of the sea tracks on the west coast, but this needs to be booked. Finally, Niue’s orientation tours which take place the day after flights arrive take you to a small selection of sea tracks as part of the tour. Learn more about Niue’s transport options in How to Get Around Niue.