A Self-Drive Itinerary of the East Coast of Niue
If there was ever an island to experience the joys of independent exploration, Niue would be it. Rent some wheels and hit the open albeit pothole-full road to Niue’s less-visited side, the east coast. This self-guided tour of Niue’s east coast will show you the way.
Pack sights such as tropical forest, dramatic chasms, rugged sea tracks and vibrant reefs into a self-drive itinerary. After you’ve seen it all, you might want to try A Self-Guided Tour of Niue’s West Coast next.
Tips for Planning a Self-Guided Tour of Niue’s East Coast
- Check the tide times! Reef-walking spots that we mention in this itinerary, such as Tautu Sea Track, Motu Sea Track and Puluhiki Sea Track, have preferable tide times to enjoy safer exploration. This also may determine the order you choose to sample this itinerary
- Rent a car! It might seem obvious, but your own vehicle is needed to enjoy exploring all of the highlights mentioned in this itinerary. Due to the east of Niue being far from where most travellers stay, renting a bike/e-bike to explore the east coast is only recommended to those who like a challenge.
- This itinerary doesn’t include every sea track available on the east coast. However, you might want to pick and choose the tracks that appeal to you from the 7 Best Sea Tracks on the East Coast of Niue
- Don’t forget your reef shoes! A road trip on the east coast of Niue mostly involves exploring rocky sea tracks and reefs. Pack reef shoes to protect your feet, as well as other items we recommend in the 10 Essentials to Pack for Niue.
Avatele to Hakupu
Drive time: 11 minutes/7.8km/4.8 miles
With many of Niue’s tourist accommodation based in and around Avatele, the village on the west coast of the island is a good place to start your journey to the east. Check out the 9 Things to Do in Avatele, then hit the road!
Follow the main road east, to the village of Vaiea. At about 3.4km (2.1 miles) into your journey, you’ll see the entrance to the Noni Farm. They sometimes offer tours, which is best booked at the Niue Tourism Information Centre in Alofi. Alternatively, continue onto Hakupu. Look out for signs to the Ebony Carving Studio on your way into the village to browse hand-carved ebony products or even join the Ebony Rainforest Tour – find out more about the tour in The Best Guided Tours in Niue.
Don’t leave Hakupu too quickly, as behind the village hides Anapala Chasm. Take the second or third righthand turnoff, as they both connect to a winding gravel road toward the coast. The short walk here takes you through the forest to a set of steep steps descending into the chasm. At the bottom is a freshwater pool that offers a “refreshing” swim.
Hakupu to Liku
Drive time: 15 minutes/10.8km/6.7 miles
As you leave Hakupu following the road to Liku through the Huvalu Forest Conservation Area, you’ll see the road become all the more lively with potholes.
Some 4km (2.5 miles) from Hakupu, you’ll come across signs and an obvious parking area for the Togo Chasm walk. There is a toilet here if you need it. The walk through the forest and over weathered pinnacles to the chasm takes approximately 45 minutes one-way (or more like 20-30 minutes for fit hikers).
Once you’ve walked your legs off, hop into the car and continue for another couple of kilometres, keeping an eye out for the Laufoli Umu Pit on the righthand sign (it’s easy to miss). After seeing this historical site, it’s another couple of kilometres to the Hikulagi Sculpture Park on the lefthand side. The park is full of art made from waste that has washed up on Niue’s shores.
Finally, you’ll reach the village of Liku. Here, we recommend a side trip to the Tautu Reef and sea track for an amazing photo opportunity in a coastal cave. The access road is from the village green, just left of the striking white house. The road is rough, so some travellers prefer to leave their car and walk down the road.
Liku to Lakepa
Drive time: 9 minutes/5.3km/3.3 miles
There’s yet another sea track to discover between Liku and Lakepa. Approximately 4km (2.5 miles) north of Liku, you’ll find a sign and a narrow flat road through the forest to the parking area of the Motu Sea Track. The rocky walking track through the forest emerges on exposed clifftops where you’ll find a ladder down to the reef below. The reef is best explored at low tide.
As you reach Lakepa, there’s another sea track opportunity at the Puluhiki Sea Track. You’ll find the track signposted from the northern side of the village green. The road to the track is steep and unsealed. Walk the sea track to more of Niue’s rugged coastal landscape. There’s a concrete platform to access the reef.
Lakepa to Mutalau
Drive time: 8 minutes/6.3km/3.9 miles
The final stretch of your east coast adventure brings you to Mutalau, which offers several sights and attractions.
For a bit of history, check out Taue i Fupiu (Fupiu Fort) to see the remains of a traditional fort – find out more details in the 10 Fascinating Historical Sites in Niue.
There is an attractive picnic area overlooking the Pacific Ocean from the car park of the Uluvehi Sea Track. The sea track is easy to find, signposted from the centre of Mutulau village, allowing you to access two caves harbouring vaka (canoes) and limestone features.
If you need more reasons to enjoy Mutulau, A5 Plantation Tours offers an interesting experience touring a tropical plantation and learning about the Niuean culture. Find out more about the experience in The Best Guided Tours in Niue.
To return to the west coast, take the main road west over Niue’s highest point at 69m (226ft).