A Self-Drive Itinerary of the West Coast of Niue
Be in charge of your own island time with this self-guided tour of Niue’s west coast! The best way to split up day trips in Niue is to explore each side of the island separately. This self-drive itinerary focuses on sights to see on the west coast of the island. For instance, swimming beaches, caves, arches, cafes and the town of Alofi are all highlights of this self-guided tour of the west coast. Follow our directions, and we’ll lead you to all sorts of unforgettable nooks and crannies of this coral atoll.
If you like this itinerary, you might also like A Self-Guided Tour of Niue’s East Coast.
Tips for Planning a Self-Guided Tour of Niue’s West Coast
- Check the tide times! Swimming spots that we mention in this itinerary, such as Avatele Beach, Avaiki Cave, Hio Beach, Limu Pools, etc, have preferable tide times to enjoy safer swimming. This also may determine the order you choose to sample this itinerary
- Rent a car! It might seem obvious, but access to a vehicle is needed to enjoy exploring all of the highlights mentioned in this itinerary. Renting a bicycle or electric bike is also an option for those who like a challenge
- This itinerary doesn’t include every sea track available on the west coast. However, you might want to pick and choose the tracks that appeal to you from the 10 Best Sea Tracks on the West Coast of Niue
- Don’t forget your reef shoes! A road trip on the west 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 Tamakautoga
Drive time: 3 minutes/2.6km/1.6 miles
Starting at Avatele Beach, snorkelling is good here at the low-to-mid outgoing tide. If it happens to be a Sunday, you can also enjoy lunch/dinner at the self-serve Washaway Cafe.
Travel north along the coastal road for approximately 1km (0.6 miles) and you’ll come across highlights such as the quaint arts and gift shop of Kauhi Krafts, as well as the Pofitu Sea Track leading to a picturesque beach. You’re likely to have it all to yourself.
Travel about another kilometre and you’ll reach the Scenic Matavai Resort. The resort is another option to enjoy some dining along with the expansive views across Niue’s rugged coast.
Finally, you’ll reach the tiny village of Tamakautoga where you should keep left at the fork to continue to the Togulu Sea Track. Down the 30-second track, you’ll find a small beach that’s ideal for reef walking.
Tamakautoga to Alofi (via the Coast Road)
Drive time: 13 minutes/8.6km/5.3 miles
Follow the coastal road north through lush tropical forest for approximately 4km (2.5 miles) to see a signpost for the Anaana Burial Cave. There is a short set of steps to view this historical cave.
From the cave, drive just a little further north to a large parking area of Ana’ana Point. Take in the dramatic coastal vistas and keep an eye out for whales (July-September) and spinner dolphins.
Now drive approximately 2km (1.2 miles) to the outskirts of Alofi where you’ll see the sign for the Amanau Sea Track on the lefthand side. While it’s worth a look at any tide, the best tide for swimming is low-to-mid tide. On the opposite side of the road, browse the stall of Koefaga Vanilla of Niue and use the honesty box if you want to buy anything.
Finally, it’s just a few hundred metres until you reach Alofi town. On the lefthand side, you have the Vaiolama Cafe and Mini Golf on the clifftops. A little further on the right is Kaiika serving sushi, pizzas and rotisserie chicken. When you reach Halamahaga Road to your right, take it to reach the Taoga Niue Museum. It’s also worth a quick walk down the Utuko Reef Sea Track to a sandy beach and reef, which you’ll find opposite the Police Station. Finally, have a browse and around the shops of Alofi’s Commercial Centre, found on the righthand side of the main road, for gifts, restaurants and art galleries. See more stuff to do in the 10 Things to Do in Alofi.
Alofi to Makefu
Drive time: 7 minutes/6.3km/3.9 miles
As you continue north from Alofi, there are a few more sea tracks signposted from the road. The first you’ll come across is the Togalupo Sea Track leading to a tiny cove. However, the Vaila Cave Sea Track has a bit more to offer with steps leading down to a cave cut into the cliffs. Have a snorkel or a reef walk at low tide.
After checking out Vaila Cave, continue approximately 1.8km (1.1 miles) to visit the historical site of Peniamina’s Grave Memorial.
If you really want to fit every sea track in, you’ll see signs for the Makefu Sea Track just before reaching the village of Makefu.
Makefu to Hikutavake
Drive time: 7 minutes/5.5km/3.4 miles
The northwest coast of Niue arguably has the most natural attractions so save plenty of time to explore this part of the island.
Just north of Makefu is the entrance to Avaiki Cave Sea Track. This cave with a sheltered swimming pool is best visited at low tide. Drive a little further north and you’ll reach the entrance to the dramatic formations of Palaha Cave.
A few hundred metres further north is the small settlement of Tuapa and the Hio Cafe where you can grab a bite to eat or take the long staircase down to Hio Beach. Swimming here is best done 30 minutes before low tide or 30 minutes after.
Approximately 1km (0.6 miles) north of the Hio Cafe is the Limu Pools, one of Niue’s most popular swimming spots. The water is shallow at low tide (great for kids), but most prefer to swim at the half-to-full incoming tide.
Once you reach Hikutavake, park up on the grassy area before the coastal road turns inland to find three different sea tracks. The Hikutavake Sea Track offers some fantastic snorkelling pools 30 minutes before or after low tide. Alternatively, the track to the Matapa Chasm not only takes you to an impressive chasm but an enjoyable snorkelling spot no matter what the tide is doing.
Finally, the track to the Talava Arches offers one of the longest walks in Niue (then again, it’s still only 30 minutes one-way). Your reward at the end of the track through forests and caves is to a grand coastal arch. At low tide, there is a channel cut through the reef that makes a mesmerising place for snorkelling.