Niue: One of the World’s Least Visited Countries
Niue is one of the world’s smallest countries. The country also pops up on the ranking for one of the least visited countries year after year and it plans to keep it that way. Although tourism is on the rise to visit this unique island in the South Pacific, the world’s largest uplifted coral atoll, there’s talk of the number of tourists visiting the country being capped at 15,000, keeping the island pristine and uncrowded for the future. So if you were looking to escape the crowd, perhaps you want to escape to Niue… Find out if it’s the right fit with this guide to how to visit one of the world’s least-visited countries.
Pronounced “Nyoo-ay”, Niue is a small island in the South Pacific located 2,400 km (1,490 mi) northeast of New Zealand and in the centre of Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands. Unlike its South Pacific neighbours, the country is just one island. In fact, it is the world’s largest raised coral atoll which also makes it unique in the South Pacific in that it doesn’t have soft sandy beaches. What it does have are incredible limestone formations lining its coastline, some of the clearest waters in the world, and an utterly blissful and relaxing atmosphere.
Stats About Niue
Here are a few statistics about Niue that the traveller looking for a less-visited country might enjoy…
Niue has a landmass of 261.5 km² (101 mi²).
Niue has an official population of 1,600 people (but many agree it’s more like 1,300).
Niue has 14 villages.
Less than 15,000 people visit Niue per year.
Why Visit Niue?
If you’re not already intrigued by this 260 km² (100 mi²) piece of rock in the South Pacific, then perhaps you need to learn more about the country. Niue is an island that is utterly unique, being the largest raised coral atoll in the world. The island is mainly made from limestone, which has created some unworldly formations both above and below the surface. Chasms, caves, pinnacles and arches are accessible by various sea tracks around the island, as well as underwater through scuba diving tours.
Speaking of water, the limestone island filters water rather than having any rivers running off into the ocean. This makes for some of the clearest snorkelling and scuba diving, accessible straight off the coast!
While nature is just one reason you might want to visit Niue, the culture will certainly draw you in too. The island’s 1,600 residents are extremely welcoming and can be interacted with effortlessly through the morning markets, rainforest and plantation tours run by locals, as well as community events such as Village Show Days.
The affordable experiences, the glorious tropical weather, the fishing and the whale swimming are just 100 m (330 ft) off the coast are just some other reasons why you might want to say “Fakaalofa lahi atu!” to Niue.
For more reasons to visit the island, see the 10 Amazing Reasons to Visit Niue.
How to Get to Niue
Being one of the least visited countries in the world, options for getting to Niue are limited. There are only two flights a week to the island of Niue, only from New Zealand, while only a handful of cruise ships visit the island.
Despite the limited ways to get to Niue, entry to the island is easy with most visitors not requiring a visa before entry. A 30-day visitor permit is granted upon arrival.
Things to Do in Niue
Being such a small country, is there anything to do in Niue? Well, that’s one of the beauties of the island…
Niue is home to more than 30 sea tracks, each with a surprise at the end, whether it’s a snorkelling spot or a coastal formation like a cave or chasm. There are five official bike trails, around 10 fishing charters, around eight guided nature and culture tours, two whale swimming operators, one dive operator and one golf course. In short, there’s plenty to do in Niue.
In Niue, you can take part in the following:
- Snorkel in crystal clear waters with tropical fish and coral straight off the short
- Scuba dive among caves, chasms and pinnacles
- Swim with humpback whales and spinner dolphins
- Fish for wahoo, mahimahi, yellowfin tuna and more just 100 m (330 ft) offshore
- Walk and cycle through a stunning rainforest conservation area
- Follow sea tracks to limestone caves and dramatic chasms
- Immerse in Polynesian culture with uga (coconut crab) hunting tours, vaka (canoe tours), plantation tours and more
- Immerse in nature with nature and rainforest tours
- Go to events like Village Show Days, food festivals, yoga retreats and more.
Inspired? Find out more in the 101 Things to Do in Niue: The Ultimate List.
Niue’s Less-Visited Places
And if you’re looking to get even more off the beaten track in Niue, then there are plenty of secluded beaches, bike trails, sea tracks and villages to explore that even Niue’s already very few tourists don’t tend to go. Check out the 10 Best “Secret” Places in Niue for our recommendations.
Where to Stay in Niue
Niue is not just a pitstop. With only two flights a week to the island, not only do you have to stay on the island, but you’re definitely going to want to.
Niue’s accommodation feels a lot more “exclusive” than other South Pacific Islands. You can stay in secluded clifftop cottages, get the local experience by staying in a guesthouse or opt to stay in the island’s one and only resort. There are options for budget travellers, families, as well as couples on a honeymoon. But don’t expect five-star resorts, your “Hiltons” or “Intercontinentals”. Niue is down-to-earth and likes to keep it that way.
5 More Fun Facts About Niue
Finally, here are more fun facts about Niue:
- There are more Niueans living outside of Niue than in Niue
- Niue has no traffic lights
- It’s one of the only places in the world where you can swim with humpback whales
- It’s one of the last places to see the sunset each day
- Niuean is an endangered language.
For more facts along with explanations, see the 10 Fun Facts About Niue.
More on How to Visit One of the Least Visited Countries in the World
That’s it for our guide to one of the world’s least visited countries, but it’s by no means the end of our Niue travel advice! Take a look at the following guides to learn more about the fascinating island of Niue:
- 30 Tips for Travelling in Niue
- The Complete Travel Guide to Niue
- 10 Unique & Unusual Experiences in Niue