The Complete Guide to Niue on a Budget
Don’t worry, Niue is not pretentious. It might be the largest uplifted coral atoll in the world, but it provides a down-to-earth travel experience. Saving money is made easy thanks to the array of affordable self-catering accommodations available, not to mention the endless free attractions to see around the country. Interacting with cultural activities, watching wildlife from shore or through a snorkel mask, or simply stargazing in one of the world’s darkest skies is an effortless and affordable way to enjoy this piece of paradise.
Let us elaborate further with this complete backpacking and budget travel guide to Niue!
An Intro to Niue
Location: Niue is an island in the South Pacific Ocean, between Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands. It is approximately 2,400 km (1,491 mi) northeast of New Zealand. Find out more in Where is Niue Located?
Size: Niue’s area is 261 km² (101 mi²).
Climate: Daily average temperature – 25°C/77°F, yearly average rainfall – 1,95 5mm/77 in.
Find out more in What is the Weather Like in Niue?
Time zone: UTC/GMT -11
Find out more in What is the Niue Time Zone?
Find out more in Who are the People of Niue?
Languages: Niuean and English
Find out more in What is the Niue Language?
How to Get to Niue
Since most of us don’t have our own yacht nor want the expenses of a cruise, flying to Niue tends to be the best option for budget travellers, so we’ll start there.
Flights to Niue
Direct flights between Auckland, New Zealand and Niue happen on a limited weekly schedule, with Auckland Airport having hundreds of connecting flights. The flight between Auckland and Niue takes approximately 210 minutes (3 hrs 30 mins). An important thing to note is that New Zealand and Niue have a 24-hour time difference, so when you depart Auckland on a Tuesday morning, you arrive in Niue on a Monday afternoon, for example. See How to Book a Cheap Flight to Niue for tips on getting the best flight deals.
Flights arrive at Niue at Hanan International Airport, approximately a five-minute drive from Alofi. Find out more about the airport in Which Airport to Fly to in Niue. Note that the departure process for Hanan Airport is a little unusual in that you can’t go through airport security until at least an hour after you have checked in. See Leaving Niue: The Niue Airport Departure Process for more details.
Cruises to Niue
Niue is on the itinerary of a limited number of South Pacific cruises from New Zealand, Australia and the US. Due to the rocky nature of the island, cruise passengers can only disembark at Niue if the weather and the swell are safe enough. Often visits to Niue are cancelled in bad weather. Learn more about cruising to Niue in Which Cruises Visit Niue?, as well as money-saving tips in How to Get a Good Deal on a Cruise to Niue.
Sailing to Niue
Niue has a small number of moorings available, which are recommended to be booked prior to arrival to ensure a smooth clearance process. The Niue Yacht Club provides facilities. Learn more about sailing to Niue in The Guide to Sailing to Niue.
A Note on Customs Declarations
Niue has strict biosecurity measures at the border to stop unwanted pests and diseases from entering the country. Therefore, anyone arriving in Niue has to declare any “risk items” they have packed in their luggage – even common items like food and sports gear. Be sure to read up on Arriving in Niue: Airport Customs, Biosecurity & Arrival Process so you are prepared.
Check out our complete guide on How to Get to Niue for even more tips on making your way to the island.
When to Visit Niue
Niue is a tropical island with warm temperatures experienced throughout the year. It has only two distinct seasons, the hot and humid wet season and the drier and cooler dry season. Learn more in What is the Weather Like in Niue?
Dry Season (May to October)
The dry season, also called winter, is a drier and cooler season with temperatures typically around 21-27°C (70-81°F). The average monthly rainfall is 90-160 mm (3.5-6.3 in). This season is also best for whale swimming, Village Show Days and fishing for particular species like wahoo and mahimahi.
Wet Season (November to April)
The wet season, also known as summer, is Niue’s most hot and humid season with temperatures typically 22-29°C (72-84°F). Rain tends to be more frequent than in the dry season with a monthly average of 156-300 mm (6.1-11.8 in) and there is a small risk of cyclones affecting the country. This season is best for fishing particular species like yellowfin tuna.
The Cheapest Time to Visit Niue
It’s also worth noting that the wet season is the low season for tourism meaning it’s the time when you’re most likely to get a good deal on flights, accommodation, etc. In short, it’s the cheapest time to visit Niue! See more perks of travelling during this time in the 10 Reasons to Travel in the Low Season in Niue.
So when is the best time to travel to Niue? Check out our complete guide, The Best Time to Visit Niue, which dives deeper into the subject.
What to Pack for Niue
The main thing you need to keep in mind when packing for Niue is to have a tropical wardrobe that includes some more modest items of clothing for exploring Niues’s villages. A packing list for Niue might look a little something like this:
- 4 Singlets/T-Shirts
- 2 Light blouses/shirts to cover the shoulders for church and sun protection
- 2 Shorts/skirts which are not too short so you can enjoy wearing them at both your resort and when out exploring
- 1 Light evening dress to impress at dinner
- 1 Dress/skirt below the knee for church, spending time in villages, etc. We recommend light fabrics such as the sustainable bamboo dresses and skirts by Moso Morrow
- 1 Sarong (paleu) will be your best friend for hitting the swimming holes and covering your swimwear in between. You can bring your own or there are plenty for sale once you arrive in Niue
- 1 Light rain jacket/small umbrella (some accommodations like Scenic Matavai Resort and Taoke Fales have umbrellas to borrow)
- 1 or 2 Light sleepwear if you’re against sleeping in your undies
- 1 Light Cardigan/pashmina/poncho for cooler evenings
- 1 Sports shorts/leggings for active activities
- 1 Sports T-shirt/singlet for active activities
- 1 Outfit to travel between Niue and home
- 3 Bras including strapless, sports and comfort
- 6 Underwear
- 4 Socks
- 1 Bikini
- 1 One-piece for watersports
- 2 Boardshorts for guys
- Mask and snorkel
- Rash vest
- Walking shoes/sneakers
- Reef shoes/water shoes.
And that’s just the clothes! For a full packing list of everything to take, including accessories and toiletries, check out The Complete Packing List for Niue.
Tap water is Ok to drink at certain accommodations on the island, but not everywhere. The island also experiences high UV levels and mosquitos, so packing products for your health is recommended. Natural sunscreens and mosquito repellents are advised to protect you and Niue’s fragile ecosystem. Instead of buying bottled water, use reusable purification bottles for obvious environmental reasons. See our health essentials packing list in What Medication to Pack in Your First Aid Kit for Niue, as well as tips for protecting the health of the environment in the 26 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Niue.
The currency of Niue is the New Zealand Dollar. Cash is the most widely accepted payment method with many outlets also accepting MasterCard, Visa and New Zealand debit cards. There is no ATM on the island, but you can take money out at selected outlets. See What is the Best Way to Pay in Niue? for more information.
Travel Documents and Paperwork
To enter Niue, you need a passport that is valid for up to three months after your arrival date. A free Visitor Permit is granted upon entry if you are from a visa-waiver country. Otherwise, an Entry Permit is required. There may be other current entry requirements, which we keep up to date in What Documents Do I Need to Travel to Niue?
How Long to Spend in Niue
Niue might make for an idyllic tropical getaway to simply relax for a few days – and that’s fine; we all need to R&R from time to time. Most budget travellers, however, are here to explore one of the most unique islands in the South Pacific along with its natural attractions and marine experiences. With that in mind, here’s what you can achieve in certain timeframes…
4 Days in Niue
The shortest time period between Niue’s two flights a week, four days gives you time to do some sightseeing on both coasts of the island, as well as one tour. See our Niue Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 4 Days for suggestions.
5 Days in Niue
From Friday’s flight to Tuesday’s flight, you can explore both coasts of the island, as well as fit in one or two tours. Check out the Niue Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 5 Days for ideas.
7 Days / 1 Week in Niue
One week in Niue gives you time to visit all of the major highlights along the coast, as well as do some of your bucket list activities. See the Niue Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 7 Days for recommended trip ideas.
14 Days / 2 Weeks in Niue
This amount of time in Niue allows you to enjoy all of Niue’s coastal attractions, fit in the activities and tours you’ve dreamed of, as well as time to relax. See Niue Budget Itinerary: 14 Days for itinerary suggestions.
How Long Can You Stay in Niue?
Visitors to Niue can stay up to one month (30 days)! Visitor extensions are available, however, which you can learn more about in our guide, How Long Can You Stay in Niue on a Visitor Visa?
How to Get Around Niue
Niue is very much a destination where the best attractions are reached independently, i.e. you’ll need to hire a car or bike to get to them. See all of your options for travelling around the island in our Niue Transport Guide: 11 Ways to Get Around Niue.
Car Rental in Niue + Prices
Around 64 km (40 mi) of road circles the island of Niue, where amazing attractions can be discovered along the way. With no public transport, renting a car is just about the only want to get around the island. Economy car rentals are offered by most car rental companies in Niue, costing around NZ$50-$70 a day. You will also need to purchase a Niue Driver’s License from the Police Station, costing around NZ$22.50. Find out more about organising car hire in What You Need to Hire a Car in Niue, as well as money-saving advice in the 10 Ways to Save Money on Car Rental in Niue.
Bike and E-Bike Hire in Niue – The Cheapest Way to Get Around Niue
If you’re active and are looking for an adventurous way to explore the island, then hiring a mountain bike is a cheap way to get around. Bike and e-bike hire is available from some car rental companies, tourism operators and accommodations, as outlined in Where to Rent Bikes in Niue. Get more advice in The Guide to Mountain Biking & Cycling in Niue.
Hitchhiking is legal in Niue. However, it is one of the least reliable forms of transport due to the country’s low traffic. Nevertheless, it’s quite the adventure if you can make it work! Learn more about hitchhiking in A Travellers’ Guide to Hitchhiking in Niue.
For more information and transport options, again, see our Niue Transport Guide: 11 Ways to Get Around Niue.
Where to Stay: Cheap Accommodation in Niue
Niue keeps its accommodation options small and intimate. Those on a budget will want to set their sights on Niue’s holiday homes and guesthouses.
Guesthouses + Prices
An affordable accommodation option in Niue, guesthouses are typically one large home renovated into a B&B-style accommodation. Expect private guest rooms, some with ensuites, as well as shared facilities, such as a kitchen, lounge and bathroom. See what else to expect in How to Pick the Right Guesthouse in Niue for You and check out our top picks in the 10 Best Guesthouses in Niue. Rates for guesthouse rooms are typically NZ$50-$70 per solo/couple per night.
Holiday Homes + Prices
Niue has plenty of holiday homes allowing you to experience your own quiet corner of the island. Holiday homes range from one bedroom to four/five bedrooms so there’s a private place to stay for most group sizes. Find out more in How to Pick the Best Holiday Home in Niue for You, while the top options are listed in the 10 Best Holiday Homes in Niue. Two-bedroom holiday homes are typically NZ$200-$340 per night.
Free and Cheap Activities in Niue
One of the amazing things about Niue is that most of the activities travellers come to do are, in fact, free. It doesn’t cost a dime to explore the sea tracks leading to amazing snorkelling spots and landscapes. At the historical sites around Niue, the information signs are your tour guide teaching you more about the island as you explore. There are even free cultural experiences to delve into, from weaving demonstrations to browsing the local market. We go through plenty of options in the 10 Free & Cheap Things To Do in Niue.
Walk, Snorkel and Swim from Niue’s Sea Tracks
You could spend an entire holiday exploring all the sea tracks around Niue, discovering all kinds of hidden gems like chasms, caves, forests and beaches. For these, your only expense would be the cost of transport. Down many of the Niue sea tracks, especially on the west coast, there are awesome little swimming holes in sheltered lagoons teeming with tropical fish. Sometimes, it’s just the amazing landscapes that make the sea track worth the trek, such as the rugged pinnacle-dappled coast of Togo Chasm or the dramatic coastal arch and caves of the Talava Arches. Honestly, we could be here all day listing them, so if you’re interested, be sure to head over to the 20 Best Sea Tracks in Niue.
Discover Intriguing Historical Sites
With human settlement on the island since 900 AD, Niue has a number of interesting historical sites worth a quick visit (for free!) For instance, Tomb Point in Alofi is where you can see the tombs of two kings and learn more about Niue’s World Wars involvement. The Laufoli Umu Pit on the east side of the island is an ancient site with an interesting legend behind it. Opaahi is where Captain Cook attempted to land in Alofi in 1774. Taue I Fupiu in Mutalau is a traditional fortress where Peniamina, who brought Christianity to Niue, was protected by warriors, and so on! Check out 10 Fascinating Historical Sites in Niue for more!
Take Part in Some Cultural Handicrafts
Niuean women are renowned for their weaving skills and for making fabulous necklaces known as “kahoa hihi”. Watch the women in action at the Niue Council of Women weaving group in Makini Hall or Aliutu Hall, Alofi, which takes place once a week. It’s free to watch the women in action or make a donation to learn how to weave something small like your own coaster.
There’s a lot more going on in Niue, so check out our 101 Things to Do in Niue: The Ultimate List for more inspiration.
Food in Niue
Niue has such a small selection of restaurants that, if you were to eat out every day, you would have visited them all by the end of your holiday! However, as every budget traveller knows, eating out for every meal is a surefire way to blow your budget. It’s a good idea to mix in a few cheap eats with some self-catering.
Self-Catering in Niue
Most of Niue’s accommodations have some sort of self-catering facilities, especially in the main town of Alofi. Groceries can be purchased from the Swanson Supermarket at the shopping complex near the airport, while smaller grocery stores are available in Alofi. Everyday items are a little more expensive than what’s found in New Zealand and Australia, as outlined in The Guide to Food Shopping in Niue.
Cheap Eats in Niue
Niue’s restaurants aren’t exactly “dirt cheap” but you can find some reasonably priced meals around the island. For instance, Crow’s Nest and Buk Buk Chicken serve up deep-fried delights for a reasonable price. You can pick up fresh wraps at Cafe Tavana or Little Rock for lunch. Or how about a fresh or cooked sushi plate as Kaiika‘s $10 lunch special? Burgers and pizzas at the Washaway Cafe (open Sundays only) are also less than NZ$20. Check out more recommendations in The Top Cheap Eats in Niue.
With tropical vegetables and coconut cream being staple ingredients in Niue, vegans and gluten-intolerant diners are usually easy to cater for at the Niue Market and Niuean buffets but you will struggle to find “creative” options on most menus. Self-catering is advised for most travellers with special diets or providing restaurants with your own staple ingredients is another option. Check out Niue for Vegans & Vegetarians + The Best Restaurants, as well as The Gluten-Free Guide to Niue for more advice.
What Food to Try
And what are the foods worth trying in Niue? With homegrown food products, from aromatic organic Niue vanilla to honey produced from some of the world’s cleanest bees, and traditional dishes, such as uga and takihi, trying the local staples is one of the best things about visiting Niue. Niuean food is best sampled at arranged umu/Niuean buffet nights, as well as occasionally at the Niue Market and Village Show Days. Find out more about what local dishes to try in the 810 Unique Foods in Niue You Have to Try.
Food and Water Safety
Tourist accommodations in Niue typically have access to safe drinking water, whether it’s tap water with a UV-filtration system or bottled water in your fridge. See Is the Water Safe to Drink in Niue? for more advice. Food in Niue is generally cooked to safe hygiene standards, but check out Niue Safety Tips for precautions to take.
For more food inspiration, from Niuean meals to try to food tours, check out The Guide to Food in Niue.
Typical Costs and Travel Budget: Is Niue Expensive?
We all travel very differently. Therefore, making a precise budget for everyone travelling to Niue is, quite frankly, an impossible task. Nevertheless, you can work out your own needs, thus budget, by simply looking at the typical prices listed below or in our article, Niue Travel Budget: How Much Does a Trip to Niue Cost?
The Cost of Accommodation
- Guesthouse double room/night – NZ$50
- Guesthouse double ensuite/night – NZ$60-$70
- Budget self-contained studio/night – NZ$70-$160
- Mid-range self-contained studio/night – NZ$170-$215
- Premium self-contained studio/night – NZ$250-$520
- Two-bedroom family unit or holiday home/night – NZ$200-$340
- Resort room/night – NZ$220-$440
- Resort room interconnecting/night – NZ$630-$730
- Premium family holiday home/night – NZ$300-$550.
The Cost of Food
- Main breakfast meal – NZ$9-$28
- Main lunch meal – NZ$10-$28
- Main dinner meal – NZ$20-$43
- Niuean buffet – NZ$65-$80/adult, NZ$30-$45/12-15 child, NZ$20-$45/3-6 child
- Small coffee – NZ$4.50-$5
- Can of beer – NZ$4-$6
- Bottle of beer – NZ$8-$10
- Glass of wine – NZ$7-$12
- Bottle of wine – NZ$25-$46
- Cocktail – NZ$14-$18
- Smoothie – NZ$10
- Soft drink – NZ$4-$6
- Drinking coconut – NZ$4-$7.
Grocery prices for self-catering can be found in What is the Cost of Food in Niue?
The Cost of Activities
- Guided orientation tour – NZ$70
- Uga hunting tour – NZ$90
- Plantation/rainforest tour – NZ$65-$120
- Garden tour – NZ$40
- Spa treatment – NZ$90+
- Mountain bike hire/day – NZ$20
- Museum entry – NZ$10
- Golf green fee + club hire – NZ$80
- Whale watching/swimming tour – NZ$260-$285
- Scuba diving/two-tank – NZ$295+
- Snorkelling tour – NZ$130
- Snorkel hire/day – NZ$0-$10
- Private fishing charter/half-day – NZ$450-$600.
And there are plenty of activities to do for free, as listed in the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Niue.
The Cost of Transport
- Niue Driver’s License – NZ$22.50
- Motorbike rental/day – NZ$45-$50
- Car rental/day – NZ$50-$125
- Petrol/litre – NZ$3.50+
- Diesel/litre – NZ$3.70+
- Bicycle rental/day – NZ$20
- E-bike rental/day – NZ$50
- Accommodation/airport transfers – Free.
And again, check out another aspect of our travel guide to Niue, Niue Travel Budget: How Much Does a Trip to Niue Cost? for more budget tips and costs.
Spending Money for Niue
Here are a few averages for a daily budget for Niue. These include food, activities, transport and miscellaneous expenses. Each price is per person per day:
- Budget daily budget: NZ$165
- Mid-range daily budget: NZ$295
- Luxury daily budget: NZ$430+
We break down the budgets further in How Much Spending Money Do You Need for Niue?
Final Tips for Visiting Niue on a Budget
Before we leave you to experience Niue for yourself, here’s a wrap-up of all of our tips for visiting Niue on a budget:
- Stay in Alofi, the main town of Niue, to save money on just about everything
- Travel in the low season
- Consider renting a car only when you need it
- Or rent a bike for cheaper daily rental rates
- Pay with cash to avoid card fees
- Cook for yourself by staying in self-catering accommodation…
- … But treat yourself to some cheap eats
- Stay in a guesthouse or a motel – the cheapest types of accommodation in Niue
- Compare accommodation inclusions before booking
- Make the most of the free and cheap activities in Niue.
And that’s it for our complete travel guide to Niue on a budget. Check out the 15 Tips to Save Money in Niue for each of the above tips in more detail.
Happy travels and thanks for checking out this budget and backpacking guide to Niue!