The Only Budget Guide to Niue You’ll Ever Need
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 travel guide to Niue on a budget.
Fast Facts About Niue
Location: An island in the South Pacific Ocean, in between Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands. It is approximately 2,400km (1,491 miles) northeast of New Zealand.
Size: 261 km² (101 mi²)
Climate: Daily average temperature – 25°C/77°F, yearly average rainfall – 1,955mm/77″
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
First things first, you’ll need to see if you are currently able to travel to Niue due to restrictions put in place at the borders after the COVID-19 outbreak. Visit Niue Tourism‘s website for the latest travel information.
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
Flights to Niue depart twice weekly from Auckland arriving at Niue’s international airport, Hanan Airport. The flight is approximately three hours. See How to Book a Cheap Flight to Niue for more information.
Cruises to Niue
For a quick visit to Niue, cruises depart from either Auckland (New Zealand), Papeete (Tahiti) or Lautoka (Fiji). Due to the rocky nature of the island, cruise passengers can only disembark at Niue if the weather and the swell are safe enough. Learn more about cruising to Niue in The Guide to Taking a Cruise to Niue, as well as money-saving tips in How to Get a Good Deal on a Cruise to Niue.
Sailing to Niue
Visiting yachts to Niue must stop at Alofi Bay and call Niue Radio on VHF Channel 16 in order to arrange customs clearance. Follow the instructions given. Then radio the Niue Yacht Club on VHF Channel 10 for mooring allocation and advice for mooring. Niue has just 17 moorings available. 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 Everything You Need to Know About Arriving in Niue 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.
The Best Time + The Cheapest Time 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?
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 the dry season with a monthly average of 156-300mm (6.1-11.8″) and there is a small risk of cyclones affecting the country. This season is best for fishing particular species like yellowfin tuna.
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.
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 90-160mm (3.5-6.3″). This season is also best for whale swimming and fishing for particular species like wahoo and mahimahi.
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 having 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:
- Dresses/skirts below the knee to use during village visits or church services
- Light shirts/T-shirts to cover the shoulders to use during village visits or church services
- Sarong (paleu) to cover swimwear after swimming
- Light sleepwear
- Light jacket/cardigan/pashmina for cooler evenings
- Rash vest for sun protection
- Light cotton shirt to cover arms for sun protection
- Light rain jacket
- Walking shoes/sandals
- Reef 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.
What Health Products to Pack
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.
What Currency to Take
The currency of Niue is the New Zealand Dollar. Cash is the most widely accepted payment method with some outlets 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.
Do You Need a Visa for Niue?
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, as explained in Do You Need a Visa to Visit 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 / A Long Weekend in Niue
Over a long weekend, you will have time to do some sightseeing on both coasts of the island, but not much time for activities and tours with many being closed on a Sunday. See our Niue Budget Itinerary: 3 Days / Weekend and How to Plan a Budget Weekend in Niue for suggestions.
5 Days in Niue
From Monday’s flight to Friday’s flight, you can explore both coasts of the island, as well as fit in one or two tours. Check out the Niue Budget Itinerary: 5 Days or How to Plan a 5-Day Budget Trip to Niue for ideas.
7 Days/ One 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 Itinerary: 7 Days / One Week or How to Plan a One-Week Budget Trip to Niue for recommended trip ideas.
14 Days / Two 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 / Two Weeks or How to Plan a Two-Week Budget Trip to Niue for itinerary suggestions.
How to Travel 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
Around 64km (40 miles) 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 Alofi Police Station, costing around NZ$22.50. Find out more about organising car hire in The Guide to Car Hire 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 (and sometimes even free) 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 in Niue.
For more information and transport options, again, see our Niue Transport Guide: 11 Ways to Get Around Niue.
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 / Lodges
An affordable accommodation option in Niue, guesthouses and lodges 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.
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.
Free 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 10 Best Sea Tracks in Niue.
Discover Intriguing Historical Sites
With human settlement on the island since 900AD, 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 Village 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 making fabulous necklaces known as “kahoa hihi”. Watch the women in action at the Niue Council of Women weaving group in Makini Hall, Alofi, which takes place every Wednesday. Those staying at or near the Scenic Matavai Resort can join in on making your own woven coaster in the weaving sessions taking place every Monday, 10am to 12pm.
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.
Dining on a Budget 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 sure-fire 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, Indian curries at Gill’s Restaurant, most Asian meals at the Wok on the Rock and burger and fish and chips at the Tavana Cafe, all in Alofi, are all around NZ$16-$20 per meal. Burgers and nachos are available at the Hio Cafe & Bar in Tuapa are around NZ$22. Burgers and pizzas at the Washaway Cafe (open Sundays only) are around NZ$14-$15. Check out more recommendations in the Top Cheap Eats in Niue.
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-$90
- Guesthouse double ensuite/night – NZ$60-$190
- Budget self-contained studio/night – NZ$120-$150
- Budget family unit or holiday home/night – NZ$160-$200
For more information and the cost of accommodation services, see our guide on What is the Cost of Accommodation in Niue?
The Cost of Food
- Main breakfast meal – NZ$9-$22
- Main lunch meal – NZ$13-$25
- Main dinner meal – NZ$20-$35
- Niuean buffet – NZ$50-$60
- Small coffee – NZ$5-$6
- Bottle of beer – NZ$4-$10
- Glass of wine – NZ$11-$16
- Cocktail – NZ$15-$17
- Soft drink – NZ$4-$5
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$70
- Nature tour – NZ$50-$70
- Plantation tour – NZ$50-$70
- Cave tour – NZ$75
- Spa treatment – NZ$90+
- Mountain bike hire/day – NZ$10-$30
- Museum entry – NZ$10
- Whale/dolphin swimming tour – NZ$170
- Scuba diving/two-tank – NZ$190-$230
- Snorkelling by boat – NZ$90-$100
- Snorkel hire/day – Free-NZ$10
- SUP hire/day – NZ$50
- Private fishing charter/half-day – NZ$500
- Vaka (canoe) tour – NZ$50
For more information and a list of all of Niue’s free activities, see our guide, What is the Cost of Activities in Niue?
The Cost of Transport
- Niue Driver’s License – NZ$22.50
- Motorbike rental/day – NZ$40
- Car rental/day – NZ$55-$75
- Petrol/litre – NZ$2.64+
- Bicycle rental/day – NZ$10
- Taxi/kilometre – NZ$2
- Accommodation/airport transfers – Free
For more information on transport prices, see What is the Cost of Transport in Niue? And again, check out our guide, Niue Travel Budget: How Much Does a Trip to Niue Cost? for more budget tips and costs.
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 for 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 10 Tips for Visiting Niue on a Budget for each of the above tips in more detail. Plus, you might also like 10 Ways to Save Money When Travelling in Niue.