What You Need to Know About Sailing to Niue
Niue is a rewarding sailing destination on the Transpacific journey for yachties, an island like nowhere else in the South Pacific. It’s the world’s largest raised coral atoll which means that while there’s no outer reef to negotiate, anchoring up at this island which drops deeply into the depths below is pretty tricky. We’ll guide you through where to sail to, the customs process, the facilities, as well as the restrictions in this guide to sailing in Niue.
5 Quick Sailing Tips for Niue
- Niue’s coastline is unforgiving, follow the instructions carefully that Niue Customs and the Niue Yacht Club give you for anchoring and mooring
- If you have a radar, use it to check your distance – depth sounders don’t always give an accurate or quick enough warning of the coast
- It’s recommended to book your mooring prior to arrival
- Complete your clearance forms before arriving in Niue for a smoother process
- Note that there are no fishing, diving or boating activities allowed in Niue on a Sunday (apart from tenders to the wharf).
For more tips like these, see the 10 Things to Know Before Arriving in Niue on a Yacht.
Where to Sail in Niue
Niue is unlike other South Pacific islands in that it is just one island and it doesn’t have an outer reef – just a short reef connecting to the island which suddenly drops into the deep ocean. Therefore, you won’t find yourself sailing from island to island in Niue, but simply anchoring where it is suitable to do so in Alofi. Regardless, there is one extra location in Niue’s waters that you might want to visit…
A great place to stop on your way to or from Niue, Beveridge Reef is a spectacular reef that’s an important habitat for grey reef sharks and three species of turtle. The reef is covered at high tide, but at low tide, you might be able to make out the sand dunes protruding out of the ocean.
Beveridge Reef is approximately 120 NM to the southeast of Niue at 20º00S 167º47’W. Be aware, yachts have been stranded on the reef, even when using some GPS navigational systems, so take all precautionary measures.
Due to Niue’s unforgivable coastline, there are only 15 moorings available on the island, all in Alofi Bay which has been set up by the Niue Yacht Club. Niue is an island where you’ll want to anchor up and explore the rest of the island by car or part of the island by bike. Check out our Niue Transport Guide for ways to get around. Plus, see the 30 Tips for Travelling in Niue as a good place to start planning your visit to the island.
Clearing Customs in Niue
Due to the lack of lights produced by the island, it’s advised that you arrive in Niue during the day. Pick up the mooring that you have booked and arrived at (see below about booking a mooring) and radio the Niue Radio Channel 16 with your vessel details and mooring number. You’ll then be given further instructions for the Customs process.
Check-in Times for Customs, Immigration and Quarantine
Customs clearance is available from 9 am to 11 am Monday and from 9 am to 10 am and 2 pm to 3 pm Tuesday to Friday. Special arrangements may be able to be made over the weekend. Niue Customs will instruct you on a time to arrive at Alofi Wharf for clearance.
On arrival in Niue, you must have the following forms ready for inspection:
You can complete these once in Niue or download the forms from the Niue Yacht Club page on the Niue Tourism website and complete them before arrival to speed up the process.
For visiting Niue, visas are not required for most people. You will gain a 30-day visitor permit on arrival. Some nationals may have to apply for an Entry Permit before arriving in Niue, as explained in Do You Need a Visa to Visit Niue?
Note that there is a departure tax of NZ$150 for visitors aged 12 and over, which is payable to the Niue Customs office. Learn more about the tax in Niue Tipping & Tax Guide for Travellers.
Niue has a few quarantine restrictions and prohibitions, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, eggs, honey or animal products. Much of this is covered in the Notice to Mariners. See the full list of declarable items in What to Declare When Arriving in Niue. Note that pets are not allowed on shore.
Mooring in Niue
There are 15 moorings in Niue overseen by the Niue Yacht Club, which can be booked through the Niue Yacht Club page of the Niue Tourism website. They are approximately NZ$30 to use each night of stay which can be paid to the Niue Visitor Information Centre upon arrival or via debit/credit card upon booking.
Niue Yacht Club Facilities
There are facilities at Alofi Wharf maintained by the Niue Yacht Club, including toilets, solar-heated showers and freshwater refills. There is also a laundry tub and rubbish bins. A key to these facilities is available from the Niue Tourism Visitor Information Centre, less than 200 m (220 yards) south of Alofi Wharf.
Useful Articles About Niue
For working out the logistics of arriving in Niue by yacht, including currency, payments, services in Niue, internet availability, refuelling etc. take a look at Niue Pocket Guide’s Travel Tips section which goes into detail.
Restrictions for Sailing in Niue
There are a few restrictions to be aware of when sailing in Niue, from whale interactions to where you can anchor. These restrictions also apply at Beveridge Reef. Here are just a few to be aware of.
Whale Watching Restrictions
Humpback whales frequent Niue’s waters between June and September. Only licensed operators can approach whales, otherwise, you must stay at least 200 m (656 ft) away from whales. It is also prohibited to use jet skis, yacht tenders, kayaks, paddleboards, etc. for whale watching.
Anchoring is restricted to a few select places around Alofi to avoid damaging coral. It’s best to organise anchoring with the Niue Yacht Club who can give you advice.
Note that diving, boating or fishing is allowed on Sundays with the exception of tender runs between yachts and the wharf.
There are a few restrictions to be aware of when it comes to diving from your yacht, which includes the following:
- No anchoring of yacht tenders on the reef
- Ask for permission from Niue’s dive operators to use their sites, available on VHF Channel 14 or called when onshore
- No more than two yacht tenders on any dive mooring at one time
- No yacht tenders can join a dive boat if using dive site mooring
- Spearfishing is prohibited unless with a licensed operator
- There is a no-touch or take policy for diving in Niue.
Cultural protocols to follow while visiting Niue are featured in our guide to the Niuean Etiquette: Niue Customs & Traditions, while more protocols specifically for yachties are outlined on NYC’s Dos and Don’ts Page.
More About Sailing in Niue
That’s it for our guide to sailing in Niue for yachties. For more advice on sailing to “The Rock”, take a look at the following guides:
- How Long Does it Take to Sail to Niue?
- 5 Things to Know Before Arriving in Niue on a Yacht
- The Guide to Fishing in Niue