The Guide to the Tide in Niue
Niue is a place where you’ll probably want to spend most of your time in its warm crystal clear waters with tropical fish! However, while the rocky island has some fantastic swimming spots and reef walks, the safety and enjoyment in most of these spots are determined by the tide. With a tidal difference that can range from 1m-1.4m, the tide greatly transforms many areas of Niue. So before you head out on your own snorkelling and reef walking excursions, be sure to check out the tide times in Niue and understand where is safe to swim and when.
For more safety advice, see How to Stay Safe in Niue.
Why is the Tide Important in Niue?
Niue has a number of amazing swimming spots and reef walks, but the enjoyment and safety they provide are determined by the tide. This is particularly true for the sea tracks to swimming spots on the west coast of the island where sea conditions are generally calmer and good for swimming. Tide times for sea tracks on the east coast, on the other hand, don’t matter, as these sea tracks are to enjoy the scenery and lookouts, rather than swimming.
The tide in Niue is also important for indicating optimal fishing conditions. Because you need to have a licence to fish off the coast in Niue (except for at Alofi Wharf), visitors don’t need to worry too much about the tide times for fishing. For fishing, be sure to use one of the licenced fishing charters who will take you to the best fishing spots for the conditions. See The Guide to Fishing in Niue for more information.
When is a Safe Tide to Swim in Niue
The safest tide for swimming and reef walking in Niue is low tide. However, sea conditions and the height of incoming swells vary, so it’s best tome take time to assess the sea conditions before getting into the water. If you have any doubt whether it is safe to swim, it’s best to stay out.
Some of Niue’s swimming spots are known to be better at mid-tide when the low tide swimming conditions are too shallow, such as at Limu Pools.
The only safe swimming spot at all tides, including full tide, is Matapa Chasm.
Sea Tracks and Their Recommended Tide Times
Each of Niue’s swimming spots on the west coast of the island has a best time for swimming and/or reef walking determined by the tide.
Sea Tracks with Recommended Tides
The best tide for Niue’s sea tracks are:
- Avatele Beach – Low to mid outgoing tide
- Tamakautoga Beach (Togulu Sea Track) – Low tide
- Amanau Sea Track – Low to mid-tide
- Utuko Reef – Low to mid incoming tide
- Alofi Wharf – Low to mid incoming tide
- Avaiki Cave – Low tide
- Hio Beach – 30 minutes before low tide and 30 minutes after
- Limu Pools – Half to full incoming tide
- Hikutavake Sea Track – Low tide
- Namukulu Sea Track – Low tide
- Puluhiki Sea Track – Low tide
- Tautu Sea Track – Low tide
For more information on these swimming spots and reef walks, see the 10 Attractions in Niue to See at Low Tide and the Best Attractions in Niue that are Determined by the Tide.
Sea Tracks That Can be Walked at All Tides
Some sea tracks around Niue can be enjoyed at all tides, mainly due to the fact that it doesn’t involve swimming. However, there are a few exceptions, such as the Matapa Chasm, which can be swum at all tides, and Anapala Chasm which has a freshwater pool at the bottom not affected by the tide.
Sea Tracks to Visit at Any Tide
- Matapa Chasm
- Talava Arches – If you want to walk under the arches, it’s best to go at low tide
- Palaha Cave
- Uluvehi Sea Track
- Togo Chasm
Where to Get Tide Times for Niue?
Tide times change daily, so make sure you are aware of the tide times during your visit to Niue. Tide charts can be picked up from the Niue Visitor Information Centre in Alofi. Many accommodations, like the Scenic Matavai Resort, deliver tide charts to guest rooms. Those taking one of the orientation tours, such as Niue Orientation Tours and Explore Niue, will also receive a print-out of the week’s tidal information, as well as more information on what to visit and when.
Alternatively, there are many websites like tides4fishing.com that have current tide tables and the real-time status of the tide. However, you will need to have internet access while in Niue to use it. See What is the Best Way to Get Internet in Niue? for more information.