What are the Best Ways to See Wildlife in Niue?
If the island of Niue is on your bucket list then no doubt you have a fondness for nature. While Niue might be more famous for its land formations, there’s a surprising array of wildlife interactions to be had both above and below the ocean’s surface. Niue is home to intriguing wildlife, from colourful coconut crabs to vocal fruit bats. Its waters are teeming with life, from the tiniest coral to the largest marine mammals. Find out how you can experience the wildlife of Niue in this guide on where to see wildlife in Niue.
Places to See Wildlife in Niue
- Matapa Chasm Sea Track – Great place to see skinks in the forest and fish, crabs and more by the water
- Talava Arches Sea Track – See skinks and forest crabs on the sea track and fish and coral at the arches
- Huvalu Forest Conservation Area – Keep a keen eye out for birds like the Crimson-Crowned Fruit Dove, Polynesian Triller and Polynesian Starling
- Tomb Point – This lookout in Alofi is a good place to spot whales and dolphins from the shore
- Whale Cave – Snorkelling and scuba diving tours can take you here to see an array of coral and fish.
Snorkelling and Scuba Diving
Most of Niue’s wildlife population is in its surrounding waters, home to around 189 species of coral and 250 species of fish. Needless to say, the best way to observe this wildlife is in the water with them, whether’s it’s checking out coastal or reef life through snorkelling or getting a little deeper in scuba diving.
Snorkelling in Niue
The great thing about Niue is that its snorkelling hotspots are accessible from shore. Just hire a car or a bike and hit the 10 Best Places to Snorkel in Niue at the safest tide for each spot, as explained in the listicle. There are also snorkelling boat tours to take you to some of Niue’s most pristine spots that you can’t access from land. See The Best Guided Snorkelling Tours in Niue for more information on those.
Scuba Diving in Niue
Scuba diving allows you to get deeper and closer to Niue’s marine life, whether they are at an outer reef or hidden in underwater caves. There are dives in Niue to suit all abilities, from first-time divers to experts looking for their next adventures. See The Guide to Scuba Diving in Niue for more information.
Whale and Dolphin Tours
Interacting with some of the ocean’s largest marine mammals takes a more specialised approach. Niue is one of the very few places in the world where you can swim with humpback whales, which frequent Niue’s waters between July and September. What’s more, you can enjoy interactions with the resident pods of dolphins with unique spinner dolphin swimming tours.
Swimming with Whales
During the whale season, licensed operators as stated in the 5 Best Whale Tours in Niue can get you closer than ever to humpback whales to see them in their element. While interactions are not guaranteed, knowing that operators have to follow strict guidelines, when you’re lucky enough to see these curious creatures in the water, the experience is humbling and unforgettable. Check out The Guide to Swimming with Whales in Niue for more information.
Swimming with Dolphins
Spinner dolphins like to keep moving, so Niue’s dive operators have found a unique way to watch these fast-moving mammals underwater. Swimmers will hold onto roped handles alongside the boat and be gently pulled along with the dolphins. While there are dedicated dolphin swimming tours, this experience is a common occurrence on whale swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving tours if dolphins show interest in the boat. Learn more in The Guide to Swimming with Dolphins in Niue.
Watching Whales and Dolphins from Shore
Another way to enjoy Niue’s amazing marine mammals is to simply watch them from shore. Niue is a large raised coral atoll with 30m (100ft) cliffs ideal for spotting whales and dolphins as they swim across the ocean’s surface. There are whale lookouts along the west coast of the island, as well as accommodations with their lookout decks. See the 10 Amazing Lookouts for Watching Whales in Niue for good places to watch whales and dolphins.
For seeing some of Niue’s wildlife on land, nature tours often provide the closest interactions. Niueans have a close relationship with nature, especially when it comes to the prized coconut crab locally known as uga. There are many opportunities to learn about uga and even hold one. Other land wildlife interactions include with Niue’s only native land mammal, the Pacific flying fox.
Where to See a Uga in Niue
Uga are revered in Niue, not only for eating and observing but for tourism and showcasing at village show days. Nature tours allow visitors to learn more about this native coconut crab, as well as even hold one. As nocturnal creatures, they can even be seen crossing the road at night. Check out 5 Ways See Uga (Coconut Crabs) in Niue for more inspiration.
Where to See Flying Foxes in Niue
Some nature tours, like Misa’s Nature Tour, also allow you to get closer than ever to Pacific flying foxes. These large fruit bats will cling onto just about anything, including your fingers and clothes, as Misa will show you.
Learn more about Niue’s nature tours in the 7 Best Nature Tours in Niue.
Huvalu Forest Conservation Area
Around 20% of Niue is a protected ancient forest known as the Huvalu Forest Conservation Area. This is where you stand a better chance at seeing uga, flying foxes and some of Niue’s birds as you wander through the forest on the various walking and biking trails. However, with much of Niue’s birdlife and flying foxes living high in the forest canopy, seeing them requires a lot of luck and keen observation.
You can experience the stunning forest of the Huvalu Forest Conservation Area on walking trails such as the Togo Chasm Sea Track, as well as bikes trails like the Vinivini Bike Trail.
Learn more in How to Experience the Huvalu Forest Conservation Area.