Tamakautoga

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Niue is an island in Oceania located approximately halfway between Tonga and the Cook Islands.

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Points of Interest in Tamakautoga

Niue is dotted with many caves and limestone arches. There are a lot of 'sea tracks' that lead from the road to the coast. Wandering down one and seeing what you find at the end is a lot of fun.

The two attractions in the village of Hikutavake, the Matapa Chasm and Talava Arches, start at the same trail head at the north end of the village. Both trails are signposted.

There is an accessible sea track at the far end of the village green overlooking Hikutavake Bay. The steps will take you down to the reef area and huge pools teeming with tropical fish, snorkeling is great for first timers during low tide however a guide is always recommended.

  • Matapa Chasm, In the village of Hikutavake (Take the trail to the left.). Fabulous swimming and snorkelling area, encased by steep 10 m cliffs that overhang a deep long cool pool full of fish. It's next to the sea, but isolated from its currents by large boulders at the ocean side. The drumming noise from the ocean waves is quite a treat and can be deafening as you near its mouth. Taking a refreshing dip here is rewarding after visiting the Talava Arches
  • Talava Arches (Take the trail to the right.). A massive rock archway noted by Captain Cook in the late 1700s, and surrounded by a network of complex caves. Clearly marked pathway ends in some rock scrambling - take care on the sharp rocks and it can be slippery inside the cave also. Well worth the effort. Allow 30–45 min return and take plenty of water. It's a hot and steamy walk; visit the Matapa Chasm afterwards for a swim

Dolphins and whales can be seen off the coast

  • Huvalu Forest Conservation Area. is a huge pristine tropical rainforest that occupies 20% of Niue's land area! A major source of wildlife and traditional foods, and a major focus of conservation efforts, especially from the adjoining village of Hakupu. Teeming with diverse flora and fauna, though nothing deadly, harmful or poisonous. While the terrain is largely flat it is very uneven and reflects its volcanic origin. Please do not explore alone or you will get lost and there aren't enough people on Niue to come and look for you!
  • Liku Sea Track and Cave, Liku. On Niue's East Coast, this sea track is about 500 m from Liku Village. Access is via large open cave and the view at dawn - as can be seen from the photo - is stunning. Gaze east and reflect that there's hardly two grains of sand between you and Chile!

At low tide, the coastline around here is full of tiny little private 'beaches', little sandy coves varying from 5 to 15 metres long! Lie down and sunbathe, or explore the numerous reef pools. Do be careful to leave well before the tide returns over the outer sea wall, and do take water, sturdy footwear, and some food.

  • Anapala Chasm, Hakupu. Adjacent to Hakupu Heritage Park, a deep sharp descent (there are steps and a chain rail) into the very cool depths reveals a fresh water spring. Traditionally, very important for it gave access to the fresh water source beneath our island's land-mass; remember, Niue has no rivers or lakes.
  • Avaiki Cave, Makefu (7 km north of Alofi). Limestone cave with excellent swimming options after a short walk through. Beautiful swimming option at sunset - peaceful pool is within a large cave that is open to the reef on one side. Good reef walking at low tide here too. Swimming is prohibited on Sunday and during the koloama spawning season

Uluvehi Sea Park, Fupiu Fort, Fisiga Caves, Vaiopeope Caves, Oneone Reef, Tuo Mirrors, Patuoku, Tuo, Vaitafe

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About Tamakautoga

History

Mutalau, in the northern end of Niue was where on 26 October 1846 some of the people decided to accept Pastor Peniamina to introduce and teach the gospel to its people before it spread to the four corners of Niue. The Uluvehi landing is the landing place of Christianity.

Climate

Tropical; modified by southeast trade winds. The average daytime temperature is 27°C from May to October and 30°C from November to April. December to March is the cyclone season

Activities

There are many activities in Niue. All you need to do is venture out. Have a keen and energetic attitude towards everything. Be positive and able to try anything and everything that comes to offer in Niue, so you are able to uncover the interesting facts and interest that Niue can offer.

These are just some of the activities, as the rest you must uncover yourself as there is more to it, with self discovery.

Kayaking, fishing, diving (Niue Dive offers PADI certified dives), golf, cycling, etc. Niue is different to all the other Pacific islands in the sense that there are no beaches. Go spelunking in one of the many caves around the island.

If you're wanting to play a bit of touch, what better way to do it, than versus the locals. About every village has a green and most evenings the residents come out and play a friendly game of touch. So if you feel like mingling and playing a bit of sports, just ask around and you'll surely find a game.

  • Niue Dive, P.O. Box 140, Alofi, Niue,  +683 4311. Go on dives in many of the underwater "cathedrals." Niue has some of the world's best diving. They run two-dive trips for $170 and a four-day open water course is roughly $650. Credit cards are accepted (when the system isn't down) but to be safe, bring enough cash for a dive. An opportunity not to be missed! Note that there is no decompression chamber on Niue, so you'll need to schedule dives so that you're not diving the day before your flight

Snorkelling is an alternative to diving. The Utuko Reef in Alofi and the reef pools at Hio Beach are excellent for beginners. Further north from Hio there's a pair of giant natural pools at Matapa that are best at low tide. Around the island there are places to snorkel outside the reef but should only be attempted by confident swimmers; in any case, seek local advice and check water conditions before venturing off on your own. To be completely safe, go with a partner or take a tour. Niue Dive operates snorkelling trips to sites around the island, including Snake Gully. You can also snorkel and swim with spinner dolphins (April to December) and humpback whales (June to October).

Fishing trips are run by Nu Tours (4hr trips $280) for one or two people. Fish with Fishaway Charters (4 hr trips $250) and you can personally barbecue your catch at the Washaway Cafe. Contact Willy Saniteli for info. Of course it's also possible to fish on your own, but remember that fishing is prohibited on Sundays.

Weaving is a popular traditional pastime on Niue. Most of the older ladies on the island go to a weaving group once a week. If you want to try it, try:

  • Peniamina's Ladies Weaving Group, Makefu. Tuesday, all day. These very friendly ladies love to have visitors and will show you with extreme patience how to weave pandanus. You can take what you make home, or visit the shop next door to buy some traditional Niuean weaving straight from the lady who made it. If you do come here remember to bring some food for everyone to share as when the ladies have lunch they are intent on sharing it with you! Free!.

The Uluvehi landing is the landing place of Christianity on Niue and a very nice spot for relaxation. There is a recreation and eco-tourist building there with a bar and toilet/bathroom facilities. There is also a kitchen there with plans to open for service at certain days and hours to serve visitors to the area. The Mutalau Village Fiafia Night tour is held on Saturday afternoons, depending on bookings. There are also plans to build traditional style accommodation in the area, as the basic services (rest rooms, bar and cooking) are now available in the main recreation/eco-tourist building. You can drive down to Uluvehi from the village green.

Tour scenic sites, swim at Uluvehi, visit caves, bush walks, fishing, making umu, talk to people, sunbathing.

Fishing and other activities are prohibited on Sunday.

Food

Don't expect McDonald's, Burger King, Subway, and KFC...unless you want to fly to New Zealand or Australia to get your fix. Bring a sense of culinary adventure. Local specialities include uga (coconut crab), anything with coconut, and the like. If you love tropical fruit you'll have fun in Niue; passion fruit, cassava, taro, vanilla, kumara, and various other fruits are available but it can be a bit hard finding where to buy them - try the Tuesday or Friday morning market in Alofi, or various roadside stalls. The supermarket has a limited selection.

One suggestion for eating out on Niue is to plan - book ahead, that way the restaurant will know you are coming and will be sure to stay open for you.

All the main eating places are in Alofi and there is a variety of food from fish and chips, to Indian food, paninis, pizza etc.

In the town centre, isTavana's Cafe which offers fish and chips and others.

  • Crazy Uga Cafe, Alofi,  +683 1277. Open early: choose from either the "Big Uga" or "Little Uga" breakfast. Also serves pita wraps, sandwiches, coffee, and fruit smoothies. Iced chocolate is to die for! Good views of the reef and sea. Open on Wednesday nights for dinner.
  • Katuali Coffee House - Peta Hill, Alofi South. They sell sandwiches,pizza, sweet slices etc
  • Gill's Indian Restaurant & Takeaway, Alofi South (Opaahi),  +683 4180. M-F 11:00–21:00, Sa-Su 17:00–21:00. Serves beef, lamb, or chicken curry with rice and roti. Vegetarian and fish options available. Open on Sundays (a rarity on Niue)
  • Jenna's De La Cuisine, Alofi (across from Niue Backpackers),  +683 4316. Tues-Sat 18:30-21:00. The host, Veve, is the nicest! Tuesday night buffet (booking essential)
  • Talo's Restaurant & Buffet, Paliati, Alofi South,  +683 4067 or 4077. Thursday nights special buffet dinner and entertainment; again, bookings essential.
  • Kai Ika, Alofi. This restaurant serves amazing sushi, using fish caught by the owner's fishing company - access to the best fish on the island. The quality is right up there. If sushi is not your thing, they also do good pizza (2 toppings, add extra toppings for $2). Located in South Alofi. Take a look at the heavy wooden red door on your way in - it is the last surviving door from Mt Eden Prison in Auckland.
  • Falala Fa Cafe & Bar, Main road, Alofi South. Popular favourite, serving fish and chips, burgers, paninis etc. Friendly staff. Fully licensed Bar for a variety of cocktails. Mains from $15.

Most visitors to Niue self-cater for most if not all the time. Most shops are closed Sunday and open limited hours on Saturday; therefore it is advisable to stock up on food on Friday.

  • Double M Butchery, Alofi,  +683 4139. M-F 09:00-17:00, Sa 16:00-19:00. Sells fresh meats and cheeses. Excellent selection of spices, vanilla beans, and other food items
  • Makete (market), Alofi. Tu,F 06:00-11:00. Best place to get fresh fruits and vegetables. Coconut porridge for $3 makes a fantastic breakfast. Locally caught uga (coconut crab) are also sold here. Niuean handicrafts like weaving and tie dye are also for sale. Located next to the Visitor's Centre.
  • Garden of Nur Bakery, next to RockET. Sells a good range of breads at low prices. Also has a small selection of pies and basic groceries. Two pool tables are available for use for a few dollars.

Drinks

Coconut water is very refreshing and naturally rehydrates you on a hot and humid day.

For the really adventurous, try Noni juice at the Vaiau Farm. Anything that tastes that bad has to be really good for you!

  • Customs & Bond Store (behind the shopping centre). Visitors can purchase up to three bottles of duty-free wine and spirits within four days of arrival. Bring your boarding pass.
  • Washaway Cafe, Avatele village. Su 11:00-23:00. open on Sunday evenings with a serve-yourself bar and the best focaccia bread on Niue; run by Willy.
  • Clayton's Bar, Alofi South.

Shopping

Few souvenirs are available. Postcards are available at the post office and there are two souvenir shops in Alofi. There is also an art gallery at the Niue Commercial Centre. Niuean weaving is among the finest in the Pacific and make great souvenirs.

There are no ATMs, but now that an agency of New Zealand's Kiwibank has opened, many businesses now accept EFTPOS (with no foreign surcharge for New Zealand issued cards) and an increasing number now accept VISA and MasterCards. You can no longer get a cash advance on a Visa card at Bank South Pacific since it closed on 30 Apr 2013

Even though some places now accept "plastic" the system is often down. If you run out of money you will be stuck. Take the hint, do not show up in Niue without more money than you think you'll need!

Money

Niue uses the New Zealand dollar (NZD) symbolised here, as in New Zealand, with "$".

Costs

Due to the fact that just about everything has to be imported, Niue is a bit more expensive than New Zealand. Tobacco products are much cheaper due to the lack of taxes. Alcohol is more expensive, although not as much so if you buy it at the duty-free shop in the main commercial centre of Alofi.

Once you have bought your food and paid for your rental car and its fuel, there is not much else to spend your money on, though a couple of tours could be worthwhile and most are good value. Exploring the caves, chasms and sea tracks on your own is free. If you bring you own snorkelling gear with you, snorkelling in is free too.

  • Swanson Supermarket (Alofi),  +683 4306. M-F 08:00-18:00, Sa 13:00-18:00. Niue's only real supermarket. Sells a limited range of fruits and vegetables, canned goods, hygiene items, frozen goods, etc. Sells Rockbak Bakery bread fresh on Tuesdays and Fridays.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Niue on Wikivoyage.

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