Niue – The Rock of Polynesia
For an unforgettably romantic honeymoon with a difference, say Fakaalofa lahi atu to the natural beauty, serenity, fun, adventure and untouched splendour of Niue…
By Joe Lonie
Photos by Polly Walker
Known affectionately as the ‘Rock of Polynesia’, Niue is quite unlike any of the other islands. Among the largest coral atolls on the planet, it is also one of the world’s smallest countries with a population of just 1600. Niue can offer honeymooners a special kind of peace and tranquillity they won’t find on the beaten track. By exploring Niue’s natural wonders, honeymooners can easily find numerous stunning locations to relax, bask in each other’s affection and feel like the last two souls on earth.
Niue is home to friendly people, great food, luxurious accommodation, warm temperatures, crystal-clear waters and jaw-dropping natural features – all just a short three-and-a-half-hour flight from New Zealand.
where to stay
At the Scenic Matavai Resort you’ll enjoy comfortable rooms, a great restaurant (the fresh fish and spit roast pork are incredible!) and sublime cliff-top views of the sunset and the sea, which is often full of dolphins and whales. The Matavai is a cool place to hang out at night because there is always something happening such as cultural performances, fire dancing, and the chance to hold and pet their ‘Uga’ (huge coconut crabs). The poolside sing-alongs with human jukebox Glen Jackson on BBQ Burger Sundays are a must.
Or, for a more intimate, boutique-style honeymoon experience, there’s the highly exclusive Lau’s Getaway (it pays to book well in advance) – two immaculate, bright-blue, two-storey cliff-top villas with balconies overhanging a lovely spot where the whales are known to sleep. There is also the self-catering Namukulu Cottages and Spa, situated in tranquil tropical surroundings, which comes highly recommended.
what to eat
There is some amazing food on the island and because Niue uses New Zealand currency, it’s easy and affordable for Kiwis to treat themselves to a delicious holiday feast. Kaiika has a delightful laid-back atmosphere and has been rated the 17th best sushi restaurant in the world outside of Japan. They also make incredible New York-style pizza too! If curry is your thing, then Gills, situated under a magnificent Flame tree on the main drag of Alofi, has Indian food so good you’ll swear it was worth the price of the trip alone. For a mix of Niuean and Western cuisine, you could try the buffet at Jenna’s. And for ease, comfort and good eats there’s always the reliably excellent Dolphin Restaurant & Bar at the Scenic Matavai.
things to do
The marine life in Niue is spectacular, in large part due to the unusually steep drop into deep waters from the coral reef that closely surrounds the island. If you’re there between July and September you’ll have a good chance of watching spinner dolphins and humpback whales from the shore, but it’s well worth your while to get closer than that. Niue is one of the only places in the world where you can swim with these beautiful humpback whales. On our trip, the Bride & Groom team were lucky enough to make that happen. It is an unforgettable, life-affirming experience that brings back an intense rush of goosebumps and butterflies just thinking about it. There are only a couple of licensed operators who will take you out and they are easy to track down because everybody knows everybody. It’s a good idea to book early during your stay because weather conditions are a factor and this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you don’t want to miss.
places to go
There is no public transport on Niue so you and your sweetheart will want to rent a car or a bike and go exploring together. Niue is a super-friendly place so it’s customary to wave to everyone you pass, which is a hard habit to break when you get back to NZ! You’ll need to look out for cats and dogs on the roads because they are plentiful on the island. But don’t worry, they are tame, placid and very well looked after by the good people at Rock Vets – a team of Kiwi vets and nurses who travel to Niue once a year to take care of the island’s veterinary needs. Even the stray dogs are so friendly and healthy you will want to take one home!
Every village has a sea track and they are all worth checking out because each one is unique and chances are you will get to have an amazing spot, private beach, or refreshing water hole all to yourselves.
For safe, easy snorkelling and swimming in blue, crystalline waters, the Limu Pools is a wonderful place to spend the day getting up close and personal with the smaller marine life, and if you’re feeling adventurous you can join in with the local kids leaping in off the tall rocks at high tide.
A truly otherworldly place for a romantic picnic is the Palaha Caves, where incredibly ornate rock formations evoke the exquisite feeling of a huge, beautiful seaside cathedral. Another unmissable swimming spot is the dazzling Mataapa Chasm, where back in the day it was only fit for the kings of Niue to bathe in. All of these gorgeous locations are easy and quick to get to off the main road. See a sneak peek in our fashion shoots on pages 60-95.
There is nothing better for a newly married couple than a long, adventurous walk together. There are so many great paths and cycle tracks on Niue, but essentials are the Tavala Arches – the perfect landmark for a few honeymoon selfies; the Anapala Chasm, which takes you deep underground to an immaculately clear fresh-water pool fit for drinking and exhilarating cave swimming if you’re brave enough; and of course, there’s the Togo chasm, which takes you through an awe-inspiring, rocky terrain so unique you’ll feel like you’re on another planet, then it’s down a sturdy 20ft ladder to a peaceful oasis with white sand and tall coconut trees.
places to drink
Niue is hot, so as the sun goes down you’ll want to find somewhere for a refreshing drink and a good view of the gorgeous sunset. There are lots of funky drinking spots up and down the coast. Among them are the Oki Oki Mai clifftop café & bar (nice and close to the Matavai), the Hio Café Restaurant perched above the lovely Hio Beach, The Washaway Café, a delightful ‘honesty bar’ only open on Sundays, and the Vaiolama Café, which has great food and a very fun and picturesque mini golf course imbedded in the coral clifftops. All of these places have extended happy hours on different days that are well worth taking advantage of. There are never more than about 180 tourists on the island at one time, so you’ll be able to socialise with them if you want to, or keep to yourselves if that’s your jam.
getting married in niue
Niue presents the perfect tropical island paradise setting for a wedding with a number of special locations for photographs. The Scenic Matavai offers a variety of wedding packages with options for your ceremony. Get married on a secluded beach or the Matavai’s spacious clifftop deck with stunning sea views and sunsets, followed by a memorable reception in their beautiful new complex.
rock of love
If you want to share a romantic island adventure honeymoon with the love of your life, Niue can give you a truly unique and original experience that the two of you will treasure forever. The only problem with ‘The Rock’ is that you will feel so connected to the place, you won’t want to leave.