One of the world's largest coral islands, Niue is located in the South Pacific, 2,300km north east of New Zealand in a triangle between Tonga, Samoa and The Cook Islands.
Along the coastline of this unspoilt island are steep limestone cliffs dotted with many caves, once occupied by the Niuean people. Just below the waves is a terrace of limestone reef with living coral.
Inland, around a quarter of the island is covered in rain forest
and much of the remainder is given over to farming.
The capital, Alofi, is located to the west and most of the population of Niue live here.
The islanders are keen to develop eco-tourism and not the mass tourism found elsewhere in the Pacific.
When Captain Cook discovered Niue in 1774, he was met with hostility and named it the Savage Island. Nowadays it couldn't be more different. Crime is almost unheard of, the lifestyle is laidback, the people are welcoming, and even the wildlife is friendly with nothing carnivorous or poisonous lurking in the undergrowth.
When to go
Being so close to the equator, the weather on Niue is tropical. Summer, from December to April, is more humid and much wetter than the winter months of April to November.
The temperature in the summer is usually around the mid 80s and in the winter it rarely drops below 70ºF.
How to get there
Due to its remoteness, it is fairly expensive to get there.
Air New Zealand flies once a week to Niue from New Zealand. The dateline is crossed on the trip so although the flight takes about three and a half hours you actually land about 20 hours before you take off!
Where to stay
There is a wide range of different accommodation available on the island, from from private bungalows called fales to guesthouses and motels right up to small resorts. However with the limited number of rooms available overall, early booking is essential.
What to see
Niue is ideal for those who need time to relax as the number of visitors is small and tourism is low key.
There are simple pleasures to be had such as the sound of the ocean in the background while sipping a cocktail or enjoying a trek through the rainforest with no crowds to hold you back. There is no queuing or rush hour on Niue!
Cars, motorbikes or bikes can be hired to explore the island. There are many caves and chasms to find which, although tricky to get to, are well worth the effort.
Every September there is a round island bike race that visitors are welcome to join in.
As the sea beyond the coral reef is extremely deep, whales can be spotted not far from the island, especially during the winter. Dolphins can be seen all year round. There are companies that will take you out to sea to swim with both the whales and the dolphins, obviously at your own risk!
Scuba diving off the reef is exceptional and s norkelling on the reefs to view the coral and the thousands of brightly coloured fish that live amongst them is a wonderful way to pass a day.
Or you could try your hand at game fishing - you are almost guaranteed a catch.
Remember that Niue is a Christian island and islanders are deeply religious. On Sunday, very little is open and there is a limit to what you will be able to do.
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South Pacific (Lonely Planet Travel Guides)
Tione Chinula, Geert Cole, Sally Dilon
Price: £11.21 (34% off list price)
This guide includes coverage of all the Pacific islands. It gives descriptions of canoe voyages taken by Pacific islanders in ancient times, and includes a special illustrated section on Pacific arts and artefacts.
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