There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of Niue, one of the world’s smallest independent nations. Located 2400 kilometres northeast of New Zealand, this remarkable country is the largest raised coral atoll in the world. Between the rugged coastline, powerful waves, stunning lagoons and coral-filled forests, Niue is a dream for the adventurous traveller, even with a baby in tow.
Note: This guide is by no means comprehensive! It is based purely on my own experience. This guide focuses mainly on travel with a baby, and only provides information about the locations we actually visited. There is far more to do in Niue, so be sure to visit the link at the bottom for more information.
When to Go
Aim for May to October when temperatures start to cool down somewhat. Niue is a hot destination either way! Just avoid the cyclone season, which spans from December to March. We went in April, and though we were hoping to avoid the rain by going after the “rainy season”, we got caught in a deluge and only ended up with two days of sunshine. Just our luck!
If you go during the low season (November through June), you may find some discounted rates.
Flights run once a week from New Zealand, so you need to stay a week at a time. Once in Niue, you’ll need to rent a car, especially with a baby. You will be able to find a car seat, but it may not be up to your standards. If that concerns you, bring your own.
Where to Stay/What to Eat
Once you’re on Niue, you are on possibly one of the cheapest of the Polynesian Islands. Still, it isn’t exactly cheap, so be prepared to make a bit of an investment.
We particularly enjoyed the cozy interior, beautiful views, air-conditioning and swimming pool at Matavai Motel. Overall, this was very good value. It was helpful to have a fridge, sink, utensils, cookware and two-burner stove for self-catering. While cooking reduced the costs, food was quite expensive on Niue, and it was hard to find the ingredients we needed at the local grocery store in Alofi. Stock up on meal supplies in New Zealand before you leave, particularly fruits, vegetables, and foods appropriate for the baby. Bring a travel high chair (check out this carrier with a built-in chair harness!).
Restaurant-wise, don’t miss the Wash Away Café at Avatele Beach (open only on Sundays!) – perhaps the only self-serve bar left on the planet! We also enjoyed The Crazy Uga (the fish and chips and cappuccinos were to die for!) and the breakfast buffet at Matavai Resort. All the restaurants are listed here.
What to Do
Be ready for some adventure on Niue! From hiking and diving to snorkelling and whale-watching (during migration season, July to October), you’ll have no problem filling your days in this place. The tricky thing is choosing activities you can do with a baby.
Our favourite outdoor and baby-friendly activities were hiking and swimming/snorkelling. We really enjoyed the hikes to Togo Chasm (we stopped at the top of the ladder and took turns going down), Talava Arches (again, we took our turns while the other held the baby at the mouth of the cave), and Matapa Chasm. Our favourite spots for snorkelling and swimming (we’d swap baby care and snorkelling every 15-20 minutes) were Avatele Beach and Vaila, near Alofi.
All of these activities are totally doable with a baby, but use your common sense when it comes to safety! Be careful if it’s wet as the rocky parts of the trails can be very slippery.
For more ideas, check out 60 Things to Do on Niue. There are a few more baby-friendly things to do on that list!
What to See
In general, you’ve got to hike to what you want to see, or at least walk a little ways through the forest towards the coast, where the majority of the attractions are located. Naturally, you’ll end up on one of the many tracks on the island. Bring along a soft-structured carrier for the baby, and be ready to take turns as parents when required.
Don’t miss Togo Chasm, Matapa Chasm, Talava Arches, Anapala, Limu Pools, Avaiki Cave, Avatele Beach and Vaila. The rugged coastline just below Matavai Motel offers a beautiful reef, crashing waves and spectacular sunsets.
Additionally, there are various island, reef and cultural tours available. You’ll have to decide if you can coordinate those with nap times. We opted not to do the tours so that we could have a bit more control over our schedules.
For more information, visit niueisland.com.