NIUE OFFERS MORE THAN DIVING

A cathedral-like cavern. Image: Andy Belcher.

By Lee Czerniak.

When searching for a dive destination we are all looking at what diving we will be able to enjoy, but some dive destinations can offer so much more.

One of the most frequent comments about Niue is that the water is crystal clear, unlike anywhere else in the world. I have to admit that I was a little sceptical about this as I had dived in some gin-like waters before. But to experience up to 100 metres of clear water all mixed with a wide variety of marine life; this was a dive destination that blew my mind. Plus, the underwater caves and archways added to the experience as well as giving the photographer an opportunity to use the water clarity, combined with some great lighting effects, to create some amazing images.

Sometimes it’s not always about just diving. To my delight, I soon discovered that exploring this little island and some of the magnificent caves and chasms all add to the appeal of this island getaway.

The coastline and inland have hundreds of caves and chasms above water you can explore. Many of these are still being formed with stalagmites and stalactites. These can be self-explored but I used a guide who talked about the history and the legends that are all part of what makes this a unique island. Also, these guided tours take you to the slightly more challenging treks and can be a little harder to find on your own.

I took the tour to Toga Chasm. As you leave the bush, the track takes you through these massive coral pinnacles and it’s like something from another planet. You end up on this lookout and there it is – the edge of the chasm. Don’t be afraid of heights – to enter this chasm, you have to climb down a very steep ladder. The floor is lovely white sand and there are coconut palms. It’s like an inland beach. When packing, remember to take good walking shoes so you can experience a little more than diving. This cave exploring is fascinating.

According to some cave experts, the cave system that Niue has is the most spectacular and extensive in the South Pacific. For those non-diving days and for something a little different, look at taking the time to do a bit of cave exploring. Five days there was not long enough, it’s time to go back.