By Shanny Matterson, Images by Dan Fitzgerald.
When most people think of the ultimate South Pacific diving experiences, they tend to think of the big players: shark feeding in Fiji; exploring the SS Coolidge in Vanuatu; or navigating through Chuuk Lagoon’s WW2 wreckages.
But if you are looking for a location where you will fall in love with diving all over again – and in the clearest water the world has to offer – then we’ve got the place for you.
With pristine waters providing up to 100m visibility all year round, Niue is the little tropical island with some big diving secrets to share with the world.
Touted by some as one of the best diving locations in the world, Niue is the little gem in a chain of Polynesian islands only 2400km north-east of New Zealand. Known as ‘the Rock’ amongst locals, Niue is both the world’s largest raised coral atoll and one of the smallest independent nations, which goes to show that this is one very unique and special part of the planet.
Whether you’re keen to explore stunning coral reefs teeming with tropical fish, want to get up close and personal with curiously playful flat-tail sea snakes, or explore caves and swim-throughs below ocean-side tombs of kings and warriors past, Niue is a buffet of diving destinations. And with so many dive sites to choose from, you’ll never run out of options.
For those who are coming to dive Niue for the first time and want to make the most out of their diving experience, there are three particular sites that have to be seen to be believed.
Don’t let the name freak you out – there’s more to this site than meets the eye.
Snake Gully is a great site for all divers, both new and experienced. Snake Gully is also the perfect spot for underwater photography enthusiasts, with the opportunity to capture perfect shots of exotic marine life against a backdrop of unspoilt and vibrant reef a guarantee.
A popular hangout spot of the endemic katuali (flat-tail sea snake), you will be amazed by the variety of hard corals and tropical fish that call this site their home.
On the edge of Avatele Bay, Tepa Point is where the edge of the island meets the deep-water drop off that leads into the abyss.
As you descend, be prepared to have your mind blown by the staggering sight of the sheer wall of coral garden that runs perpendicular to the rock, plummeting down to 30m.
Every inch of this site is teeming with marine life, like an underwater metropolis. From searching for macro species of nudibranchs, to being mesmerised by massive schools of midnight snapper congregating on the wall, Tepa Point is arguably one of Niue’s most impressive and awe-inspiring dive sites.
And keep a look out into the big blue beyond for passing whales, sharks, rays or pelagic fish as they cruise by. At Tepa Point, you never know who may drop in to say hello.
Hidden beneath the island, you’ll find an ancient cavern that will take your breath away.
Located only 8m underwater, Bubble Cave has an air pocket that allows divers the chance to surface inside the bedrock. Take your regulator out, breath in the trapped air, and marvel at the space that was a film location for the David Attenborough documentary, The Life of Reptiles.
Float in the darkness and gaze up at the stalactites formed over hundreds of years of water dripping from fractures in the cave’s ceiling. Keep an eye out for whitetip sharks taking a snooze under rock ledges.
A site unlike any other in the South Pacific, Bubble Cave will leave you mesmerised and begging for more
Of course, there are so many more dive sites ready to be explored in Niue – the only problem you’ll have is figuring out which to conquer first. But no matter what sites you discover on your visit, you’ll be sure to take home a logbook of memories from some of the best dives of your life. That’s the beauty of Niue.
Book your diving packages through Buccaneer Adventures Niue Dive. Air New Zealand flies directly from Auckland to Niue weekly.