Wednesday 31 July 2013

The best place we'd never heard of! - Part One

It's going to be a bit wordy this one and of many parts too I think but I hope to make it interesting. However no matter how eloquent, few words and certainly not mine, could do this place justice.

So you've never heard of Niue? (pronounced Nu-way). Most people haven't and neither had we, up until a year ago when Hubster stumbled across it in a travel brochure.

Known as the "Rock of Polynesia" Niue is the largest uplifted coral landmass in the world and a very well kept secret too some 2,400km east of New Zealand. It is practically untouched by tourism unlike it's sister islands of Tonga, Fiji, Samoa and the Cook Islands. That said it is by far the largest of any of them making it's anonymity all the more remarkable.

I think that is the thing really, Niue has remained untouched by anything other than what it is naturally for thousands and thousands of years.

Niue offers so much but it is the things it doesn't have that make it so wonderfully attractive to a Wi-Fi weary, facebook, fatigued world.

Lured by the prospect of swimming with humpback whales and snorkelling with the acrobatically gifted Spinner Dolphins, our spirit of adventure led us to book our seats on that one and only flight a week into the island. (Niue is only one of 3 places in the world where you can get in the water with the "humpies")

We left Auckland on Saturday morning and we arrived 3 hours later on Friday lunch time  - how cool! I had never crossed the dateline the other way round before. Our bags were manually lifted out the plane and placed on the concrete for us to retrieve ourselves. A little welcome committee of islanders had gathered to greet us and a 3 piece calypso band serenaded us into arrivals.

Already we felt this was going to be special.

At this point we could never have imagined that we would conclude this trip with the following question:

"If we hadn't seen a whale or swam with the dolphins, would this trip have been any less amazing?"

"No, in no way diminished, they just turned out to be the icing on the cake"

Restoration Reef

We soon realised from the limited choice available, we had bagged by far the best accommodation on the island. A compact one bed-roomed structure, known as Restoration Reef. It had simple but very comfortable and spotlessly clean facilities. The terrace gave way to a fantastic boardwalk over the limestone coral and tropical plants out to the edge of the reef cliff.

There, with it's own whale watching deck and chair, was the best private vista any one could wish for and we made good use of it, scouring the headline for whales by day and enjoying the sunsets and sun downers at dusk. (Mind you the boardwalk was narrow and the razor sharp coral lethal, so sun downers had to be wisely consumed!)



Although the view from the deck was spectacular, the view from the bed wasn't too hard to wake up to either.  It seemed from the moment we woke to the moment we fell into slumber, we were on whale alert, even in the still of night, you could hear them glide past blowing heftily and contentedly with their young calves, whilst the males sang harmoniously in the bay.

I think this picture sums up how happy we felt about our time on Niue - so far!