27.05.2015 - 27.05.2015
Coming out of Avaiki cave to the coral flat.
I was at the car rental office before 0800; they open at 0730. I was given a Mazda Premacy hatch for NZD50 (discounted from NZD55 as the A/C didn't work).
Having plotted out the key points of interest, I gathered that most of the sights that appealed were in the north-west corner. Some were best a low-tide, which was imminent, so I didn't waste any time getting there.
First up was Avaiki Cave, named after the ancestral homeland of the Polynesian people. I walked through the small cave to end up on the coral flat which had been exposed by the low tide. Turning right and walking very briefly through the wet uneven ground, I ended up in a small cave which housed a heavenly rock pool. Gorgeous, as it was, I decided against getting wet at my first stop and moved on.Indoor pool at Avaiki.
A little further on the road northward, I arrived at Hio Beach. I descended the steps to get to the coral flat, trying to look for the chasm, caves and pool. I went further than I wanted and gave up.
Next up, I found Limu Pools. These pools were connected to but sheltered from the sea. It also receives fresh water from a spring which creates a blurring effect where the sea and fresh waters meet. It was a delightful place for swimming, especially with the glorious sun illuminating the beautifully clear and turquoise water.
Further along was Matapa Chasm, which was accessed by walking through a short forested patch. The water here, being sheltered, was cooler. With less illumination, it was also a darker shade.There are no significant beaches in Niue; largely rock.It ranked a close second after Limu falls for me.
The Matapa Chasm carpark was also the starting point for getting to the Tala Arches. The walk through the forest was much longer than the 15mins suggested by the Lonely Planet. I got to the caves, but was too late for making my way outside to get to the arches (because the tide had risen).
It was lunchtime so I headed back to town. The original idea was to circle the island but with my tummy rumbling, it made sense to backtrack and continue in the opposite direction after eating. Lunch consisted of a curry roll and a mango lassi.
I called into the hostel briefly to check if Jonathan wanted to join me. He's the medical student here for 5 weeks doing a placement at the local hospital.There are no significant beaches in Niue; largely rock with seatracks leading down to coral flats.As he hadn't seen much of the island yet, he was keen.
We headed south, calling at the dive shop to enquire for tomorrow. They were fully booked for both diving and dolphin watching. But I found out later the dive was cancelled anyway due to bad conditions at their launching site.
Making our way around the entire island, it appeared the only other significant site for me was Togo Chasm. This was a little "oasis" or depression set amongst a large expanse of rock pinnacles which had a few coconut trees in it. One climbs down a long ladder at the end of the hike through the pinnacles to get down into the "oasis". Both the journey and the destination were worthwhile.
Refilling the car with petrol before returning it, I was rather confused. I paid NZD18 to top it up but the price on the pump said NZD7.36 per litre. That means I used 2.4 litre to travel around 80km, which didn't make sense. I realised much later that the price was a little more than in New Zealand, which made better sense. The price on the pump was rubbish!
Jonathan and I grabbed dinner at Crazy Uga's next to the hotel. For no good reason, I was tired and retired at 2000 (1900 NZ time)! Then I woke at 2200 feeling like I had a full night's sleep. It took a while before I could sleep again.