By Mercedes Ackerman

As the school holidays approach, families all over New Zealand are dreaming of island getaways as the weather here turns cold and wet. 

First of all, when visiting Niue, don’t expect to hop off the plane and see a sandy beach – wrong island.

When you think family friendly Pacific holiday destinations, Niue probably isn’t at the top of the list, but if you enjoy a bit of adventure, Niue has got it going on. 

Limu is a rock pool isolated away from the ocean. It provides fantastic secure snorkelling, arguably the easiest rock pool to enter so a great starting point for building confidence. The much deeper Matapa Chasm has fresh water coming in from the rocks so this was a little on the cooler side and it’s not tide dependent. We visited at midday to get full sun on the crystal clear water in the chasm. 

More like crushed shells than sand, Hio is a great little beach tucked down a short five minute walk and a few steep stairs. Head here to to catch some afternoon sun and a play in the shells. It’s best to visit here during low-tide where you can venture out for a reef walk, a great learning tool for young and old to be mindful around the very delicate coral life – reef shoes are a must.

I’m the last person on the planet to be found doing mini golf tourism but after a bit of nagging I caved. Vailoama mini golf is a course like no other. It’s set amongst the natural curves of the rocks and native plants. This was a true combination of nature and frustration, as I was beaten by my five-year-olds apparent golfing talent. You can then sit down for a beer or a milkshake for the kids at a bar at the end of the course.

As a sceptic of whale watching, I went in with very little expectations of seeing actual whales. I thought it would be more like seeing them miles away from shore and hearing “oh you just missed it!” What we got was the opposite. 

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