The South Pacific waters have hidden a secret for long enough. Its name is Niue (meaning ‘behold the coconut’) and it is the smallest independent nation, which is often known as the ‘Rock of Polynesia’ or just the ‘Rock’. By Shubhanjana Das

This small island is in reality a raised coral atoll. It has just one sandy beach and one resort, so you know that the Niue experience is a unique and extremely exclusive one. Its clear blue waters are an open invitation to the adventurers out there. In case you aren’t already looking for flight tickets (there’s just one flight in and out every week), let us give you a few more reasons why you should.

1. Isolated with Nature

This oval-shaped atoll is roughly 40 miles in circumference and is vegetated by coconut trees, palm trees, Pandanus, Tahiti chestnuts, and banyans, other than shrubs. Niue has a population of just 2,000 people who speak both English and Niuean (a Polynesia language similar to Tongan and Samoan). Go swimming in the pools such as the Limu pools on the north-western edge of the island, without a trace of any stress. It’s true, what they say about losing yourself to find yourself.

2. Crystal Blue Waters

The few tourists who have visited Niue can vouch for its waters to be some of the clearest and bluest they have ever dived in. Allowing as much as 100 metres of visibility, a quick drop-off into the ocean assures that in just a couple of strokes from the shoe and you could be staring at the dark blue abyss of the South Pacific waters. Look out for colourful schools of fish to pass you by but beware of the sea snake.

3. The Feel Good Vibes

Niue is the epitome of tranquility and the ideal laid-back life. If you are someone who isn’t much for checklists, sit back and enjoy a beer at the Washaway Beer and Café, which runs on a policy of honesty. You write your order, put in the money, and grab your drinks directly from the fridge. What! And while you’re there, you can’t but notice the incredible sense of community that the small population of Niue has. They are extremely close-knit, so much so that it is considered rude to not do the one-finger drive-by salute when you cross someone on the road. The locals here will welcome you as a tourist but leave no stone unturned to make you feel like family.

4. The Marine Life

Because of Niue’s quick drop-off, you can expect spotting humpback whales, spinner dolphins, and manta rays just a few metres off the shore. From July to October, Niue’s water becomes the home to humpback whales, so don’t be surprised if you wake up to their calls in the night!

5. Underwater Caves

Apart from a number of land-accessible caves such as the Vaila, Palaha, Avaiki, there are underwater caves lining the island, which are easily accessible. Tidal chasms, meandering channels, and coral pools are aplenty in Niue. It seems like nature didn’t hold back while bestowing Niue with the most breathtaking scenery — both on ground and under water.

How to get there:

As mentioned before, there’s just one flight every week in and out of New Zealand. Air New Zealand runs one flight from Auckland to Hanan, Niue’s international airport which is just five minutes from its capital Alofi.

Related: 5 of the Best Hidden Beaches in Africa That’ll Make You Believe in Paradise