The smallest country in the world is Vatican City. Besides the Vatican (a very specific country), one of the smallest countries in the world is the South Pacific island nation of Niue, with less than 2,000 inhabitants. Niue is a forgotten island paradise in the Pacific like no other and a place where things are “like before”. Imagine visiting a nation with the population of a small village. Niue offers a stark contrast to over-commercialized Pacific islands like Tahiti.

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Niue is self-governing and in free association with New Zealand (so New Zealand does some things on its behalf, such as diplomatic relations). Cook Island is also a country in free association with New Zealand and another great authentic Pacific experience.


Niue Country Profile

Located about 1,500 miles northeast of New Zealand, Niue is very isolated. It is located in a triangle between Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands.

  • Cut: 101 square miles of 261 square km
  • Capital: Alofi
  • Language: Niuean and English
  • Residents: About. 1,500

Niue is one of the largest coral islands in the world and is often referred to as “The Rock”. The island has a plateau in the center and a limestone cliff that runs along the coast. A coral reef surrounds the island.

The country has only about 1,500 inhabitants spread over 14 colorful villages. The people are known for their warmth, respect and welcoming nature. Most people there grow their own crops and fish to support their families, and going to church is an important part of the community.

Niue’s history and special relationship with New Zealand

It is believed that Polynesians first settled on the island over 1,000 years ago. It may have been settled by two major migrations (one from Samoa and another from Tonga). The famous explorer, Captain James Cook, sighted Niue in 1774. He tried to land on the island three times but could not because the local people stopped him – he called the island ” Savage Island”.

It was not until 1830 that the first European landed on the island. It became a British protectorate in 1900, was annexed to New Zealand in 1901, gained autonomy in 1974, and today people have dual nationality and are free to move around New Zealand if they wish. Niueans are New Zealand citizens and 90-95% of Niueans live in New Zealand.

Related: Samoa vs American Samoa: Why They’re Worth It and Which Should You Visit?

Getting to Niue and what to expect there

The only flight to Niue is from Auckland to New Zealand. Air New Zealand offers weekly services to Niue, with flights taking just over 3 hours. Remember that the country is little more than a sleepy village and there is no public transport upon arrival. It’s a place without crowds, queues, traffic lights or all the hustle and bustle of modern life.

Visitors should arrange transfers with their accommodation prior to arrival. Visitors are strongly advised to hire a car or bicycle on the island so that they can get around and explore the island and the villages.

  • Flight time: 3 hours (from New Zealand)
  • Air connections: From Auckland, New Zealand

Visitors must pre-book their accommodation for the duration of their stay before departing (a mandatory requirement for entry). Things like camping and couchsurfing are not available or allowed in Niue.

The island is surrounded by a 64 kilometer (40 mile) long road with bush tracks branching off from it. The main ring road is largely paved. The dedicated website for planning a visit to Niue is Niue Island.

Related: This UNESCO Island in Tahiti Is at the “End of the World”

Planning accommodation in Niue

Accommodation in Niue is, as you might expect, limited. Visitors can book a self-catering apartment or a villa or motel on the island. They also have “private fales” which are equipped with multiple bedrooms and air conditioning.

  • Single station: The Scenic Matavai Resort Niue

There is a resort in the country – the Scenic Matavai Resort Niue. It is a stunning resort located on top of a cliff offering a picturesque 180 degree view of the Pacific. It is located just 10 minutes from all major facilities and services in Niue.

The resort has swimming pools, a restaurant, in-room WiFi, air conditioning, cable TV, and more basic amenities. It has 32 renovated rooms with balconies — all have a rain show and most face the ocean. From its balcony, it is possible to contemplate and see humpback whales, spinner dolphins, etc.

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