The Niuas – meaning “rich in coconuts” – are three extinct volcanoes. They are remote islands located roughly mid-way between Western Samoa and Vava’u – about 160 nautical miles from each. Given their location and their relative isolation, they were a particularly appealing destination for us.
Niuatoputapu is the only Niua that has anchorage for boats, and its anchorage is excellent. This is where we spent most of our time. The island has been described as resembling a straw hat. It has a tall ridge (438 feet) in the center, and that ridge is surrounded by a broad area of lush vegetation and white sand beach.
Tafahi is 6 miles north of Niuatoputapu, and we spent only one day there. Tafahi is commonly called Volcano Island because of its conical shape. Its peak is over 1800 feet high, and it is often in the clouds. Tafahi has a small break in the reef through which small power boats can move, but they lack any harbor or anchorage.
Niuafo’ou is thoroughly uninviting to all boats regardless of size – small day craft to delivery ships. The island has a rocky shore and is surrounded by deep sea. It lacks any anchorage whatsoever. It is often called Tin Can Island because mail and supplies are often packed in metal tins and thrown from delivery ships. Swimmers retrieve the packages and take them ashore. Royal Tongan Airlines used to fly there once every other week, but that airline has ceased operations, so we don’t know if/how people currently arrive or leave the island.
While in the Niuas, we spent all our time on Niuatoputapu except for one memorable day on Tafahi. We thoroughly enjoyed our time on Niuatoputapu, and we took lots of pictures. We have included many of them on our webpage for Niuatoputapu, so please be patient as it loads. Unfortunately, we got to spend only one day on Tafahi, so we have far fewer pictures, and that page should load at least a bit faster.
Read about our time in Niuatoputapu and Tafahi or jump ahead to our stay in Vava’u.