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Dive Review of Niue Dive/Matavai Resort in

February, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Joseph Breivogel, OR, USA
Report Number 2307
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Fiji, Hawaii, Australia, Mexico, PNG, etc
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
81   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
80   to 140    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Follow the dive guide. Dive your. Turn around at half tank, return to
surface at 750. Divers within a group who had more air could remain in
water longer.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
2 stars  
Boats are 12 ft inflatables - no special provision for cameras (just a big
plastic box). Cameras handed passed over by guide after divers rolled back
into water. Guide returns to boat first, and assists divers back in. On
shore, there is a  big fresh water rinse tank. Niue dive will keep your
gear and rinse and dry it for you. At hotel the TVs have video (RCA jacks)
inputs, so you can review your videos. Voltage is 220, 50 cycles,
Australian plug.   
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
4 stars    
Niue is an old upraised coral atoll about 1500 miles NE of New Zealand. I
is one of the smallest countries in the world, with a population of 1500.
It is  untouristy, relaxed, safe, and clean. It has no significant beaches
(high limestone cliffs mostly), no streams or rivers, and no mangroves. I
reminds me a bit of Cozumel's west coast - though much more spectacular.
Visibility is excellent due to lack of sand and runoff. Access is via a few
small harbors - the boats being trailered there and lowered into the water
with a small crane. Dive boats themselves are 12 ft inflatables with a hard
bottom. I guess they are easier to deal with as launching can be difficult
when seas are rough.

The sole dive operator is Niue Dive, run by an Australian couple (ex- Mike
Ball staffers), Ann and Ian Franklin. It is next door to the Matavai
resort. They have good new equipment to hire, if needed. They use aluminum
80 tanks filled ot 3000 psi. The 2 dives boats are rigid inflatables,
holding 4 divers plus Ian or Ann. They have Dan Oxygen kits available, a
VHF radio, and a backup outboard motor. The boats are trailered to the
put-in (they have 2 or 3 they use), where the boat is lowered into the
water. Dive sites are mostly within 5 or 10 minutes, though northern ones
can be 20 to 30 min away. Two tank dives of 30-60 minutes each, with 60
minute surface interval are the norm. Surface interval spent in boat where
they have water and cookies. You backward roll into the water, and on
surfacing, pass up your weights, camera, and get out of your BCD (float the
tank, with the guide pulls up into the boat), then haul yourself in on
grablines - there is no ladder. This might be an issue for older or heavier
divers! Also, there is no diving on Sunday, due to islanders religious

Most of our dives were through coral gullies, swim-throughs, and caves in
the limestone formations. As full force ocean waves impact the cliffs,
surge can be a problem. Even though Nuie has very little fishing pressure,
we did not see any large fish - a few Travelly, 2 reef sharks, and a big
Bumphead parrotfish. Only one anenome (with Clown fish) seem. Quite a few
Octopus. A few Lionfish, and fair number of Lobsters. Also Blue Ribbon and
Spotted Morey eels.   

Nuie is notable for its banded sea snakes - they are everywhere, including
inside caves where they breed and nest. The snakes are poisonous, but not
aggressive, and you can gently handle them. . Some caves have air pockets,
that you can surface into. As there is no barrier reef, the island is
exposed to the full force of hurricaines, and shallow corals are not
abundant. Because the water is exceptionally clear, coral grows deeper whan
usual, with very nice  plate coral formations below 60 feet. 

The premier resort on the Island is Matavai. Is is about 6 miles south of
the airport. There are 22 rooms, a few of which are airconditioned (having
higher prices). They are clean, fan cooled, with comfortable beds, and have
good hot showers and fresh towels daily. The location is spectacular -
clifftop, facing west. There is a nice pool, and the restaurant and bar are
good, but a bit limited in selections (2 or 3 mains). Rooms have TVs and
DVDs can be borrowed from the office. Niue has only 6 hours a day of
bradcasting. During low tide, it is possible to walk out on the
"Reef" (really a limestone bench) and explore tidepools. Other
areas have natural pools to swim in. The resort has mountain bikes to lend
(free) and it is possible to explore most of the Island on them.

There are limited other choices of hotels - a motel and a few guesthouses.
Also only a few other eating options. 

Niue is reached from Auckland on a Friday Air New Zealand 737 flight or
tuesday  form Samoa on Polynesian Air. Returns are also Fri/Tues.

February (when I visited) is hot (80-85 air, 83 water) and scattered
showers. Hurricaines are a possibility. June-Sept would be better
weatherwise for Niue, but if you are also visiting New Zealand it would be
cold and rainy there. During my week, I got in 4 days of diving, only one
of which was really rainy - but the caves were still OK.  


Niue Dive [}
Matavai Resort []
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