Because the island drops off steeply into the ocean, it is just a short swim from the beach/coves to the drop off.
On a dive after heavy rain you may swim through cooler clear fresh water entering the ocean through natural fissures. You will seldom dive with visibility below 30 or 40 metres and 60 plus metres is common. Most dives are carried out in what can only be described as 'stunning underwater visibility'. Water temperature varies between 28-30 degrees C in the 'wet season' November to April, and between 25-29 degrees C in the 'dry season' May till November.
Photography is made that little bit easier in the gin clear water: even novice photographers get great results with clear visibility.
Niueans and village councils try to ensure fishing on their reef is by traditional methods. As a result fish life is still plentiful, from the wharf to more remote sites. These fish are not shy and it is possible to get close to most. With the reef being open to the Pacific Ocean Niue has mainly hard corals. On most dives you will encounter the timid Niuean sea snake, whether it is asleep on the bottom, feeding among the corals or swimming to or from the surface for a breath, you will come to accept them as just one of the interesting marine creatures. At some of the dive sites eagle rays can be spotted on the odd occasion!
Most dive sites are less than 10 minutes boat ride away – the longest trip is half an hour. The sites feature either caverns or pristine hard coral reefs. No special training is required for the cavern dives – all have easy access and natural light sources. The depth range for most dives is 5m-30m.
Here are some favourite dive sites…
“The Chimney” Enter a hole five metres below the surface and drop down vertically through the 'chimney' reaching “the fireplace " at twenty seven metres. As you descend, the bubbles from the divers below drift pass, giving the feeling you are in space. Look up and you have a silhouette of the following divers. At the base you are in an arch from which you look out into the deep blue waters. The fireplace is a favourite haunt for crayfish.
Ana Mahaga (Limu Twin): A great site for all levels of divers – open enough to make the most novice diver feel comfortable, but with interesting swim throughs and plenty of nooks and crannies to satisfy the most experienced of divers. Ana Mahaga has two large caverns with a tunnel connecting them. Marine life regularly encountered here includes ribbon eels, lion fish, schools of trevally and midnight sea perch, parrot fish and white tip reef sharks
Tamakautoga Reef: There are several sites along this beautiful stretch of hard coral reef with a wonderful array of marine life waiting to be photographed. Healthy coral continues down past 40 metres so deep diving enthusiasts will feel right at home as will newly certified divers with plenty to see in the shallows.
Snake Gully: Niue’s signature site – this one has it all – a cavern crammed with painted crayfish, sea snakes by the dozens (and sometimes hundreds), schools of barracuda which make regular appearances and all in a depth of less than 20 metres. Add to this the possibility of sighting turtles, sharks and maori wrasse, and its easy to see why divers want to come back here time and time again.
Whales: From around late June to October Humpback Whales call into Niuean waters as they migrate. As the ocean drops away so quickly these magnificent creatures cruise past only metres off shore yet have below them water hundreds of metres deep.
Even from the shore it is possible to see them play. On a dive you may be one of the lucky divers to have a whale stop metres away, turn and eyeball you for minutes - an unforgettable experience, one you will find difficult if not impossible to explain to friends.
Niue Dive run trips to interact with these gentle giants and spinner dolphins. Every interaction is different, but snorkellers have spent up to half an hour floating just metres away from a mother and calf – others prefer to watch from the boat, getting an impressive view of their breaches and tail dives. . Trips run in the afternoons and last approx. 3 hours. Minimum of 4 people required to run the trips.