Trek to Palaha caves and Avaiki caves in Niue
August 19-26, 2011
Niue is an amazing small island, but offering so much... and you will probably not expect to find enormous underground caves with colorful stalactites and stalagmites. There are many caves in Niue, often easy to reach, and sometimes opening a wonderful view out to the sea.
At the beginning of the path that leads from the main road to the cave of Palaha in Niue, great view of the reef in low tide opens.
Walking along the trail, you will shortly reach the Palaha cave. This large cave is full of stalactites and stalagmites, typical formations of calcium carbonate in vivid colors, thanks to the presence of various minerals too.
The shapes, colors and sizes of the numerous caves in Niue are truly amazing and one would never expect to be able to see similar spectacles on a tiny coral island, lost in the South Pacific ocean.
Photo of caves in Niue. Formations of calcium carbonate, colored by the presence of various minerals.
Towards the outer part of the cave that looks at the Pacific Ocean, there are small pools nestled in the fossilized corals, which are filled with water during high tide or by just the sprays coming from waves. These holes are transformed into real natural aquarium, a sort of miniature ecosystems, complete with plants, fishes, crustaceans and various invertebrates.
One of these creatures that populate the small pools of water, belongs to the genus Zoanthus (Zoantiniari family). The Zoanthus are invertebrates that derive nutrients through the symbiosis with an algae and grow in patches that can reach one meter in diameter.
The holes are also populated by small fishes, such as blennies and other colorful invertebrates.
Pictures of Niue. The view from the cave that opens from the Palaha cave out to the Pacific Ocean, is spectacular. The best time to visit these caves, in order to better appreciate the colors, it is during low tide (best if low tide doen't happen late in the afternoon).
Two fishermen are engrossed in their work at the spot where the Pacific Ocean meets the reef.
More photos of Niue. Views over the spectacular reef in front of the Palaha cave in Niue.
Like anywhere in Niue, even near these caves there are thousands of stones as these.
The tour continues with a visit to another set of caves not far away, called Avaiki caves. The place can be reached by a short walk that has no technical difficulties.
The caves are interesting because there are some small natural pools where you can swim or snorkel.
The Avaiki cave opens to a beautiful reef that runs from the Pacific ocean to the coast.
As in the case of the Palaha caves, also at Avaiki there are small holes between the rocks, that are home to many forms of life, especially invertebrates.
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