Niue is one of the world's largest coral islands. The terrain consists of steep limestone cliffs along the coast with a central plateau rising to about 60 metres above sea level. A coral reef surrounds the island, with the only major break in the reef being in the central western coast, close to the capital, Alofi. The island has a tropical climate, with most rainfall occurring between November and April.
Economic growth is challenging due to geographic isolation, few resources, and a small population. The agricultural sector consists mainly of subsistence gardening and fishing, although some cash crops are grown for export such as vanilla, noni and taro.
Due to the fact that many goods have to be imported, the cost of living in Niue can be a bit more expensive than New Zealand; although fresh fruits and vegetables are cheaper. Kumara, passion fruit, taro, and cassava are the fruits regularly sold at Alofi’s twice-weekly market, the island’s only supermarket, and roadside stalls throughout the island. Niue’s only shopping mall is the Alofi Commercial Centre, which is home to the island’s only bank, Kiwibank, an art gallery, a souvenir shop, a butcher’s shop, and a stationery store. The butchery sells spices, vanilla beans, and fresh cheeses alongside meats. Coconut porridge is the preferred breakfast at Alofi’s market. Freshly-caught coconut crab and tie-dyed handicrafts are among the market’s most popular items.
The church plays a large part in the community. Scattered throughout the 14 neat and colourful villages, Niue’s residents enjoy dual citizenship, as a self-governing nation in free association with New Zealand. They are bilingual, speaking both Niuean and English, and enjoy an independent lifestyle.
Niue is a diver and nature lover’s paradise, with easy access to a unique land and sea environment. There are no palm-fringed beaches but instead rocky coast, limestone chasms and underwater caves and tunnels. Pools fringing Niue’s reef provide snorkelling spots and the deep ocean provides opportunities for fishing.