No I did not get to live a whole year in Rarotonga (oh how I am dreaming now) we celebrated one whole year of marriage there. We have just got back from a beautiful extra long weekend, an extra long weekend that just was not long enough. Packing list
• Suntan lotion
• Insect repellent (they have some pretty big beasts)
• Raincoat/umbrella (it will rain at some point!)
It started with a warm welcome on arrival at the airport. It starts with a local gentleman singing while you go through customs. We were dutifully pointed to the transport to get to our hotel where you are given the traditional lei, garland of flowers around your neck. The driver tells you a bit about the town as you drive through and so you learn pretty quick that Rarotonga is not that difficult to manoeuvre yourself around. We stayed at the Muri Beach Club Hotel which some might say is too modern for their liking. Yet it was a small hotel not exactly hard on the landscape, the service was efficient and friendly and the food was amazing (and yes we ate other places to compare). We
were greeted with a complimentary food drink and a surprise upgrade to a beach front room. And I would argue that it is probably situated on the best beach in Rarotonga. Muri beach with the crystal clear waters of the lagoon is breathtaking. It offers great opportunity's for kayaking and snorkelling, both of which we did and thoroughly enjoyed. It has 'easy' access to two of the motu's (uninhabited small islands off the coast) and by easy access I mean you can walk there in low tide.
We ate the most amazing food. I was actually very pleased with the food offered by our hotel and we were happy with both our lunch and dinner options. Obviously this involved eating lots of fish, but they do amazing chicken and pork dishes as well and we certainly were not limiting our options. I won't get into portion sizes as I am trying not to feel guilty about the quantities that I ate! One my favourite dishes is the Ika Mata. It is raw fish (mine was tuna) marinated in lime juice served with coconut cream. Never mind the taro, kumara and breadfruit. Then there is the Rukau, the cooked
taro leaves, Rarotonga's version of spinach. You know what though writing a list just does not do it justice! We managed to go to one of the local restaurants 'The Flame Tree' for one night to celebrate our anniversary and I would highly recommend it, though I know there are many other great options available. I kind of think whereever you eat on the island it will probably taste good!
Rarotonga's beauty is not just about heading to the beach and eating good food. It's about meeting the people and experiencing their rich culture. One of the best ways is attending an island night, a must in Rarotonga. Actually our day started at the Highland Paradise, high in the mountains, in the morning where we were given a very interesting tour by Danny learning about the history of the Tinomana tribe. The morning tour includes hotel pick ups and lunch. Everyone involved obviously had a wealth of knowledge about Rarotonga. After being treated to lunch we had some time to relax in the afternoon at the hotel before heading out again in the evening to experience the food, the dancing, singing and drumming, as they tell the story
of their forefathers. We had another short introduction of the site and a coconut demonstration (very common happening on the island at some point). It is a fun way to learn their history and the performances are stunning. My plate was piled so high with food and I got to sample about 8 different types of dessert.
There is also plenty of opportunity to do some shopping. The best option is to head to Punanga Nui Market on a Saturday morning in Avaru. We hired a scooter for the day and it's the best way to get around the island. Just in case you are wondering it will probably only take about an hour to get around the whole island. (There is also a bus option which is the cheapest way to get around and it is every hour) It had hubby reminiscing about his youth and me enjoying the breeze as we sped along the road. Buy yourself a pareu/sarong...I did...or one of their beautiful wooden carvings...hubby did. You get to eat great food again. You also never feel guilty about eating at any point at any time of the day...I loved it!
Then there is more
Man's best friend
Can't go for a walk along Muri Beach and not be greeted by a dog!
entertainment and I guess I should not have been surprised to meet Danny again on the stage doing what he seems to do best! As we had the scooter we also headed to Black Rock and it is definitely worth a visit.
Don't be surprised if you leave Rarotonga with a flower in your hair, a smile on your face and a wish that one day you will be able to return.
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