Blogs from Cook Islands, Oceania

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Oceania » Cook Islands » Rarotonga April 20th 2019

‘Don’t listen to what they say…go see’– Chinese Proverb (I know we’re not anywhere near China but I don’t know any Polynesian proverbs or sayings!!) Yesterday was a strange day. Not the best we have experienced in all the years of cruising; with the heavy rain, the cancelling of the tender for two hours, stranding us on the island not to mention the somewhat underwhelming excursion. Unfortunately, we had to relive this day again as we crossed the international date line. The international date line is not, as it sounds a world-wide telephone pick up service!! It is an imaginary line that runs from North to South. By crossing this line, one will either gain or lose a day depending on whether you are travelling east to west or vice versa. We were travelling ... read more
The Maasdam cutting through the Force 8 gales
The characteristic skyline of the Cook Islands
Welcome to the Cook Islands

Oceania » Cook Islands » Aitutaki January 29th 2019

For all the internet researchers who have stumbled across Aitutaki in the Cook Islands, firstly kudos for the meticulous research on potential travel destinations. And if by chance you clicked on google images of this paradise, I can understand if some skepticism may be creeping in. Perhaps you're wondering if an island could possibly be as beautiful and captivating as the images portray, has there been some liberal use of photoshop? Well my friends, rest assured Aitutaki is everything and more than you could ever imagine. For my part, nearly a week has passed in wonderful Rarotonga, when all the talk revolved around a visit to this tropical wonderland. A few guests from the hostel were keen to take the plunge, and I formed the impression that most visitors to the Cook Islands have a visit ... read more
Transluscent lagoon
Island resort
Beach scene

Oceania » Cook Islands » Rarotonga January 23rd 2019

One of life's special travel moments has resulted in the title of this blog, and rest assured more details of my brush with royalty will be revealed later in the journal. Here I am in the Cook Islands, made up of 15 islands spread over vast distances in the Pacific Ocean, and it's a privilege to visit this paradise for the first time. The influence of the islands has been crucial to the spread of Polynesian culture throughout the Pacific. Arguably the first landing in modern day New Zealand took place in 1350 according to legend, which means Cook Islanders are the forefathers of the Maori people. The local greeting Kia Orana means "May you live long", and in New Zealand it's Kia Ora. Rarotonga is the capital and affectionately referred to by locals as the ... read more
Beach views
Palm trees on the beach
My friend Jesse

Oceania » Cook Islands » Aitutaki September 7th 2018

There's a saying on the island that there's no blue like Aitutaki blue, and they're not lying. I've been incredibly lucky to visit some incredibly beautiful places, but when it comes to amazing blue water - one of my favorite things - Aitutaki was absolutely mind blowing. You don't want to know how many pictures I have of nothing but water. The main island is surrounded by the amazing lagoon and all sorts of postcard-perfect smaller islands (called motus). It's the sight of all sorts of Survivor-like shows, and a few of the motus were closed for filming something called "Shipwreck" while we were there. Pretty-ness aside, it's also one of my favorite islands to visit. It's tiny, maybe 2,000 people?, and primarily gets supplies delivered once a month by a cargo ship. As a visitor, ... read more
Colorful gas station (there was a matching shop across the street)
Soccer field in the main town (also the departure point of some lagoon tours)
View heading up to the top of the island

Oceania » Cook Islands » Rarotonga September 2nd 2018

Rarotonga is the first stop of my 10 island South Pacific travels - woohoo! I only stopped for a day or two, on each end of a longer stay in Aitutaki, but it's a beautiful island. There are lots of green mountain peaks, the most known is called The Needle, and a coral lagoon around the island with postcard pretty blue water. As far as I can tell, this is primarily a huge holiday destination for people from New Zealand - it's a small island, but lots of focus on tourists and tourist activities. Unfortunately the weather wasn't great either of the days I was here although I did have one beautiful sunny morning. Fortunately it's whale season in the South Pacific (similar to Hawaii, they spend a portion of the year here to give birth, ... read more
The lagoon
An area known as Black Rocks, my favorite whale watching spot (even though I'm way too slow with my camera to have good pictures)
The lagoon

Oceania » Cook Islands » Niue July 31st 2018

We reached Niue an island in the South Pacific Ocean, 2,400 kilometres northeast of New Zealand, east of Tonga, south of Samoa and west of the Cook Islands after a short three-hour flight from Auckland. One of the smallest countries and one of the largest raised coral atolls on earth we found the island very unusual with beautiful crystal waters but a rugged coral coastline so no sandy beaches. Niue pronounced New-ay means 'behold the coconut' it may be the world's smallest independent nation, this Pacific Island is also known as the "Rock of Polynesia". We found amazing swimming spots, usually after a short trek and a scramble through rocks and coral. We viewed stunning caves and swam in spectacular chasms. We had a hire car for a day and were able to drive around most ... read more

Oceania » Cook Islands » Aitutaki July 25th 2018

Stewdate: 25-07-18 After checking out of the Rarotonga Pacific Resort, I was transferred by mini-coach to the Rarotonga Domestic Airport and connected with Air Rarotonga GZ614 (on a Saab 340 turbo-prop) for a mid-morning 40-minute flight to the second largest Cook Island of Aitutaki. On arrival, I had a short 10-minute transfer to the Henry-family owned "Tamanu Beach Resort " on the west coast of the island for a 5-night stay in a 1-bedroom bungalow. The hospitality at the resort was evident with being greeted on arrival at reception with a fruit juice and being shown to the bungalow before noon!. This is a lovely place for just relaxing / walking on the beach / snorkelling on the reef. Enjoyed a relaxing evening meal (lamb rack) and Lion Red beer at the Tamanu Restaurant & Bar. ... read more
Stew - Aitutaki Lagoon
Maina Superstore (Arutanga)
Aitutaki's highest point (Maunga-pu)

Oceania » Cook Islands » Rarotonga July 24th 2018

Stewdate: 22-07-18 So I finally arrived in Rarotonga (Avarua), the largest of the Cook Islands after a 4 hour flight from Auckland with Air New Zealand, on a warm cloudy afternoon and realised it's still Sunday (the day I departed Adelaide!) after crossing the international dateline! A trip to Hawaii in 2011 was the only other time I had experienced this sensation, and I am still yet to fly right across the Pacific! The 20-minute transfer from Avarua gave me the opportunity to view about half (the eastern side) the island, with tropical forests and cloud-shrouded peaks inland (to the right-side of the road) and coastal views (to the left-side of the road), before arriving for a 3-night stay at the "Pacific Resort Rarotonga" on Muri Beach. Although I was contemplating a retirement decision, I enjoyed ... read more
John - Island Discovery Tour Guide
Stew - Captain Tama's Lagoon Cruise
Captain Tama's Lagoon Cruise

Oceania » Cook Islands » Rarotonga May 9th 2018

Monday morning dawned bright and clear. After breakfast Fletcher and I decided to try some kayaking. Once we worked out how to get into the boats we were off and enjoyed the peacefulness of the lagoon. I soon worked out how to paddle and we headed to the larger island and meandered around the lagoon for a while. We saw one large orange coloured fish but had to keep a look out for rocks as the water is quite shallow and I got stuck once or twice. After that effort we rested for a while. The family decided to hire paddle boards and try their skills at stand up paddle boarding. We walked with them, well along the beach to the hire place. The younger boys had already learnt this skill but the little girls wanted ... read more
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Oceania » Cook Islands » Rarotonga May 7th 2018

Saturday morning it was bright and sunny. We all met by the cars at 10am and headed into Avarua for the markets. These are held every Saturday and are a bustling place with plenty of tourists and locals, and a mixture of souvenir and food stalls. As usual the local Cultural Group was putting on a show with young dancers doing the traditional dances to the beat of the drums. We wandered around here for about an hour and a half and then all recovened at Trader Jack’s for lunch. This is an iconic Cook Island restaurant. It overlooks the harbour at Avarua and has been hit by 3 different cyclones since 1986 when it was established. Now they can no longer get it insured so if a cyclone approaches they take out all the glass ... read more
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Tot: 1.975s; Tpl: 0.035s; cc: 11; qc: 76; dbt: 0.0399s; 1; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 2; ; mem: 1.5mb