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Text and Photos: Sergi Reboredo
Let yourself fall easily into the gentle rhythm of our lives. Experience the soothing qualities of our ocean, beaches, valleys and hills. Explore our string of islands at your own pace. Enjoy the powerful connection we have with the boundless, unspoilt natural environment that is our home. Share our laughter. Enjoy our dancing and music. Join in freely if the mood takes you.
Above all, treat your time here with us as an opportunity to soothe and rejuvenate your body and spirit, to explore and find adventure, to immerse yourself in our culture and learn about our mysteries and legends, to find seclusion when you need it, to connect with our environment and above all to share love and friendship with family, friends and partners.
001-CS0500: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. An inhabitant of the island takes up a coconut palm tree on the beach in One Foot Island. One Foot Island is asmall island in the district of Aitutaki of the Cook Islands in Australia. It is also known as Tapuaetai and is one of 22 islands of the atoll. You can only reach this island via a short boat trip from the main island. It is said that One Foot Island gives the visitors the best view of the Aitutaki lagoon. It was awarded "Australia's Leading Beach" at the World Travel Awards held in Sydney in June 2008. The island is uninhabited, but you can buy small things at the local shop. The beaches of OneFoot Island are white, and the water is crystal clear. This is not only a paradise for divers and snorkelers but also for those wanting to enjoy the beach and the sand. Climate: Since the islands are South of the equator, the seasons are opposite to those of Europe and North America. The cooler, drier season is from April to November and the warmer, more humid season is from December to March. The average temperature is 27 Celsius. Regularly listed as one of the most romantic places on Earth, and the second-most visited island in the Cooks, Aitutaki is famous for its impossibly crystal-clear, turquoise water of its central lagoon, tiny motus (islets) and pristine, palm-shaded beaches. Inland, Aitukati's rolling hills are a patchwork of banana plantations and coconut groves. 220 kilometres from Rarotonga and easily accessible by air, flying over Aitutaki is breathtaking. The immense, turquoise lagoon appears to float on the deeper blue of the Pacific, and is speckled with 15 uninhabited motus and brightly coloured corals just below the shimmering liquid surface. this is the ultimate blue lagoon. A leisurely walk to the summit of Aitutaki's highest peak, Maungapu, might only reach an elevation of a little over 120 metres, but it delivers sweeping views that are sure to leave you breathless. Another popular spot is the beautiful One Foot Island, where the TV show Survivor was filmed. Boasting one of the world's largest coral lagoons, it is with good reason that snorkelling, fishing and diving are popular on this island paradise, as is simply finding the perfect beachside spot and not budging for anything other than a refreshing drink or delectable bite to eat.
002-CS0294: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Some of the beaches with palm tres. Aitutaki (Aye-too-tah-ki) is an island in the Southern Cook Islands a 45 minute flight from the capital island of Rarotonga. Aitutaki lagoon and its islands are breathtakingly beautiful. The classic picture postcard of small palm tree fringed tropical island, with shallow, warm turquoise waters, corals, tropical fish and blue skies is taken here. The lagoon is large, taking about an hour in a boat to cross it. Tourism facilities are well developed, but are still low key enough not to intrude on the nature of the island. The larger island is split into different villages, Vaipae & Tau'tu are the largest and are located on the south east side of the island, Arutanga is often referred to as town and is on the south west side of the island. Arutanga has a center area for shopping, and the Telecom Office (also the Post Office), the Westpac Bank and the Bank of the Cook Islands are located here. Here you will also find the Blue Nun and Wharf. Amuri is a general term for the north end of the island which contains most of the tourist accommodations and less population. The other villages on the island are Uriea, Rearea, Rama, Vaipeka and Nikaupara.
003-CS0951: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. An actor dressed Polynesian blowing a conch shell in Aitutaki Punarei Culture Tours. This is a unique opportunity for you to learn about the ancient culture, myths, legends and traditional ways of our ancestors. The tour is a great way to discover the history, traditional skills, Art & beliefs of the island of Aitutaki. The tour concludes with a traditional feast (umu kai) for lunch on site. The second voyagers of note were Te Erui and his brother Matareka. Te Erui set out from Havaiki in the canoe Viripo, An unexpected hurricane, hur1'hia, dismasted his vessel, but he managed to get back to Havaiki. On being told by a priest that the cause of the disaster was due to the naming of his canoe, he immediately built another canoe. The vessel, on the advice of the priest, was named Te Rangi-pae-uta, and the two masts were named after the gods Rongo and Tangaroa. Thus, with divinity sitting in the belly of his sail, he braved the sea once more in his quest of land. He landed on the West side of Aitutaki, at a point on the reef known as Te Rua-karae. Here he was opposed by one of Ru's descendants, who said, "Tera te moana uriuri o Hiro. Haere ki i'eira kimi henua ai " – "There lies the purple sea of Hiro. Go there to.seek land." The request went unheeded. After slaying various opponents, Te Erui cut a channel through the reef with his adze, Haumapu, and finally settled down at Reureu. The channel which is credited to Te Erui's engineering ability is Te Rua-i-kakau, the boat passage which has been such an inestimable boon to Aitutaki. The various historical spots mentioned are shown on the map of Aitutaki. Ruatapu, the third voyager of note, came from Taputapuatea to Rarotonga, and then successively to Raro-ki-tonga, Mauke, and Atiu. During these voyages his canoe had the name of Te Kareroa-i-tai. At Atiu, the canoe name was changed to Tuehu-moana, and in it he sailed to Manuae and then Aitutaki. At Aitutaki he sailed through a passage near the north end, called Kopua-honu, and re- named, after him, Kopu-o-Ruatapu. He is credited with having brought the coconut and the flowering plant known as tiare maori. After quarrelling with his son Kirikava over fishing nets, he came on to Ruatea, near Black Rock. From there he attracted the attention of the ariki Tarula by means of certain toys, and they became friends. He excited the curiosity of Taruia with tales of the islands he had visited, and finally persuaded the ariki to accompany' him on a voyage to see the beautiful women of the islands (nga wahine purotu o nga motu.) Ruatapu purposely sailed before Taruia was quite ready, and to the latter's appeal to wait he called back, " I will go on to Rarotonga and be on the beach to welcome you in." On the other side of the islet of Maina, at a spot called Rau-kuru-aka, Ruatapu purposely capsized his canoe. Taruia shortly afterwards appeared, and to Ruatapu's appeal to wait until he had righted his canoe, he replied with no small satisfaction, "No; I will go to Rarotonga and be on the beach to welcome you in."Ruatapu waited until Taruia was out of sight. He then righted his canoe and, returning to Aitutaki, he had himself made Ariki of the island. Ruatapu is a well-known Maori ancestor of similar parentage,with whom a canoe-sinking incident is also associated in tradition.
004-CS4349: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Doing snorkeling in the Aitutaki (Lagoon Cruise). The barrier reef that forms the basis of Aitutaki is roughly the shape of an equilateral triangle with sides 12 kilometres in length. The southern edge of the triangle is almost totally below the surface of the ocean, and the eastern side is composed of a string of small islands (including Mangere, Akaiami, and Tekopua). The western side of the atoll contains many of Aitutaki's important features including a boat passage through the barrier reef allowing for anchorage close to shore at Arutanga. Towards the south of the side is a small break in the barrier reef, allowing access for small boats to the lagoon which covers most of the southern part of the triangle. Further to the north is the bulk of the main island. Its fertile volcanic soil provide tropical fruits and vegetables. Two of Aitutaki's 15 islets (motus) are also volcanic. The rest are made of coral. Aitutaki Airport is located close to the triangle's northern point. There is an area suitable to land flying boats in the southeastern part of the lagoon.
005-CS4220. Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Inside the wather in the Aitutaki (Lagoon Cruise). Aitutaki, also traditionally known as Araura, Ararau and Utataki, is one of the Cook Islands, north of Rarotonga. It has a population of approximately 2,000. Aitutaki is the second most visited island of the Cook Islands. The main village is Arutanga (Arutunga) on the west side. Aitutaki is an "almost atoll". It has a maximum elevation of approximately 123 metres with the hill known as Maunga Pu close to its northernmost point. The land area of the atoll is 18.05 km², of which the main island occupies 16.8 km². The Ootu Peninsula, protruding east from the main island in a southerly direction along the eastern rim of the reef, takes up 1.75 km² out of these 16.8 km² for the main island] For the lagoon, area figures between 50 and 74 km² are found. Satellite image measurement suggests that the larger figure also includes the reef flat, which is commonly not considered part of a lagoon.
006-CS4505: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Diving in the lagoon with The big fish, Diving Centre in Rarotonga. Dive in 1-3 meters in the fish filled sheltered marine reserve for approximately 40-50 minutes. You will receive an introductory lesson (how to use your equipment) from one of our experienced professionals here in our dive centre. You will learn how to communicate under water, then be kitted out with scuba gear and walk into the lagoon for a safe entry to the underwater world. Aroa Marine Reserve also has some of the best coral on the island and you will see a huge variety of tropical fish-up close and personal. After your first breath under water, we swim out to the reef where you will be on one of the best spots on the island. There you will have 45-50 minutes just to relax, watch and get comfortable with your equipment…. If you love this, your instructor will ask you if you want to do a dive of the boat. Then you have to do some skills to be prepared for deeper water. Rarotonga is an volcanic island and is completely surrounded by reef. After that the reef slopes down for 200 meters and to a depth of ~30 meters before it ends up in a drop off up to 4500 meters. Within these 200 meters we do our diving. Because of this topography we don't have a huge amount of soft corals, but therefore there are beautiful hard coral formations. The various sides of the island offer you different kinds of dive sites. We are able to show you a diverse range of diving including interesting drop-offs, canyons, caves, swim troughs, passages, wrecks (unfortunately well broken up). You might have the chance to see eagle rays, whitetip reef sharks, turtles, humpback whales (in winter time), baracudas, starpuffer fish, trevallies and much more.
007-CS0520: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. A tourist walks along the edge of the palm-fringed beach in One Foot Island. Stamp Your Passport: Visit Aitutaki's One Foot Island, where you'll enjoy the incredible blue lagoon and a mouth watering beach barbecue, as well as a chance to receive Aitutaki's trademark One Foot passport stamp.. With a vast, sparkling lagoon rivaling Bora Bora's – but with a fraction of the visitors – Aitutaki just might be the world's most beautifully-remote island. Just a 45-minute flight from the main island of Rarotonga, Aitutaki and its surrounding atolls served as the tropical backdrop for "Survivor: Cook Islands." One of 22 islands in the Aitutaki atoll, One Foot Island (or Tapuaetai, "one footprint") is both dreamily-exotic and nearly deserted. It's the perfect place to laze on a powder-white beach or float in the knee-high lagoon. While it may look totally deserted, One Foot is home to one top attraction - a small hut containing one of the world's most remote post offices. Don't forget to bring your passport and you'll depart paradise with a footprint-shaped passport stamp to remember it by. Atiu Island, also known as Enuamanu ('land of the birds') lies 187 kilometres north east of Rarotonga. The third-largest island in the Cooks is over eight million years old. It's also an ecologist's dream and a magnet for the adventurer. On the edge of the island's flat-topped central plateau you'll find Atiu Villas, the island's most developed vacation spot. You'll also find 28 untouched beaches that are almost unvisited – except by those seeking a beautiful, secluded spot. Beautiful Aitutaki. It's believed that the islanders on Aitutaki are descended from Ru, a seafaring warrior who settled there with his four wives. Arriving during a full moon he was captivated by the reflections upon this vast tranquil lagoon and named his landing point O'otu, which means 'full moon'. Today Aitutaki is renowned for its extraordinary natural beauty and relaxed pace of life. Travellers come in search of the palm-fringed beaches that have been luckily spared from mass tourism. Romantic Souls. When it comes to sparking the fires of romance, the heady mix of delicious seclusion and outstanding beauty on offer in the Cook Islands can prove to be a pyrotechnic's dream. Sparks undoubtedly fly for couples seeking adventure on Rarotonga's safari tours, hikes and paddle board trips, while more relaxed love birds flock to Aitutaki to unwind on its white sand beaches and bask in the sun. Both islands also provide excellent spots to tie the knot or renew your vows, and many resorts provide the services of a coordinator who can help to plan an unforgettable day. Getting hitched in the Cooks is hassle-free, as couples only need to have proper documentation and be in destination for three business days prior to the big day in order to receive a marriage licence.
008-CS0390: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Several tourist boats moored on the beach in One Foot. Aitutaki's One Foot Island (Tapuaetai) won the 15th annual World Travel Award for Australasia's best beach. The travel industries equivalent to the Oscars. When you spend a day on One Foot Island it is easy to see why.This beautiful islet offers visitors to Aitutaki some of the best views of the magnificent Aitutaki lagoon. Most day cruises stop here for visitors to enjoy a swim, snorkel and picnic. At low tide you can wade across the sandbank to nearby islands. There are only a couple of houses on One Foot Island. One is the most laid back post office / passport office you will ever come across. While you don't need your passport to step foot on One Foot Island, make sure you bring it along to get it stamped as a unique souvenir of your trip to paradise. The best thing about Aitutaki is, with out a doubt its pristine lagoon. Water Taxis are readily available and can take you off to your own private island to enjoy an intimate day of unforgettable snorkelling, sunbathing or a romantic picnic – you name it! You can also get your passport stamped at "One Foot Island" - the most popular attraction in the Cook Islands. One of the most interesting aspects of your travels to the Cook Islands will be your encounters with the culture and traditions of our people. The friendly locals welcome you with warm smiles that are sure to make your stay at Tamanu Beach Resort a truly unforgettable Pacific Island experience. Aitutaki is known as one of the most heavenly places on Earth. From the air, Aitutaki has to be one of the most beautiful sights in the world, and is just as stunning from the ground. With a lagoon teeming with marine life, plenty of things to see and do and topped off with a tropical climate, Aitutaki can't be beaten for a vacation full of relaxation and fun. Whether you're part of a family, honeymooners, couples, a single traveler or a group, Aitutaki is the destination you've been dreaming about. With a location full of coconut palms, white sand beaches, and the clearest azure waters you've ever seen – it's all just waiting here for you. Aitutaki Lagoon is renowned as one of the most magnificent in the world and its many uninhabited islands make it the most popular destination of the Southern Islands Group. Take a four wheel drive tour, or hire a small scooter or free bicycle from Tamanu Beach Resort and explore the island on your own. A short trip up Mt Mauga Pu provides a fantastic 360 degree vista of the turquoise lagoon with even the most distant motu (small islands) in view. There are several lagoon tours available on Aitutaki; here at Tamanu Beach we can make tour arrangements for you during your stay including Kathy Guinea's fishing tours where your fresh catch will be barbequed for you while you swim and laze on a secluded sandy beach!
009-CS0549: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. A tourist walks along the edge of the palm-fringed beach in One Foot Island. One of the inhabitants of One Foot Island with his sunglasses on. Aitutaki – the hottest holiday destination in the Cook Islands For those seeking tropical paradise, the South Pacific island of Aitutaki in the Cook Islands is hard to beat. Beautiful, romantic and secluded, the coral atoll of Aitutaki is famed for a vast triangular lagoon regularly voted the most idyllic in the world. Here's what to do on the island!
Things to do in Aitutaki
Exquisite warm wáter. Exquisitely clear water in myriad shades of luminous turquoise laps dazzling white sand beaches on a dozen lushly vegetated islets, or motus, scattered around the lagoon perimeter. Absolutely compelling, there is no shortage of ways to enjoy and explore the spectacular gin-clear warm waters, which rarely drop below 25?C.
Explore the sea. Simply pad across the sand from your beachside room to swim amongst tropical fish or take a day cruise to uninhabited motus and snorkelling spots that will astound you. Giant clams and turtles, rainbow coloured parrotfish, vivid blue starfish, bright yellow angelfish, darting trevally and whitespotted eagle rays are readily spotted amongst colourful coral formations.
World's smallest post office. Several cruises stop at One Foot Island, where you can get your passport stamped at the world's smallest official post office. Other popular landings are the islands where Survivor Cook Islands and the Shipwrecked tv series' were filmed and a gorgeous swathe of sand aptly named Honeymoon Island.
Kite surfing and fishing. Sporty types are drawn to Aitutaki for fantastic kite surfing and to flyfish for the fighting bonefish. Outstanding and quickly accessible scuba diving and deep sea fishing for tuna, marlin and swordfish lies just beyond the reef.
Simply relax. Others come simply to relax in tranquil beachside havens ranging from the ultra luxurious, like our Healthy Life Awards 2012 major prize sponsor Pacific Resort Aitutaki, to simple beach huts.
Experience the culture. Learn the history and traditions of the proud Aitutaki people on cultural tours around the main island of Aitutaki, or hire a scooter to explore at your own pace. Mingle with the locals at church, the Saturday market or a handful of art and craft galleries creating colourful pareu (sarongs), black pearl jewellery and wood carvings.
Seafood and beach bars. There are several notable places to eat, including Pacific Resort's Rapae Bay for fine dining, Tupuna's for prestige seafood served in a sandy floored dining room, the delicious Koru Café, and a splendid beach bar at Samade Resort. Tamanu Resort and Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa have weekly island nights demonstrating the Aitutakians' renowned dancing and drumming talents.
Enjoy the world's best. Pacific Resort Aitutaki started 2012 by being voted "World's Leading Boutique Island Resort" for the fourth consecutive year in the World Travel Awards. Pacific Resort Aitutaki is an enclave of privacy, refinement and luxury, which seduces even the most discerning traveller. Pacific Resort Aitutaki, member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World collection, has just 27 luxurious 'absolute beachfront' bungalows, suites and villas all with their own personal, panoramic view of Aitutaki's world-famous lagoon, where every sunset majestically captures the colours of the lagoon and the ocean beyond. Air Rarotonga operates several 45-minute flights daily between the capital Rarotonga and Aitutaki and offers a One Day Aitutaki Excursion that includes transfers, airfares, a lagoon cruise, snorkelling and lunch.
010-CS0921: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Beach at Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa Hotel. Paradise is a much-overused word, but perhaps nowhere is it more apt than here. You will find there are many diversions to dip into, but so often, the simple pleasures will seem more than sufficient. Loll on the beach, laze in a hammock, take a languid dip in the luminous lagoon, relax deeply into one another's company, re-discover the best in yourself and each other. In this place, this paradise, you have the time and the space to rekindle your own good humour, to relight the fire and passion in your embrace, and to truly live in the moment. From the safe sanctuary and separation afforded by your own island hideaway, your mind, body and soul have the opportunity to be healed of life's workaday stresses. Your spirit has a chance to renew itself as you gain a fresh, more balanced perspective on what's truly important in your life. This is the luxury of distance, the ultimate luxury of your own private island sanctuary. Nothing quite prepares you for the deep peace and tranquillity of being on your own private island resort. But once you've experienced the uniqueness, the specialness, of it, nothing else ever quite measures up. This is alluring Aitutaki. When you leave, a piece of it will stay in your heart for always, yearning to return to the place on Earth closest to Heaven. Facilities, Features & Services at The Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa include: Best location in the Cook Islands – nothing can beat being directly on the world's most beautiful lagoon … the only resort located right on Aitutaki Lagoon (check out the map). WOW!
Best views in the Cook Islands – imagine looking out at these jaw-dropping views from your own private island resort … the only private island resort in the Cook Islands. WOW!
Best beaches in Aitutaki – long swathes of secluded champagne sand beaches encircling your private island resort, lined with elegant coconut palms. WOW!
Best swimming in Aitutaki – unlike other spots, here you can swim at any tide, and snorkel in the Marine Reserve which surrounds Motu Akitua. Perfect.
Best intimate bungalow atmosphere on Aitutaki – an authentic truly Polynesian-style boutique all-bungalow resort, with all bungalows well-spaced for privacy. Really feels like staying in your own 'native wooden hut.' Ideal for couples in love and incurable romantics.
Best bungalows in the Cook Islands – nothing compares with staying in a gorgeous Overwater Bungalow with the world's most beautiful lagoon at your feet. The Cook Islands' ONLY Overwater Bungalows. WOW!
Best restaurant location in Aitutaki – the views from the Flying Boat Beach Bar & Grill are to die for, anytime of day, and especially when the whole scene is ablaze at sunset (it's not called Sunset Beach for nothing). Chase a cool sunset cocktail with a mouthwatering lagoonside dinner, with your toes in the sand as the moon rises and the canopy above starts twinkling with a trillion stars. A truly sublime setting.
Best function restaurant on Aitutaki – the Bounty Restaurant provides a wonderfully spacious private function space for medium to large groups complete with an elegant high ceiling and authentic Polynesian-styling, with airy verandahs overlooking the pool and Full Moon Channel. What a memorable location!
Best spa on Aitutaki - SpaPolynesia Spa & Beauty Therapy Centre w Couple's Sauna & Jacuzzi. A complete spa experience, made all the more wonderful for being set on a very special piece of Paradise – Motu Akitua private island. Succumb to true tranquility.
Aitutaki's most sublime wedding location complete with your 'Taputou ~ The Promise' Wedding Package. Your Personal Wedding Planner is right here to help tailor your dream South Seas wedding – right on your own private island resort, with spell-binding views of the world's most beautiful lagoon. An unrivalled location for your paradise wedding – especially if you've brought special friends and family to share it with here in the heart of the South Pacific.
Best range of diversions on Aitutaki – including windsurfing (yes, with our compliments!), plus all of the following complimentary activities: outrigger canoes, kayaks, bicycles, coconut tree climbing & husking show, ei (lei) making, hura (hula) dancing lessons, crab hunting, crab racing, fish feeding, snorkelling, giant chess, games room, board games, in-room movies, guest library, and much more
Best conference setting on Aitutaki – a well-equipped, ideally-sized Conference Room, along with great 'play-time' diversions for your participants when they're ready for a well-earnt break!
Unique vehicle rentals on Aitutaki - easy access to quality Vehicle Rentals and Tour Bookings through our on-site Vehicle Hire / Tour Desk, including a racy red MX5 convertible sports car, Prado and Rav4!
Handy shopping for life's little essentials and authentic souvenirs at the on-site Vaka Gift Shop
Beachfront Freshwater Swimming Pool, with views across the Full Moon Channel. A great place to chill out with a good book and a cool drink.
Godliness – there's an on-site Guest Laundry to keep it clean
Keep in touch with the world if you must – on-site internet booth
011-CS0902: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Swimming pool of Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa Hotel. Right beside the Activities Hut is the waterfalls swimming pool. Which is handy, as that's also right beside Aroa Beach. And because The Rarotongan is luckily located right on the sunshine southwest coast, this means there's sunshine all day on the freshwater pool, the beach, and the lagoon – right up until sunset that is (often a glorious, blazing island sunset). There's plenty of comfortable pool loungers to enjoy, so grab your complimentary pool / beach towel from the Activities Hut and make yourself comfortable for another day in Paradise. After you've soaked up some rays, take a cool dip in the pool. Someone's gotta do it. The sublime Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa rests effortlessly on its own secluded, private island of Motu Akitua - the only private island resort in the Cook Islands. Just a 2 minute ride from the main island of Aitutaki by small private ferry, the isle of Motu Akitua is encircled by broad, expansive beaches the colour of champagne. From here, you as our guest are able to enjoy the only resort facing directly onto the world's most beautiful lagoon, and from here, you can drink in spell-binding views of one of the Wonders of the World to your heart's deep content. Nothing will prepare you for the intensity, the vibrancy, the omniscience, of the lagoon's blue expanse. So intense, so expansive, it is not just a colour you see, it is a blue you feel with every fibre of your being. This is the reason you have journeyed all the way across the oceans, to see, to feel, to truly experience the world's most beautiful lagoon. Staying at The Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa, you will have the opportunity not just to see Aitutaki Lagoon as a day tourist might, but to really experience this true Wonder of the World in all its moods. As day breaks, take your beloved by the hand and stroll in the morning stillness. Lithe, long-legged herons will be out, dipping elegantly into the lagoon's placid glaze. Crabs will be emerging to warm themselves in the day's new sun. And sleeping fishes will be awaking to the day's new thrill. Over a breakfast of succulent, sweet tropical fruits and fresh-baked pastries, gaze out as the sun fires up this mystical lagoon into a vibrant, super-real intensity of blue such as you've never seen before, nor will again. As the day unfolds, watch as the sun lights up the tiny motu floating in the horizon into verdant green, green dots bob, bob, bobbing on a sea of blue. This is indeed a heady combination - the clear South Pacific sun, the swathes of fine white sands, the stillness of your own private island enclave, the big blue sky above, and the endless, everpresent blueness of the lagoon below. A colour so all-embracing you will find yourself willingly succumbing to its power, a power to transfix you into a new state of stillness. As the day draws to a close, gaze out as the lagoon is transformed into a blaze of oranges, pinks, yellows and reds playing on its surface. The big blue sky will transform into a dark, velvety canopy sparkling with a million, trillion diamonds. And as the big, fat yellow moon rises, you will recall that the channel which divides your private island sanctuary from the main island is named O'otu Channel - Full Moon Channel - in remembrance of that night so very long ago when the chiefly Ru - having voyaged across the ocean in his grand Polynesian vaka with his entourage of wives, maidens, brothers and warriors - was the first man to gaze upon Aitutaki, by the light of the full moon.
012-CS0305: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. In a makeshift beachside restaurant delights are prepared with coconut flavor. Maina is one of 22 islands in the Aitutaki atoll of the Cook Islands. It is located at the southwestern extreme of Aitutaki Lagoon, five kilometres to the southwest of the main island of Aitutaki. In front of Maina island stands the beautiful sandbar known as "Honeymoon Island" named after a Canadian couple who decided to get married here.The sand is incredibly white and the water is transparent blue. The sandbar is also home (for a few months a year) of a rare single red feather bird who comes on the island to lay eggs. Aitutaki island is a combination of high island and coral atoll formed from a volcanic eruption on the sea bed, 5 kilometres below the surface of the South Pacific ocean. It is a similar type to Bora Bora in French Polynesia. After Aitutaki rose above the ocean surface, coral formed on the shores of this "high island" (Like Rarotonga is today). Weathering eroded much of the basalt rock but the reef kept building vertically from it's original position, leaving the Aitutaki lagoon between the reef and the remaining basaltic parts of the main island of Aitutaki. The islets of Motu Rapota and Motu Rakau which lie inside the Aitutaki lagoon are blow holes from the main volcano – Maungapu - and lava tunnels run from this mountain underneath the lagoon to those small islands.
013-CS0555: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Two tourists walk along the beach of the Hotel Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa. A hammock invites you to relax. The Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa is an all-bungalow resort located in Aitutaki, in the Cook Islands. Akitua is the island on which the resort is located, and is accessible by a ferry that transports people back and forth from the main island of Aitutaki. Catriona Rowntree, the presenter for Australian Nine Network's travel show Getaway has called the resort her favourite destination. A Magical Hideaway. Secluded and romantic, Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa is nestled on its own island in the pristine waters of Aitutaki Lagoon. Our magical hideaway offers luxury accommodation in paradise; over-water bungalows, beachfront suites, lagoon view bungalows and motel style units. With the help of our local people, the bungalows have been decorated with platted kikau for the roofs, hand-woven pandanus wall matting, coconut hemp rope and locally carved artefacts. All bungalows are air-conditioned and have ceiling fans, a mini bar, direct dial international telephone, hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities. Located in tropical gardens fragrant with frangipani and brightly coloured hibiscus, the lagoon is only steps away through the swaying coconut palms. Or from an overwater bungalow your feet don't need to touch sand, just dive off your sundeck in to cool, blue water!
014-CS0557: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. A tourist practiced rowing next to the beachside Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa Hotel. Aitutaki Lagoon Resort's staff are here to help with all your questions and activity needs. From our reception desk hire motor scooters, bicycles or a car to tour the island or book an organised tour – scuba diving, deep sea fishing, lagoon cruises and much more. Two dedicated activities staff are available to help you enjoy our complimentary canoes, kayaks, windsurfers, snorkelling equipment, beach volleyball, reef walks and more. The famous Aitutaki Lagoon Cruise departs from the resort entrance. Simply book your ticket at reception and prepare for an amazing day of turquoise water, deserted islands and fresh fish BBQ. Restaurants & Entertainment: Our two restaurants provide excellent dining and entertainment. Indulge in a cocktail before dinner at Are Kai Kai Restaurant or try lunch at beach side Ru's Bar & Grill. Every night brings superb Polynesian entertainment including a traditional dance and drum show right on the beach. Join us under the stars.. Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa is the Cook Islands' only private island resort, and the only resort on the world's most beautiful lagoon, fabled Aitutaki Lagoon. This intimate resort offers the Cook Islands' only Overwater Bungalows and now, new Premium Beachfront Bungalows. At this idyllic romantic retreat enjoy breathtaking lagoon views, champagne sand beaches, inviting warm waters and dining under the tropical moon and southern stars. Here at Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa feel free to laze in a beach hammock, slip into the luminous lagoon, ease into a soothing massage at SpaPolynesia, then sit back and relax with a sunset cocktail at the enchanting Flying Boat Beach Bar & Grill. Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa is especially ideal for wedding and honeymoon couples offering the beautiful Royal Honeymoon Pool Villa and dedicated wedding venue, Oneroa Beach Chapel. For those wanting to enjoy one of the world's best lagoon playgrounds the Watersports Centre offers complimentary stand up paddle boards, windsurfing, kayaking, outrigger canoes. The ultimate romantic South Seas island retreat.
015-CS0568: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. A couple enjoys a romantic dinner by the beach in Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa Hotel. As the only resort directly on the world's most beautiful lagoon, The Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa is truly blessed. This exclusive all-bungalow resort is one-of-a-kind in many other respects also. It is the only private island resort in the Cook Islands. The Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa is a luxury resort destination on one of the most famous lagoons in the world. This Cook Islands paradise provides a naturally romantic setting, and the resort is a popular accommodation option, especially with honeymoon couples, those wishing to get married in Aitutaki, and anyone looking for an idyllic paradise island getaway. Guests may choose between beachfront and garden bungalows or opt for an overwater bungalow - the only destination in Cook Islands to offer overwater accommodation. The resort offers top hotel amenities, fine cuisine and a range of recreational activities: 7 Overwater bungalows - Cook Islands only overwater accommodation. 14 Beachfront and 16 Garden bungalows. Air-conditioning, TV/DVD/CD, king or queen beds, mini-bar etc. Relax at The Flying Boat Beach Bar & Grill. The Bounty Restaurant offers fine dining experience. Theme nights and Aitutaki entertainment. Complimentary activities include snorkeling, kayaking, biking, beach volleyball, guided hikes and cultural activities. Pay-for activities include deep sea fishing and scuba diving. Romantic wedding packages. Spa Facility at the SpaPolynesia, with extensive health and beauty treatments available. Complimentary bottle of champagne and his/hers island pareus (sarongs) for honeymooners staying for 3 nights or more. Aitutaki is about 40 minutes by air from the International Airport on Rarotonga. The resort is located on Akitua island, with wonderful views over this breathtakingly beautiful lagoon.
016-CS0944: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Polynesian dances in Aitutaki Punarei Culture Tours. This is a unique opportunity to learn about our ancient culture, lost identity, legends and traditional ways of our ancestors. Our Exciting and Informative Tour includes: Pick up and return from your accommodation. A Welcome to our Punarei Cultural Village that has been re-constructed to mirror traditional village structures and methodologies used prior to the arrival of the missionaries. An introduction by our experienced guides to the history and ways of life of our ancestors. A visit to an historic site created prior to the arrival of Christianity. Our experienced guides will explain life as it was then and the purpose of the site. A traditional feast (Umukai) for lunch onsite at our Cultural Village. This is a hands on experience not to be missed. Operating on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (9.00am to 1.00pm)
NZ$40 Children (Under 14)
Children under 4 years old are freeKia Orana (Welcome) to Aitutaki Punarei Culture Village Tours.
We invite you to discover the history, traditional skills, art and beliefs of our beautiful Island also known as ARAURA ENUA. This is a unique opportunity for you to learn about our ancient culture, myths, legends and traditional ways of our ancestors. My full name is Ngaakaara Kita Taria Pureariki, People call me Ngaa… that's pretty much easier to pronounce. I grew up on Aitutaki with my grand Papa & Mama… well that's their Tupuna's (ancestors) name. Let me explain the meaning of this name in a short version. The name Ngaakaara kita Taria Pureariki came from the Nga-pu-toru, particularly Enuamanu know today as Atiu. My Grand Father's Family came from the Chief line. I'm very proud to have carried this very important name. My point is when you are named in various high ranging there is a reason why they name you that, to carry their work for generations to come. 8 years ago I walked down the valley of my Tupuna and this is where the end begin.
017-CS0751: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. A beautiful woman interprets dances of Polynesia at the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa Hotel. Everyone at The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa is very proud of our Cook Islands history, our culture, our music, our dance and our people, and we're excited to be able to share it with you as part of our Complimentary Daily Activities Programme. Often the word 'culture' conjures up something heavy, worthy, and not very interesting. Not so in Rarotonga. Here 'culture' is another word for fun, laughter and high spirits. Nowhere on Earth will you find a people more genuinely willing to share their culture with you - in a natural, unaffected way, peppered with a lot of good humour. Some of the highlights of our range of cultural activities include: Coconut Show – see how the masters climb tall coconut palms (technically speaking, not 'trees'), pluck a nut and show you how to husk and open it Ei (lei) making – In Hawaiian, a lei. In Rarotongan, an ei. Learn to make your own from fresh tropical blooms – one of our most popular activities, and you can wear it to our riveting 'Legends of Polynesia' Island Night Dinner / Show that evening. Hura (hula) dancing – once you've seen genuine Cook Islands dancing, you'll realize why these are the best dancers in all of Polynesia, sought after around the world for 'Polynesian Shows'. You'll feel good shakin' your booty – plus you'll gain a new appreciation for just how skilled they really are. Then again, they've been doing this since before they could walk. Log drum playing – when Cook Islanders play their drums, you can hear the heartbeat of Mother Earth. The instinctual sense of rhythm, the super-human speed of the beat – it's a sound which drives straight to your soul. They make it look natural and almost effortless. Just try it and see. Ukelele playing – for many, the lilting island strings is like the signature sound of the South Pacific. Enjoy strumming your own island tune, your way. Pareu tying – there's so many looks you can get from one length of fabric, why doesn't the whole world live this way? So easy, breezy and … inexpensive! Palm frond weaving – learn how to make your own sun hat from coconut fronds Ika Mata – learn to make the Cook Islands national dish, yum (make from the freshest tuna steeped in fresh coconut milk, onion, tomato, and a little chilli). Cook Islands culture continues to be something lived and breathed by the people in their every day lives. Because most Cook Islanders speak English, it is relatively easy to gain a little insight into the richness of the culture – unlike places where there is a language barrier, or where tourists are not genuinely welcomed. Our Activities Team is always willing to share their deep love and knowledge of their culture with you as our valued guest. Immerse yourself in some wonderful aspects of exotic Cook Islands culture, and by doing so, deeply enrich your vacation experience – and have a whole heap of fun doing it!
018-CS0819: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. A child plays typical fire dances of the Polynesian in the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa Hotel. Daily Activities Programme. Time and time again our guests remark on how much their holiday has been enriched by the warmth, friendliness, sense of fun and depth of local knowledge shared freely with them by our Activities Team members. And this too is often why they return, time and again, to The Rarotongan rather than stay at an isolated bach. Because here at The Rarotongan, you can enjoy one of the most extensive free activities programmes you are likely to find anywhere on Earth. It's all laid on, right here at The Rarotongan. Resort Orientation – others include this as a bonus offer (!!), here at The Rarotongan, it's a given … Snorkelling Lessons in the Pool or Lagoon – great for when you're a bit rusty, or haven't had a go before. Very patient, sympathetic instructors. Snorkelling Safaris in pristine Aroa Lagoon Marine Reserve – it's good to go with a knowledgeable guide, then use our Snorkelling Map another time and do it your way (yip, we even publish an Aroa Lagoon Snorkelling Map – only at The Rarotongan!) Night Snorkelling – unique to The Rarotongan, and one of our most popular and fascinating excursions Fish Feeding – this is one of the absolute highlights for so many guests, young and young at heart! The fish are the friendliest you'll fine anywhere Guided Kayaking Safaris – drink in some great views of the majestic mountains from Aroa Lagoon Guided Nature & Village Walks – The Rarotongan is located in beautiful Aroa, between Rutaki and Kavera villages, well away from any other resorts or hotels. It's a picturesque little area to explore, especially when you go with someone who knows the locals and the lay of the land. Beach Volleyball on prime Aroa Beach Water Polo in the Waterfalls Pool Tennis Coaching Crab Hunting – of course we employ a catch and release system. Crab Racing – people, they'll bet on anything! Culture – no, this is not a code-word for boring (see below). Check out the Activities Blackboard (located beside the Activities Hut) or your nightly Guest Newsletter for the day's schedule of activities, and enjoy! Open every day, from 8am to 6pm.
019-CS1282: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Close-up of a flower. In the distance the Paul Gauguin cruise ship docked on the island of Aitutaki, Cook Islands. Paul Gauguin Cruises operates the m/s Paul Gauguin, the renowned, award-winning, 5-star-plus, luxury cruise ship built specifically to sail the waters of Tahiti, French Polynesia and the South Pacific. Since its maiden voyage in 1998, the m/s Paul Gauguin has been the longest continually operating, year-round luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific. No other luxury ship in history has offered this level of single-destination focus and expertise on a year-round basis for such an extended period of time. Paul Gauguin Cruises is committed to providing an unequalled luxury cruise experience uniquely tailored to the unparalleled wonders of Tahiti, French Polynesia and the South Pacific. Our numerous World's Best awards demonstrate our dedication to guest satisfaction, excellence, quality and value. All ocean-view accommodations, nearly 70% with private balconies. All shipboard gratuities included; Complimentary beverages including soft drinks, hot beverages and select wines and spirits included. Single open-seating dining. m/s Paul Gauguin was built specifically to sail the waters of Tahiti and French Polynesia. Complimentary exclusive Private Retreats with a private beach in Bora Bora and a full day call at our private island, Motu Mahana. Intimately sized, catering to only 332 guests per voyage. Onboard watersports marina platform with complimentary kayaking, windsurfing, waterskiing and dive masters for optional dive programs and certification. m/s Paul Gauguin is the longest continually operating luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific.
020-CS1039: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Paul Gauguin cruise that docks in the main islands of Polynesia as seen from the Aitutaki Punarei Culture Tours. Paul Gauguin Cruises is a cruise line owned by Beachcomber Croisieres Limited with headquarters in Bellevue, Washington. Paul Gauguin Cruises operates the luxury cruise ship, the Paul Gauguin, to Tahiti, French Polynesia and the South Pacific. The company and ship had been sailing under the name Regent Seven Seas Cruises from 1998–2010 until Paul Gauguin Cruises took over the ship and its operations in January 2010. The parent company, Beachcomber Croisieres Limited, had previously acquired the line in 2009. On September 30, 2011 the line announced the acquisition of a second ship. The ship will be christened as the m/v Tere Moana in December 2012. The ship will only contain 45 staterooms and can carry up to 90 passengers, which is much smaller than the company's first ship. The company planned to renovate the ship in November 2012. Paul Gauguin currently sails year-round to Tahiti & Society Islands, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Fiji, Marquesas, Tonga, Tuamotus, Australia & New Zealand. The new ship the m/v Tere Moan is to debut in the Mediterranean, Caribbean, and Latin America, which represents a first for the cruise line.
021-CS1127: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Landscape and wood carving of Tangaroa God in Aitutaki Punani Culture Tours. Woodcarving is a common art form in the Cook Islands. The proximity of islands in the southern group helped produce a homogeneous style of carving but which had special developments in each island. Rarotonga is known for its fisherman's gods and staff-gods, Atiu for its wooden seats, Mitiaro, Mauke and Atiu for mace and slab gods and Mangaia for its ceremonial adzes. Most of the original wood carvings were either spirited away by early European collectors or were burned in large numbers by missionary zealots. Today, carving is no longer the major art form with the same spiritual and cultural emphasis given to it by the Maori in New Zealand. However, there are continual efforts to interest young people in their heritage and some good work is being turned out under the guidance of older carvers. Atiu, in particular, has a strong tradition of crafts both in carving and local fibre arts such as tapa. Mangaia is the source of many fine adzes carved in a distinctive, idiosyncratic style with the so-called double-k design. Mangaia also produces food pounders carved from the heavy calcite found in its extensive limestone caves. The outer islands produce traditional weaving of mats, basketware and hats. Particularly fine examples of rito hats are worn by women to church. They are made from the uncurled immature fibre of the coconut palm and are of very high quality. The Polynesian equivalent of Panama hats, they are highly valued and are keenly sought by Polynesian visitors from Tahiti. Often, they are decorated with hatbands made of minuscule pupu shells which are painted and stitched on by hand. Although pupu are found on other islands the collection and use of them in decorative work has become a speciality of Mangaia. The weaving of rito is a speciality of the northern island of Penrhyn. A major art form in the Cook Islands is tivaevae. This is, in essence, the art of handmade Island scenery patchwork quilts. Introduced by the wives of missionaries in the 19th century, the craft grew into a communal activity and is probably one of the main reasons for its popularity.
Contemporary art. The Cook Islands has produced internationally recognised contemporary artists, especially in the main island of Rarotonga. Artists include painter (and photographer) Mahiriki Tangaroa, sculptors Eruera (Ted) Nia (originally a film maker) and master carver Mike Tavioni, painter (and Polynesian tattoo enthusiast) Upoko'ina Ian George, Aitutakian-born painter Tim Manavaroa Buchanan, Loretta Reynolds, Judith Kunzlé, Joan Rolls Gragg, Kay George (who is also known for her fabric designs), Apii Rongo, Varu Samuel, and multi-media, installation and community-project artist Ani O'Neil, all of whom currently live on the main island of Rarotonga. Atiuan-based Andrea Eimke is an artist who works in the medium of tapa and other textiles, and also co-authored the book 'Tivaivai – The Social Fabric of the Cook Islands' with British academic Susanne Kuechler. Many of these artists have studied at university art schools in New Zealand and continue to enjoy close links with the New Zealand art scene. New Zealand-based Cook Islander artists include Michel Tuffrey, print-maker David Teata, Richard Shortland Cooper, Sylvia Marsters and Jim Vivieaere. On Rarotonga, the main commercial galleries are Beachcomber Contemporary Art (Taputapuatea, Avarua) run by Ben & Trevon Bergman, and The Art Gallery ('Arorangi). The Cook Islands National Museum also exhibits art.
022-CS1092: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Playing the ukulele (typical Polynesian guitar) in Aitutaki Punani Culture Tours. Tahitian ukulele. Ideally, the best way to learn the uke is to spend a bit of time in Tahiti, The Cook Islands, Rapa nui, Marquesas, Niue or Aotearoa(NZ) and just jam with the locals. Like all music in the pacific, the uke is generally learnt from a young age and gradually picked up over time from family or friends. Polynesian music is also learnt and played by ear, so when someone starts singing or playing a song you just listen for the key and join in. If you can play a Hawaiian uke then you should be able to pick up the Tahitian uke a lot faster as the chord patterns are basically the same. The main difference is the lead work and strumming techniques/patterns which take a bit of time to master. Koata from Kanua ukuleles has a series of excellent instructional videos (See below) to get you started. Strumming: One of the hardest things about playing island ukes is the fast strum. On a guitar or Hawaiian uke, it's usually done flamenco style using all the fingers but with the Island style uke we just use a pick. The first thing you need to do is practice getting a rapid strum action by pivoting from the wrist. Once you get a clear and even vibrating sound going, you can then start creating funkier rhythms by flicking the wrist a bit harder on the particular down strum you want to stress. For example, you can emphasize every 5th or 7th down strum (although its actually hard to count the exact number because this stum is so fast!). It's the down strums which accentuate the particular rhythm you want. The more advanced stumming rhythms are sometimes similar to Rutu Pa'u (Cook Island drumming) and especially patterns played on the Pate (lead rhythm drum). It takes a while (sometimes years) to get the rapid strum rhythms wired, so just keep at it!
023-CS1376: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Some kayaks await tourists on the beach in Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa Hotel. Go Kayaking - Kayaking is an easy, fun, and relaxed way to explore the lagoon around Rarotonga island. The best place for kayaking on Rarotonga is around Muri Beach and the southeast coast near four uninhabited islands. The Cook Islands consist of 15 islands scattered over an area of about 2 million square kilometers in the Pacific Ocean. The islands are little snippets of paradise that invite you to come and get away from it all, to soak in the sun and thousands of years of Polynesian history and culture. Rarotonga is the largest and most visited island. This place is completely surrounded by a reef which means beautiful white beaches and tropical turquoise waters, while imposing mountain peaks, interspersed with dense rain forest, make for some fantastic scenery on the island.
Muri Beach - This popular beach is situated on the southeast corner of Rarotonga and is protected by a lagoon. A kayak or canoe can be hired here for about $13 USD for a day. There is good snorkeling too.
Aitutaki Day Cruise - The southern island of Aitutaki boasts the world's largest coral lagoons, inhabited by huge clams and multicolored tropical fish.
Scuba Diving - The dive sites on the Cook Islands are considered perfect for beginner divers because the sites are close to the shore and the currents aren't too strong.
Te Vara Nui Village - Te Vara Nui Village is the cultural center where you can learn about the history of the native population. Ura Po is a popular thing to do. It is a dining and island night show on floating and fixed stages set in botanical gardens surrounded by waterfalls.
Hiking - There are several excellent hikes around the main island of Rarotonga. The most popular trails include Papua Waterfall, Avana Valley and Raemaru Lookout. Each take around 2 hours to complete. Pa's mountain treks offer quite strenuous three-hour hikes across Rarotonga, passing Te Rua Manga at 413 meters with great views toward the coast.
Tinomana Palace - The palace is a two-story formation of coral and lime. It is located in Arorangi village and was constructed by the British. The name means 'The Peace Brought by Christianity'.
Traditional Dance Shows - These dances are based on traditional island stories passed down through the generations. There are many places here where you can combine a dinner and dance show. It's a little touristy, but still festive and entertaining.
Fishing - The Cook Islands offer exceptional opportunities for deep sea game fishing. The currents, reefs and submarine topography foster ideal conditions for wahoo, barracuda. dolphin fish, yellowfin and skipjack tuna, sailfish, marlin and mahi mahi.
Aitutaki Marine Research Center – This small research center is often working on some form of marine restoration and has green sea turtles which visitors are able to pick up.
Punanga Nui Market – This market in town is filled with many locally made crafts, produce, baked goods, musicians, and people.
Arai-Te-Tonga Koutu-nui-Ariki – Not far from town lay the ruins of an ancient royal court. This particular area is where tribal feasts were held. There is a 10-foot platform and large stone pillars, though most of the area is overgrown.
Papua Waterfall – This waterfall is at the end of a beautiful hike and has a natural pool to swim in.
Brush up on your Marine Biology – The Cook Islands Whale and Wildlife museum is a tiny place, but offers lots of interesting displays of fossils and skeletons. It's a good option for a stormy day, or if you just need to get out of the sun.
Snorkel the Maitai Wreck - In 1916, a boat carrying a load of Model T Fords sunk off the coast of Roratonga. The wreck is only four or five meters underwater, and clear visibility makes it great for snorkeling.
024-CS1397: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Some tourists take a sun bath on the beach of Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa Hotel. One big playground just outside your door. For families Aitutaki is really one big playground just outside the door of your accommodation. It is also very safe. Children, young and older, can spend hours enjoying the lagoon - above and below water - while they are swimming, kayaking, snorkelling and sailing. Back on land you can explore on bicycles, hike around some of the inland trails, go beachcombing and take a four-wheel drive safari. The pace of life is gentle here, there is only one television channel (unless you are staying somewhere with Sky satellite televison), and shopping is limited to the basics and some local crafts. Clams at the Research Centre. The Aitutaki Marine Research Centre is an interesting visit for all the family. Their projects include farming giant clams that are later moved to the lagoon and to aquariums overseas. There are also baby sea turtles. The research centre is open weekdays and will do tours. Several lagoon trips include a stop around the clams that have been relocated into the lagoon, and it is interesting to compare their beginnings back at the research station with their growth out in the lagoon If you go snorkelling with one of the boat tours you will also see some of the mature giant clams (Tridacnidae gigas) out in the lagoon. The research station is located on the way to the golf club on the north western side of the island. Family-friendly accommodation. Families often choose self-catering accommodation and there are several choices of accommodators with well-equipped units with kitchens and laundry facilities. You will find food is generally a bit more expensive than on Rarotonga because of the freight involved. The local market, supermarket and shops usually have fresh local vegetables and fruit for sale although the supply depends on the season. Sometimes mosquitoes and sand flies can be a problem on Aitutaki. The accommodation units will be screened but take plenty of repellent in case they are a problem on inland jaunts or at the beach.
025-CS1411: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Some tourists take pictures and take a sun bath on the beach of Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa Hotel. Reinvigorate and rejuvenate body and soul. There are two spa options on Aitutaki to reinvigorate and rejuvenate body and soul. You deserve it!. Spa Polynesia at the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa has two separate spa facilities, and offer special treatments on the beach or by the pool as well as at the spa Here is a small selection from their menu: Maorooro Aromatherapy Massage, Tama Coconut Scrub, SpaPolynesia ThalassoAlgae Body Wrap, Vaevae SpaPedicure, Rekareka Pamper Pac, Navenave Indulgence Pack. They also offer honeymoon pamper packs. At the Pacific Resort Spa the range of treatments and therapies includes the unforgettable 4-hour Pure Indulgence treatment. Other options in their range of treatments includes aromatherapy treatments, facials, skin treatments for men and women, body massages, and luxurious manicures and pedicures.
Explore the beaches and inland roads. There is more to Aitutaki than its gorgeous lagoon. The island itself is charming and you can explore its beaches and inland roads at a very leisurely pace. Aitutaki also has some hidden archaeological treasures. There is an island tour in a small shuttle bus that is a fun way to see Aitutaki and find out about island life. To explore the inland tracks built by the American servicemen during World War 2, and also to find out about the ancient pre-Christian marae (sacred sites) and their archaeological excavations, you are best to take a 4-wheel drive tour. Ngaakitai Pureariki is owner/operator of Aitutaki Safari Adventures and was the driving force behind the clearing and replanting of Te Poako o Rae Marae on the eastern side of the island. This site covers around 1.6 hectares (4 acres) and has intriguing groupings of large stones standing upright in the ground. Carbon dating has revealed the marae was established around 1000AD. Ngaakitai was also director of the excavations on the site of the Paengaariki marae, working with archaeologist Mark Eddowes and a field crew of Aitutaki locals. These excavations are still in progress and are expected to reveal information about when the marae was built and the ceremonies and activities that took place there. There are already indicators of the ancestors' ancient beliefs and practices. The project is ongoing and all artefacts recovered will be measured, drawn to scale and photographed. They will remain on the island.
026-CS1358: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Giant chess set on the beach of the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa Hotel. With a lagoon that is arguably one of the most beautiful in the world, a cruise out on its pristine water is an absolute must. You are likely to be so enchanted, that you'll book another tour for the next day. Back on land, the island of Aitutaki has an interesting history and there are excavations of local marae underway. You can take a safari tour to these ancient places, explore the island and also find out about the legacy of the American troops stationed here during WWII. For novice scooter riders, Aitutaki is generally safer than Rarotonga where traffic can be quite busy at times. (There are also no dogs.) There are not many shops but there is also some locally made handcraft for sale. And when it comes to the nightlife, well these guys know how to party! Aitutaki also has world class restaurants, some fun casual places to meet up with locals and Island Nights. Aitutakians are known as some of the best dancers in the Cook Islands - which is an impressive reputation in this country of dancers. Their agility, rhythm and grace are often recognised in the national dance competitions. Aitutakians are also acknowledged to be excellent drummers. Now they are extending their repertoire to include dancing with fire. It all makes for stunning showmanship by these modern Pacific warriors. It also makes the Island and Cultural Night a special event on Aitutaki. There are shows on most nights of the week at different resorts and venues. Island Nights usually include a buffet feast featuring local and international dishes, or an a la carte menu. You need to make reservations for an Island Night.
027-CS0879: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. One of the employees of the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa Hotel dressed in the typical flower of Polynesia. Today it's all about balance. Striking just the right balance between much needed relaxation that your body craves, sprinkled with just enough fascinating diversions to leave your body, mind and soul feeling re-energized and re-vitalized. What you need is an injection of true South Seas spirit. And that's where the Cook Islands' iconic Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa comes in. When you select The Rarotongan for your vacation escape, you've selected the resort on Rarotonga with the best balance between peaceful seclusion on the island's prime beach, and the most extensive array of activities to enjoy with our compliments. One of the most enjoyable and memorable things about The Rarotongan which will help make your vacation complete is the vibrant resort atmosphere filled with possibilities. You can dip into any of the wide array of scheduled activities on the daily-changing Activities Programme, or you can enjoy the free hire from the Activities Hut of any of a wide range of equipment. Pepper your days in Paradise with such enjoyable diversions as outrigger canoeing, kayaking, first-class snorkelling, fish feeding, dingies, tennis, pool table, table tennis, table soccer, use of the gym, games lounge, guest library, life-size chess and much more. Or join in with a scheduled activity – each evening your Guest Newsletter will be delivered to your door with a full outline of the following day's activities, along with lots of helpful information on Special Offers at SpaPolynesia, upcoming Dinner / Shows, your menu of in-room movies, and some insights into or unique but very approachable local culture or nature. If you're feeling a little jaded by the pressures and strains of daily life, one look at the following day's Activities Programme is bound to spark your interest in trying something new and different. And that's the spice of life – South Seas style.
028-CS0332: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Portrait of one of its inhabitants. The discoverer of Aitutaki was Ru-enua. In Havaiki, he noted that the valleys were crowded and the hills were covered with people. With his four wives, four brothers,and twenty unmarried tapairu women of high rank, he set sail in the canoe, Ngapua-Ariki, to seek a new home. As various dangers were encountered, he allayed the fears of his crew by confidently stating, " We shall not die.. Am I not Ru, the man who was girdled with the red belt of chieftainship and who knows the things of the air and the things of the sea." During a storm, after the sky had been obscured for some time, he thus addressed the Sea-god Tangaroa--. " O Tangaroa, in the illimitable spaces of the unknown, Clear away the clouds by day, Clear away the clouds by night, That Ru may see the stars in the sky, To guide him to the land of his desire," On the sixth day of the voyage, and the ootu night of the moon, Ru sailed in through a passage in the reef on the North-East side of the island now known as Aitutaki. The passage was named Ootu, from the night of their landing, It could not have been an easy arrival. One of Ru's brothers died – he was crushed underneath the canoe as it was being hauled across the coral A sacred place, or marae, was built and named , Te Hautapu-o-nga-Ariki. The island was named Utataki- enua-o-Ru-ki-te-moana. The name was derived from utauta, a cargo, and taki, to lead, It refers to Ru leading the valuable human cargo over the sea. Another name given to the island is Ararau-enua-o-Ru-ki-te-moana, Ararau is to search for land at sea with a canoe, and the name applied to the island refers to Ru's search on the ocean. The first name was shortened to Aitutaki, and the second to Araura. Araura should be spelt as Arahura, and it is difficult to see how it is connected with ararau. The meaning of ararau is significant of a period when many voyages of discovery were undertaken. All true Aitutakians trace their descent back to one or other of the twenty tapairu women of high rank who accompanied Ru, Our oral tradition in chants, legends and geneology traces Ru back to the island of Tubuai in the Australs.
029-CS1152: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Calling by phone with a shell in Aitutaki Punani Culture Tours. The languages of the Cook Islands include English, Cook Islands M?ori, or "Rarotongan," and Pukapukan. Dialects of Cook Islands Maori include Penrhyn; Rakahanga-Manihiki; the Ngaputoru dialect of Atiu, Mitiaro, and Mauke; the Aitutaki dialect; and the Mangaian dialect. Cook Islands Maori and its dialectic variants are closely related to both Tahitian and to New Zealand M?ori. Pukapukan is considered closely related to the Samoan language. English and Cook Islands Maori are official languages of the Cook Islands. The economy is strongly affected by geography. It is isolated from foreign markets, and has some inadequate infrastructure; it lacks major natural resources, has limited manufacturing and suffers moderately from natural disasters. Tourism provides the economic base which makes up approximately 67.5% of GDP. Additionally, the economy is supported by foreign aid, largely from New Zealand. The Peoples' Republic of China has also contributed foreign aid which has resulted in, among other projects, the Police Headquarters building. The Cook Islands is expanding its agriculture, mining and fishing sectors, with varying success. Since approximately 1989, the Cook Islands have become a location specialising in so-called asset protection trusts, by which debtors, or those fearful of becoming debtors, seek to shelter assets from the reach of creditors. The Cook Islands is a representative democracy with a parliamentary system in an associated state relationship with New Zealand. Executive power is exercised by the government, with the Chief Minister as head of government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Parliament of the Cook Islands. There is a pluriform multi-party system. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The Head of State is the Queen of New Zealand, who is represented in the Cook Islands by the Queen's Representative. The islands are self-governing in "free association" with New Zealand. New Zealand retains primary responsibility for external affairs, with consultation with the Cook Islands government. Cook Islands nationals are citizens of New Zealand and can receive New Zealand government services, but the reverse is not true; New Zealand citizens are not Cook Islands nationals. Despite this, as of 2011, the Cook Islands had diplomatic relations in its own name with 34 other countries. The Cook Islands is not a United Nations member state, but, along with Niue, has had their "full treaty-making capacity" recognised by United Nations Secretariat, and is a full member of the WHO and UNESCO UN specialized agencies and is an associate member of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).
030-CS1217: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Aitutaki sacred place. Early Polynesian settlement. Traditional oral history says that Aitutaki was discovered by the Polynesian voyager Ru around 1000 years ago. It is believed Ru and his entourage of his wives, brothers, warriors and beautiful maidens had left their home island of Raiatea searching for new land and opportunities. Ru landed his double-hulled voyaging vaka (canoe) via the channel that runs between Ootu Beach and Akitua Island. Fascinating details about the lives of the early Polynesians who settled after Ru's discovery are slowly being revealed now in the archaeological excavations taking place on Aitutaki. Carbon datings from Paengariki marae (sacred site), the first site to be systematically excavated, reveal the marae was established around 1000A.D. Fieldwork has unearthed human remains as well as adzes and stone from slingshot. A 4-wheel drive tour operated by Ngaakitai Pureariki, who has been the trainee archaeologist and driving force behind these excavations, is a fascinating insight into island life long ago. Captain Bligh was here in 1789. Aitutaki's European discoverer was Captain William Bligh, on board the Bounty, on 11 April 1789. The famous mutiny took place just 17 days later as the ship was en route to Tonga. In 1821, the missionary John Williams came and left behind Papeiha and Vahapata, two newly converted missionaries from Tahiti, to begin the work of bringing Christianity to the Cooks. Williams returned two years later to find they had made remarkable progress and as a consequence Aitutaki became the first island of the Cooks to adopt Christianity. The CICC church here is the oldest in the country. During World War 2 several thousand American servicemen were stationed here to build the island's two long runways. They also created a series of inland tracks.
031-CS1504: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. A sign points the way to reach the beach desdde the luxurious Hotel Pacific Resort Aitutaki. Ocean. This Cook Islands accommodation is limited to just 27 luxurious absolute Beachfront Bungalows, Suites and Villas. All rooms have their own personal panoramic views of Aitutaki`s world famous lagoon. "A fantastic achievement for the group" says Pacific Resort Aitutaki Resort Manager Jason Strickland. "From the team on the ground at Pacific Resort Aitutaki thank you for all the hard work that gets done behind the scenes and at our other properties, past and present, that put us all in the position to achieve such recognition". "It is a real honour to be named for this list that recognises forward thinking hotels in our region". Aitutaki Cook Islands also has land tours to show you more of our verdant island and teach you a little about this unique Aitutaki Cook Islands culture. While visiting the Aitutaki lagoon you can climb to the highest point on Aitutaki, tour working Aitutaki plantations, see ancient mares, and learn about Aitutaki history and culture. Aitutaki Cook Islands, is also easy to get around on your own and there are places to rent bikes and scooters to make your Cook Islands travel a little easier! Dining on Aitutaki offers you enough variety to keep your vacation interesting. You can grab a burger or fish and chips at one of the take-away spots on Aitutaki's main street, or savor a gourmet meal in a garden setting or over looking the gorgeous Aitutaki lagoon. Most Aitutaki hotels and Aitutaki resort offer kitchen facilities so you can dine in, if you choose. Aitutaki has several food stores, most within walking distance of your Aitutaki accommodation. Aitutaki is laid back and relaxed but there are still spots to enjoy a little South Pacific night life.
032-CS1464: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Seaside swimming pool at the Hotel Pacific Resort Aitutaki. Pacific Resort Aitutaki welcomes you to one of the world's most secluded boutique island resorts offering luxurious Aitutaki hotel accommodation. Surrounded by the crystal clear turquoise waters of Aitutaki lagoon, the idyllic atoll of Aitutaki is a magical destination. Explore the sights. Enjoy the sophistication of delicious cuisine, attentive high quality service and modern resort facilities. Discover true relaxation. With just 27 luxurious beachfront suites, villas, premium bungalows and ultimate bungalows all situated within steps of the Pacific Ocean, Pacific Resort Aitutaki is secluded and peaceful. Pacific Resort Aitutaki is an award winning resort, winning "World's Leading Boutique Island Resort" in the World Travel Awards of 2008, 2009 and 2010. We are the Cook Islands' only member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World collection. Pacific Resort Hotel Group dominates at 20th Annual World Travel Awards Pacific Resort Hotel Group is once again proud to announce that Pacific Resort Aitutaki has dominated at the Asia & Australasia regional ceremony for the 2013 World Travel Awards, capturing three major titles, also qualifying the 5 star boutique resort as finalists for the "World's Leading" cate..
033-CS1489: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Inside one of the rooms of the luxurious Hotel Pacific Resort Aitutaki. This luxury 5 star Cook Islands accommodation is the perfect choice for a romantic and memorable honeymoon or relax family holiday. Pacific Resort Aitutaki boasts intimate boutique style accommodation in a simply amazing location that overlooks the stunning turquoise ocean. Relax, unwind and rejuvenate at Pacific Resort Aitutaki. Pacific Resort Hotel Group (PRHG) is delighted to announce that Pacific Resort Aitutaki has been named in HotelsCombined's inaugural Stellar Stays Awards 2013. These awards have singled out 33 outstanding properties across Asia Pacific with Pacific Resort Aitutaki being the only Cook Islands property to make the cut. HotelsCombined, the world's leading hotel discovery and price comparison website, announced its "honour roll" list this week including the crème de la crème of hotels, with eight Australian properties recognised and another 25 from across Asia and the Pacific. Other properties in the region include the prestigious Four Seasons Bora Bora (French Polynesia), InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa (Fiji) and The Langham Auckland (New Zealand). Kristen McKenzie, Head of PR and Community at HotelsCombined, said, "Judged on detailed criteria, the result is an independent selection of properties that are truly extraordinary on a variety of levels. Not only do these hotels boast a high satisfaction rating amongst both guests and travel industry experts, but they also strive to make a positive difference with dedicated environmental and community initiatives. Conscientious tourism is a subject we take very seriously at HotelsCombined as evidenced by our Green Hotels and Responsible Tourism Initiative. We are delighted to applaud those similarly working towards a more sustainable future for the industry." While most people think Aitutaki travel is all about relaxing, Aitutaki accommodation provide plenty of activities to keep you busy. The Aitutaki lagoon is the highlight of any Cook Islands travel. Water activities such as swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, deep sea fishing, and Aitutaki lagoon tours comprise most of the Aitutaki "To Do" list. When you imagine a South Pacific vacation, chances are it involves crystal clear water and brightly colored fish; look no further than the Aitutaki lagoon! You can easily snorkel the magnificent, turquoise water just off the beach but you won't want to miss taking an Aitutaki lagoon tour and a chance to swim, snorkel, and explore one of the many motus (small islands) of Aitutaki. If your Aitutaki travel dreams include a chance to catch the big one, Aitutaki has several deep sea fishing charters. Aitutaki Cook Islands is also fast becoming known as a world class spear fishing destination in the South Pacific. And for those who want to see Aitutaki Cook Islands on a "deeper" level, then there are scuba diving tours that can take you outside the Aitutaki lagoon for a chance to see below the surface of Aitutaki. There are Aitutaki Cook Islands hotels that offer kayaks for their guests, as well as kayak rentals around the island, for those wishing to paddle. However you experience it, the Aitutaki lagoon will leave you wishing your Cook Islands vacation would never end! Back on land, the Aitutaki Lagoon has lots of opportunity for fun and adventure. Island Nights on Aitutaki are a must for any Aitutaki travel. From the hypnotic hips of Aitutaki's beautiful women, to the raw power of the men, the succulent local buffet, to the soul-stirring drumming and singing, Aitutaki Island Nights are what travel to the South Pacific is all about.
034-CS1477: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Luxury hotel. Seaside swimming pool at the Hotel Pacific Resort Aitutaki. Pacific Resort Aitutaki is located on a tropical atoll in the Pacific Ocean. Pacific Resort Aitutaki is limited to just 27 luxurious absolute beachfront bungalows, suites and villas. All rooms have their own person panoramic views of Aitutaki's world famous lagoon. For the first time ever, Pacific Resort Aitutaki scooped up the 'South Pacific Property of the Year' award at the HM Awards held in Sydney on September 6. Pacific Resort Hotel Group (PRHG) is also pleased to announce that Deputy CEO Marcus Niszow was awarded the 'High Commendation' award in the 'South Pacific General Manager of the Year' category. We are delighted to inform you that Pacific Resort Aitutaki will soon be commencing construction to convert one of our Premium Beachfront Bungalows into a 1 bedroom Ultimate Beachfront Bungalow. This will result in our inventory comprising two 1 bedroom Ultimate Beachfront Bungalows once construction is complete. Construction will commence on 26th April 2013 and will take approximately 5 weeks to complete. Our team at Pacific Resort Aitutaki will ensure that our guests are assigned away from the bungalow being worked on, with the bungalows either side being assigned last. You may be rest assured that we will do all possible to minimize the impact of this work on the experience of our guests staying over this construction period. This is a very exciting addition to our increasingly popular 1 bedroom Ultimate Beachfront Bungalow inventory. Our 1 bedroom Ultimate Beachfront Bungalows offer a separate bedroom and separate lounge area with a large private sundeck. The bungalows are approx 78sqm/840 sq ft in size and sleep up to 4 people plus an infant. When planning your Aitutaki lagoon vacation, you may wonder how long to stay on Aitutaki versus Rarotonga. Commonly, travelers are told to plan the bulk of their travel on Rarotonga with only a few days, or less, on Aitutaki, as a side trip, this is bad information, and the majority of guests who arrive on Aitutaki for a short stay are disappointed they didn't plan to stay here longer. While both of these Cook Islands offer something special for your South Pacific vacation, the relaxing pace of life, the almost unbelievable beauty of the Aitutaki lagoon, and the long stretches of postcard-perfect Aitutaki beach, are what make Aitutaki travel a paradise and leave visitors wishing they could stay forever. Aitutaki hotels and resorts range from budget to luxury. If you're looking for an Aitutaki resort on the beach or if you prefer your Aitutaki travel a little more on the adventurous side, Aitutaki Cook Islands has something for everyone. On Aitutaki, Cook Islands accommodation includes guest houses, beach front bungalows, hotels, beach huts, boutique villas, luxury resorts, vacation rentals, garden lodges, and much more. You can browse through all options for Cook Islands Accommodation by clicking on the accommodation tab on the menu bar. Many Aitutaki hotels have kitchen facilities or restaurants on site, or nearby. And beachfront Aitutaki Cook Islands hotels are located on some of the most idyllic stretches of beach you will ever see. If your Aitutaki travel is for a wedding or honeymoon, Aitutaki accommodation are an ideal setting for romance! Whether your Aitutaki lagoon vacation is for a secluded getaway for two, or a South Pacific vacation for the whole family, there are Aitutaki Cook Islands accommodation just for you.
035-CS1700: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Sea snails, small crabs walking on the sand at the luxurious Hotel Pacific Resort Aitutaki. Pacific Resort Aitutaki is an ideal honeymoon location, relax & unwind in the beautiful surrounds that Aitutaki has to offer. Do as little or a much as you like at this Cook Islands accommodation, snorkel, kayak, take a bike out for a ride, enjoy a refreshing cocktail or just relax by the pool. What better way to save than with this free domestic flights offer! Pacific Resort Aitutaki offers five star luxury accommodation in the Cook Islands, ideal for a honeymoon, romantic getaway or fun family retreat. This Cook Islands accommodation offers a stunning location overlooking the ocean and features a range of facilities for you to enjoy including a swimming pool, restaurant & bar, kids club, day spa plus much more. Spend your day lazing by the pool, snorkelling or enjoy a wide range of activities. The Cook Islands offers the perfect destination for an unforgettable honeymoon. Pacific Resort Aitutaki boasts a stunning beachfront location with horizon swimming pool that overlooks the ocean. Sit back, relax and take in the views from your Premium Beachfront Bungalow. Book now to take advantage of this fantastic honeymoon offer at Pacific Resort Aitutaki. You won't find a more picturesque spot for a wedding or a honeymoon than Aitutaki Cook Islands. Imagine saying "I do" with your feet in the white sand and the bluest shades of water in the South Pacific in the background. Romance lives on Aitutaki Cook Islands; you will never have to walk far to find a quiet beach, or gently swaying palms. And Aitutaki Hotels and resorts are ready to help organize your special day, or prepare all those special touches for a dream honeymoon. Once you've been here, you may even find yourself planning a South Pacific vacation to renew your vows and experience the magic of an Aitutaki lagoon wedding all over again.
036-CS1631: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. A waitress serves delicious cocktails by the beach at the luxurious Hotel Pacific Resort Aitutaki. Pacific Resort Aitutaki is an intimate collection of 27 absolute beachfront bungalows, suites and villas all with their own unique view of the world famous Aitutaki Lagoon. This Cook Islands accommodation features memorable sunsets and a tranquil island setting for the most relaxing of holidays. There is no better place to spend your Cook Islands honeymoon. 2012 was a busy year for PRHG boasting numerous international travel award accolades that clearly consolidate its position as the best in its class across the across the South Pacific and along the way putting the Cook Islands on the map in terms of excellence in quality, service, hospitality and guest experience. Awards picked up last year include HM Awards for Hotel & Accommodation Excellence, World Travel Awards, TripAdvisor Awards & New Zealand Travel Industry Awards. 2013 is looking to follow suit. And when it's time to shop for a souvenir or a gift to take home from your Aitutaki travel, then you can find shops in Aitutaki with hand painted pareaus and tropical shirts to remind you of your Aitutaki lagoon vacation. You may even come across a coconut bra or a ukulele while shopping in Aitutaki Cook Islands, so you can show the folks back home what an Island Night is like!.
037-CS1810: Aitutaki. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. A plane flies over the islands between the Aitutaki Island and Atiu Island with a rainbow background. THE first man who came to Aitutaki from Avaiki [Hawaiki] was Ru. He came in a canoe named Nga-Puariki, seeking for new lands. The canoe was a large double one, a katea, namely two canoes fastened together. The name of the cross-pieces of wood which fasten on the outriggers are called kiato. The names of the kiato were as follows: the foremost Tane-mai-tai, the centre one Te-pou-o-Tangaroa, and the after one Rima-auru. They arrived at the island and entered a passage named Aumoana. They landed and erected a Ma, which they named Pauriki, after their canoe. (Ma means a place of evil spirits.) They also erected a Ma inland, which they named Vaikuriri, which was the name of Ru's god, Kuriri, brought with them from Avaiki. Ru called the land Araura, which means, the place to which the wind drove him in his search for land. He appointed a number of Koromatua as lords of the island, (Koromatua=literally, old people, or tupuna.) Their names were: E Rongo-turu-kiau, E Rongo-te-Pureiau, Mata-ngaae-kotingarua, Tai-teke-te-ivi-o-te-rangi, Iva-ii-marae-ara, Ukui-e-Veri, Taakoi-i-tetaora. These were the lords of the island as appointed by Ru. There remained the rest of the people who came with him, consisting of men, women and children. Ru's people must have numbered over 200. These people settled down on the land and increased to a large number. It was said that it was Ru who raised the heavens, as they were resting before his time on the broad leaves of plants, called rau-teve. Hence his name, Ru-Te-toko-rangi. He sent for the gods (tini atua) of night and the gods of day, the god Iti, and the god Tonga, from the west and North, to assist him in his work. He prayed to them: "Come, all of you and help me to lift up the heavens." And they came in answer to his call. He then chanted the following song:
"O son! O son! Raise my son! Raise my son! Lift the Universe! Lift the Heavens! The Heavens are lifted. It is moving! It moves, It moves!" The heavens were raised accordingly. He then chanted the following song to secure the heavens in their place: "Come, O Ru-taki-nuku, Who has propped up the heavens. The Heavens were fast, but are lifted, The Heavens were fast, but are lifted, Our work is complete." Thus the heavens were securely fastened in their place. The work being finished, the god of night and the god of day returned to their homes; the god Iti and the god Tonga returned to their homes, and the gods from the west and north also returned home; the work was done. The heavens and the earth being now in a settled condition, the people commenced to increase and multiply, and they also built marae, or sacred places.
038-CS1892: Atiu Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. The pilot plane of Air Rarotonga poses with the aircraft. Air Rarotonga is the company leader in flights between the islands. Air Rarotonga is an airline based in Rarotonga, Cook Islands and is 'the airline of the Cook Islands'. It operates inter-island scheduled services throughout the Cook Islands. It also operates chartered flights to French Polynesia, Niue, Samoa and Tonga. Its main base is Rarotonga International Airport. The airline was established in February 1978 and started operations in July 1978 with a Cessna 337 aircraft. The company is owned by three private investors. More than 70,000 passengers travel between its island destinations each year. The airline codeshares with Air Tahiti on flights between Rarotonga and Tahiti with Air Tahiti being the operator. The airline also offers scenic flights over Rarotonga and air charter services to neighbouring Pacific Island countries including Tahiti, Niue, Tonga and Samoa. The airline also operates Air Ambulance evacuations from all island airports in the Cook Islands when needed. In February 2012, the airline received 2 more Embraer EMB 110 Bandeirante aircraft. One of which was added to the fleet and began operating in January 2013, while the other will be added later in 2013.
039-CS2143: Atiu Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. A guide shows the details of the impressive Kopeka Bird Caves in Atiu. One of the longest and most spectacular caves of the four islands is to the south-east of Atiu, Anatakitaki or the Cave of the Kopekas. This is a large solution cave, a series of large chambers and corridors, with an estimated length of 1 km. A fresh-water lake can be found at the bottom of the cave. The cave itself has a collapsed entrance. Out of this entrance several collapses open to the jungle, where vegetation penetrates into the cave. An especially nice view is of the dangling lianes, the "bell-pulls". The cave is very nicely decorated with white stalactites, stalagmites and flowstones. The rich and colourful speleothems are typical phenomena of tropical cave development. As a consequence of the relatively shallow and strongly fissured rock layer above the cave, roots of various dimensions have broken through. Some of the roots have also penetrated the speleothems. The Kopeka are tiny birds, very much like swifts, which nest in huge numbers inside the cave. When they come out to hunt insects they are never seen landing. They only rest in the cave. Inside, in the darkness, they make a continuous chattering, clicking noise, which they use to find their way around. (Like bats, but the bat sounds, of course, cannot be heard by the human ear.)
040-CS2111: Atiu Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Several tourists photographing the impressive Kopeka Bird Caves in Atiu. These caves are the home to the Kopeka Birds, unique to Atiu. This swift like bird nests deep within the caverns and navigates in the dark by using an echo locating series of clicks. Hear the legend of Inutoto and Tangaroa and learn of the flora and fauna found in the makatea (raised coral) surroundings. Bring your swimwear and enjoy a candle-lit swim in the artesian water pool. Nurau and Vai Akaruru water caves are fun to swim. Nurau has a vertical sinkhole that drops down from the cave floor to a new level completely underwater. This sinkhole is the entrance to an underwater labyrinth incompletely explored in 1997 by Australians David Goldie and Paul Tobin. Diffuse light filters down to the waters in Vai Akaruru cave making this cave easy to swim. Te Ana O Raka is an easily accessed burial cave. However as Aue Raka's ancestors are interred in this cave it is important to gain permission to enter. Aue offers a tour of the cave and points of interest in the area Ph 33256. Pau Atea cave is long and has many passages. There are many other caves in the area and these are thought to interconnected. It is easy to get lost in these caves. Atiu is a volcanic island surrounded by a coral reef, cliffs and raised coral limestone called makatea. It has taro swamps, lake, limestone caves, lush tropical bush and pristine beaches - some of the finest in the Cook Islands. The narrow, clean lagoon enables you to explore the reef & its sea life, enjoy a beach to yourself and your 'own personal lagoon pool' while you sit back and relax to the sound of the sea as it meets the reef. When sea conditions allow visit the coral gardens and grottos. Swim in the small harbour and, in calm weather, enjoy snorkelling the reef from there or in the coral gardens. In season clearly view, from the beaches & cliffs, the Humpback Whales & Spinner Dolphins when they show themselves. The tropical bush is home to wonderful bird life & exoctic flora. Atiu - 'Enuamanu' which translates the "Island of Birds" has many species including the Kopeka, an echo-locating swiftlet that nests deep inside the caves, the Kakerori, which was introduced to Atiu to help save the Rarotongan bird from extinction and the endangered Rimatara Lorikeet reintroduced from French Polynesia to Atiu in April 2007.
041-CS2092: Atiu Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Inside the impressive Kopeka Birds Caves in Atiu. Cave tours are available to many coral limestone caves. All are spectacular and we list the most visited here. There are many others. If you are into caves you could easily spend all of your time on Atiu underground. The caves of Atiu show obvious signs of being caved out by the fresh water that flows off the volcanic acidic soil of Atiu and through the Makatea. With each change in sea level, tunnels are carved out at that level to allow the fresh water though. A present day example of this is the Tiroto Tunnel. There is another tunnel like this in Tengatangi district that can only be accessed from the sea. The caves listed here are caves that were carved out when the sea level was higher. Anataketake cave in particular is the home of the kopeka. A bird unique to Atiu, which is able to echo-locate in the dark cave to find its nest. Tiroto Tunnel connects Atiu's lake to the sea. It is possible to wade down this tunnel almost to the sea. The last part of the tunnel is underwater. You can tell you are close to the sea because the flow moves backwards and forwards with the wave action and because there is clean white sand underfoot. Wading this tunnel is an adventure. It is sometimes called the mud tunnel. Rima Rau burial cave is worth a visit. 'Rima' is five and 'Rau' is two hundred in the Atiu language. So Rima Rau means one thousand dead. This must be an exaggeration. It is more likely to be 50. There are many legends about who's bones lie in the cave. One legend tells of a famous battle, another a of cannibal feast, and yet another a story of revenge. Ask your guide or host to tell the stories.
042-CS2281: Atiu Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Several goats grazing in the vicinity of Kopeka Bird Caves in Atiu. The Cook Islands which lie roughly east of the Island of Tonga, above the Tropic of Capricorn, are a group of fifteen small islands with a total land area of 237 sq. km, scattered over two million sq. km. of ocean (Lambert, 1982). They are divided geographically into a northern group of low atolls: Penrhyn, Nanihiki, Rahanga, Pukapuka, Suwarrow and Nassau; and a southern group of volcanic islands: Mangaia, Rarotonga, Atiu, Mauke Mitiaro, Aitutaki, Manuac and Takutea (see Figure 1). The southern group occupies 87 percent of the land area (Mckean and Baisyet, 1994). Avarua on Rarotonga is the capital city. It is also the seat of government, centre of commerce and tourism. Most Cook Islanders are bilingual in Polynesian and English. In the livestock census of 1988 approximately 5,500 goats were recorded with an average herd size of seven per household and there were 2,300 does. Goat meat is widely accepted therefore, the Ministry of Agriculture has placed emphasis on improving the available stock through crossbreeding with Anglo-Nubian crosses from Fiji, improved management and health (Parutua, 1985). FAO has assisted the Government to develop the goat industry (Munro, E., personal communication) and Tamarua (2001) provided details of several projects through which 16 does and 4 bucks of Anglo-Nubian cross were imported from Fiji, and training has been implemented. The interest in raising goats has increased due to changes in management recently adopted by smallholders; the major system used by subsistence farmers is tethering in both Rarotonga and in the outer islands. Free grazing where goats are allowed to roam is also practiced but causes a lot of problems to the owners and to crop owners. Goats under this system sometimes end up on the makatea (raised coral) where they become feral. This system is mainly used in the outer islands. Goat numbers appear to have declined since the mid-1990s but the provisional data from the 2000 census indicate numbers higher than in previous years at 4,867 including 1,272 does (Tamarua, 2001 suggests a figure for 2000 of 3,679 goats). FAOSTAT reports a steady decline and the 2005 figure is 1000 goats.
043-CS2462: Atiu Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Atiu Villas regularly organize island nights when there are enough visitors on Atiu. If you are staying in accommodation elsewhere, contact Atiu Villas and let them know that you would be keen to go to an Island Night if they are having one. You might be just the extra number that they need to organize it. The Island Nights on Atiu are fun and authentic. This is traditional Cook Islands dance and entertainment - not a glamourous show heavily influenced by islands such as Tahiti and Hawaii. Atiu Villas also serve a meal and have a bar at their restaurant - Kura's Kitchen. You need to make a booking by 3pm for the restaurant. With the annual dancer of the year competition just around the corner – dancers are polishing up their acts ready for the cultural extravaganza. Across the outer islands, dancers are going through the 'elimination' process where the islands hold their own dancer of the year competition where the winners will represent the island in the national competition on Rarotonga. On the island of Atiu, the elimination dancer of the year competition sponsored by Air Rarotonga was held last Saturday at Atiu Villas. 10 competitors took to the stage in the various dance categories on offer. The 150 strong crowd were treated to some fantastic dancing – the first competition on Atiu since 2006. At the end of the hugely successful night which included entertainment by golden oldies and past dance competitors Maara Akava and Ardmore Manu – winners of the nights competition were released. In the female dancer of the year category – Memory Maaka took out the junior female division while Georgina Porio took out the intermediate and Rowyn Taia won the senior female dancer of the year division. In the male division – Teupoo Maaka George was the junior men's winner while Retire Tanga took out the senior men's division with no entries in the intermediate division. Event co-ordinator Kau Henry and fellow event organisers would like to thank Air Rarotonga for their generous support in sponsoring 6 airfares to Rarotonga for the national dancer of the year. Applications for the dance competition are available from the Ministry of Cultural Development. The dance competition will start on April 18 with the golden oldies, expatriates and visitors section at Staircase Restaurant and Bar. On April 25 the junior and intermediate dancer of the year will be staged at the national auditorium before the main senior dancer of the year competition, to also include outer island dancers, will be held on May 2 at the national auditorium.
044-CS2620: Atiu Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Children dressed in traditional Polynesian dances and interpret Polynesian dances organized at Hotel Villas Atiu Atiu island. The Cook Islands lie northeast of New Zealand in the South Pacific Ocean. Cook Islanders are related to the Maori of New Zealand and the inhabitants of French Polynesia (commonly referred to as Tahiti). Cook Islands dance traditions are kept alive through festivals, celebrations and performances for tourists. Cook Islanders living abroad in the United States, Australia and New Zealand perform their dances as a form of cultural preservation. Dances of the Cook Islands have much in common with other Polynesian dance forms. More widely known dance styles such as the hula from Hawaii and the tamure from Tahiti share similar mythology and dance themes. Cook Island dance performances often include chanting and singing among the dances, which tell stories or serve as spiritual communion with the Polynesian deities. Women's Choreography: Men and women dance together in performances, though in separate groups. The women's movements feature side-to-side movements of the hips. These movements are controlled by the knees. The hips must be energetic, with large, pronounced moves, but the upper body must stay graceful, with the shoulders remaining still. Some movement in the arms and hands may accompany the dance, but it must be carefully controlled. Men's Choreography: While the women's silhouette is vertical with movements centered on the hips, men dance closer to the ground, with stronger movements in a distinctive bent-knee pose. The men move their knees in a quick open-and-close fashion. Grass adornments on the lower legs accentuate these moves. Music: Distinctive drum beats propel the traditional dance music in the Cook Islands. Contact with Europeans introduced string instruments to Polynesians, which they adapted into their music. The ukulele became an iconic instrument of Hawaiian music, and is also found in the Cook Islands. However, when recreating traditional dance performances, Cook Islanders choose the drums for authenticity. Fast and slow rhythms accompany the dancers and their bodies must keep time with the music. Drummers in the Cook Islands are highly trained and skilled artists. Though drums provide the background for the dance competitions on the islands. Competitions solely for drummers can be found as well. Costume: Traditional dance costumes of the Cook Islands are of natural fabrics and elements, such as shells, bark, grass, leaves, and feathers. Large belts of leaves around the hips increase the illusion of movement, or a long grass skirt hides the movement of the knees. Traditional costumes leave the men's chests and the women's abdomens revealed as a way to celebrate the human form.
045-CS2486: Atiu Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Dances and Polynesian dances organized at Hotel Villas Atiu Atiu island. The music of the Cook Islands is diverse. Christian music is extremely popular. Imene tuki is a form of unaccompanied vocal music known for a uniquely Polynesian drop in pitch at the end of the phrases, as well as staccato rhythmic outbursts of nonsensical syllables (tuki). The word 'imene' is derived from the English word 'hymn' (see Tahitian: 'himene' - Tahiti was first colonised by the English). Likewise the harmonies and tune characteristics / 'strophe patterns' of much of the music of Polynesia is western in style and derived originally from missionary influence via hymns and other church music. One unique quality of Polynesian music (it has become almost a cliché) is the use of the sustained 6th chord in vocal music, though typically the 6th chord is not used in religious music. Traditional songs and hymns are referred to as imene metua (lit. hymn of the parent/ancestor).
Traditional dance is the most prominent art form of the Cook Islands. Each island has its own unique dances that are taught to all children, and each island is home to several annual competitions. Traditional dances are generally accompanied by the drumming of the pate. The Cook Islands drumming style is well-known internationally, but is often misidentified as an example of Tahitian music. This is most uncommon as the Cook Islands have a strong connection to their Tahitian ancestry. Harmony-singing church music and a wide variety of hymns and wedding and funeral music are found throughout the Cook Islands. There is much variation across the region, and each island has its own traditional songs.
046-CS2697: Atiu Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. One of the growers teaches coffee beans grown on the island of Polynesia. Atiu has a long history of growing coffee. Missionaries established it commercially in the early 19th century. By 1865, annual exports of coffee from the Cook Islands amounted to 30,000 pounds. The islands' ariki (high chiefs) controlled the land used for planting and received most of the returns. The commoners often saw little if any reward for their labour. In the late 1890s, Rarotongan coffee production suffered due to a blight that affected the plants. Coffee production declined and had to rely more on crops from the outer islands Atiu, Mauke and Mangaia. World Wars I and II resulted in a further export reduction and eventual standstill. In the 1950s the co-operative movement in the Cook Islands resulted in the re-establishment of coffee as a cash crop. On Atiu, under the supervision of New Zealand Resident Agent Ron Thorby and the Cook Islands Agriculture Department, new coffee plantations were established. The raw coffee was destined for export to New Zealand where it was processed and marketed. By 1983, the coffee industry had collapsed. Government stepped back and left the plantations to their landowners. The poor financial return from selling their coffee to a Rarotongan company for processing had prompted the farmers to stop production except for their own private use. The plantations were overgrown with creepers. Commercial coffee production was revived sometime in 1984, with the founding of Atiu Coffee Factory Ltd. by German economist Juergen Manske-Eimke. As of 2012, the Atiu Coffee Factory managed 39 hectares of land and produced 4.5 tonnes of roasted beans.
047-CS2785: Atiu Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Some of the coffee beans grown in the Atiu Coffee Factory in Atiu Island. Coffee has been grown on Atiu for as long as people remember. Missionaries established it commercially in the early 19th century. By 1865 already, annual exports of coffee from the Cook Islands amounted to 30,000 pounds. The islands' ariki (high chiefs) controlled the land used for planting and received most of the returns. The commoners often saw little if any reward for their labour. In the late 1890s, Rarotongan coffee production suffered due to a blight that affected the plants. Coffee production declined and had to rely more on crops from the outer islands Atiu, Mauke and Mangaia. World Wars I and II resulted in a further export reduction and eventual standstill. In the 1950s, the co-operative movement in the Cook Islands generated the re-establishment of coffee as a cash crop. On Atiu, under the supervision of New Zealand Resident Agent Ron Thorby and the Cook Islands Agriculture Department, new coffee plantations were established (left: Are Pua coffee plantation). The raw coffee was destined for export to New Zealand where it was processed and marketed. When Juergen Manske-Eimke (right) settled on Atiu in 1983, the coffee industry had collapsed. Government stepped back and left the plantations to their landowners. The poor financial return from selling their coffee to a Rarotongan company for processing had prompted the farmers to stop production except for their own private use. The plantations were overgrown with creepers. With the help of local shareholders and private savings, the Atiu Coffee Factory Ltd. was founded. In 1984, the processing machinery arrived. Months of hard work freeing the plantations from weeds and a lot of trial and error followed until Atiu Coffee™ could be counted amongst the world's best coffees. Today, it is exported through mail order to private customers all over the world. Atiu Coffee Factory manages two plantations of a total of 32 acres. In harvesting season, private planters supply the company with coffee cherries from their half to four-acre plantations. All coffee is processed in the factory on Atiu (left). On account of an agreement with the Atiu Coffee Growers Association, coffee is not sold as green beans. Atiu Coffee Factory roasts freshly on incoming orders and sells Atiu Coffee™ only in high quality sealed bags (shown below right) with a one-way valve for preservation of freshness. We supply whole beans and ground coffee. We also provide mail-order service to our customers overseas
048-CS2673: Atiu Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Atiu Villas is situated on Atiu Island on the outskirts of the central villages. Atiu Island is in the Cook Islands. The site provides a quiet and relaxing environment surrounded by an extensive tropical garden, pineapple fields and a view down a jungle clad valley to the ocean. It is only a short walk to the white sandy beaches of the southern coastline. Atiu Villas are unique in that the chalet style villas are made almost entirely of local native timbers and materials and feature the polished woods of mango, coconut, red peanut, acacia, cedar, Java plum and many other tropical trees. Each villa has a private verandah, cooking facilities, separate bathrooms, tea and coffee making facilities and a feature not often seen elsewhere, a fully stocked larder which guests can use and pay for what they use on departure. The larders are well-stocked with dairy food, beverages, packaged and tinned food. The villas have varying bedding configurations that can take from 2 to 6 people. There is plenty of water and each villa has a solar hot water supply. Electricity, wifi internet and water run 24-hours a day. Your hosts will help you organise your transport, tours, activities or your complete relaxation. An Evening restaurant and bar is on site serving 2-course evening meals. There is a swimming pool, tennis court and rental vehicles.
049-CS2859: Atiu Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. A client is tested a necklace on Andrea's Fibre Art Studio in Atiu Island. The Studio is also well known for its tivaivai, the Cook Islands' traditional ceremonial cloths. "Tivaivai" means patchwork and is the general term for unpadded, unquilted, mostly appliquéd coverlets of about 2.50 m X 3.00 m, sometimes heavily embellished with intricate embroidery. The Studio's works can be found in public and private collections in the Cook Islands and abroad. The National Culture Centre, banks and hotels on Rarotonga, and the Intercontinental Hotel on Maui (Hawaii) commissioned us to create artwork for them. The National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne (Australia) acquired one of our tivaivai for their permanent collection. Recently, New Zealand's National Museum Te Papa added four of our works to their permanent collection (above). The Atiu Fibre Arts Studio participated in a number of national and international textile exhibitions in the USA, Europe, Australia and Oceania, many of which Andrea curated. She has also lectured about the Cook Islands' traditional ceremonial cloths and conducted workshops internationally. At the Fibre Arts Studio, we use a wide variety of materials and natural fibres: cotton, silk, linen, tapa (bark cloth). Many of the fabrics are hand-dyed to achieve a perfect colour match with the natural materials. On request, Andrea conducts private workshops at the Studio for textile enthusiasts, who are interested in learning new textile techniques and enjoy working in a tranquil island environment. Visit Andrea at the Atiu Fibre Arts Studio. Ask for information on specially commissioned textile artwork. If you would like to see more tivaivai, wall hangings, art quilts and fibre arts objects, have a look at our comprehensive catalogue.
050-CS2839: Atiu Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Some of the jewelry, designer rings and earrings sold in Andrea's Fibre Art Studio in Atiu Island. Since 1986, the Atiu Fibre Arts Studio has been famous for artworks that combine Cook Islands traditional knowledge, skills and materials with new techniques and inspiration. Polynesian motifs interact with contemporary design, innovative techniques of dyeing, sewing and embroidery. Each piece is a unique work, designed by Andrea Eimke, the company's founder and director. Andrea's own artworks have featured in several solo and group exhibitions at home and overseas. Her installation "Third Space II" is currently on display at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. Her works include art objects, installations, art quilts, textile collages, wearable art, wall and bed tivaivai. Andrea enjoys the challenge of applying innovative techniques to private and corporate commissions.
051-CS2900: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Interior design inside one of the rooms at Hotel Crown Beach Resort & Spa. Crown Beach Resort & Spa is a luxury beachfront full service resort with over 5 acres of botanical gardens that front an endless icing sugar beach on the sunset coast of Rarotonga. This beautiful resort caters for only 36 couples who seek a peaceful retreat devoid of crowds, stress and noise. A mineral water swimming pool provides a respite from the blue pacific lagoon that teems with colourful fish and coral. All villas are self contained, air conditioned and decorated in a pleasant Polynesian style with quality finish and amenities. Oceans Restaurant & Bar features quality casual cuisine specialising in theme dinners, light lunches and breakfast. Oceans bar is open from 11am until late serving a full range of drinks and cocktails with three Happy Hour Sessions where you 'buy one, get one free'. Windjammer Restaurant is a world-class restaurant serving modern Pacific / Californian cuisine. Considered the best on the island, reservations are recommended for this popular island favourite. Open from 6:30pm for dinner Monday to Saturday. Tang Lounge & Tapas Bar (opening 1st August 2011) is tipped to be THE place to see and be seen with ultra cool tunes, premium beverages, saucy service, warm ambience accentuated by candles and flowing fabrics. Fully air-conditioned – this space will offer an alternative cuisine option for discerning guests at Crown Beach Resort & Spa. The resort has become well known for offering the highest standard of accommodation inspired by a positive team culture. You will find that the local staff take great pride in delivering their own unique style of Cook Island hospitality. Their goal is to serve you, and to ensure you have the perfect vacation or honeymoon.
052-CS2925: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Totem located outside the luxurious Little Polynesian Resort in Rarotonga. The Little Polynesian is surrounded with the kind of natural beauty that the South Pacific is renowned for. In 2005, the Little Polynesian underwent extensive renovations to unveil what can only be described as a literal re-creation to achieve once again a new level of service and amenities. Our magnificently built Ares (bungalows) have been designed with intricate attention to detail. Every unit uses traditional Cook Islands architecture combined with understated yet richly elegant décor. Little Polynesian a small luxury hideaway in Titikaveka on the island of Rarotonga overlooks a gorgeous white sand swimming beach with excellent snorkeling offshore and there are free kayaks to explore the turquoise lagoon. The no child policy ensures absolute privacy - making it the ideal place for honeymoons and romantic breaks. All rooms are non-smoking. The Little Polynesian offers all the amenities one would expect from the Cook Islands' most upscale boutique resort. The Luxury Beach Ares promise aimless days of looking out to the lagoon's turquoise waters and waking up to the gentle sound of waves, while the scent of tropical flowers fills the air around our garden villas. Traditional accents in the bungalows including Wild Hibiscus, Mangaian (coconut) sinnet weaving on beams as well as a thatched roof with natural Pandanus add to the ambience of our South Seas paradise. The scent of tropical flowers fills the air around the fourGarden Pia Tiare (Garden Villas) - providing a special experience that's close to nature. Like the Beach Ares, each is equipped with a spacious king size bed, out door shower and spa tub and bar fridge. Clear blue skies, a turquoise lagoon, calm waters and a temperate climate make it ideal for a number of water-based activities including swimming, snorkeling, diving, sport fishing, game fishing, and kayaking. Other activities include hiking, pony trekking, cultural tours, bird-watching tours, scenic flights, golf, tennis, squash and lawn bowls. What could be more romantic than saying ""I do" at a beach or garden wedding at the Little Polynesian?.
053-CS3076: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Typical Ukulele Tahitian Polynesian guitar shop. The Ukulele (meaning 'jumping flea' in Hawaiian) is believed to have travelled from Hawaii via Tahiti in the late 1800′s. The preferred ukulele in the Cook Islands today are banjo-shaped or oblong, which came into vogue in the Cook Islands about 1995, after Te Ava Piti, a popular Tahitian band, aired them in a music video. Ukuleles are always used in tandem with guitars during performances. Traditional dance is the most prominent art form of the Cook Islands. Each island has its own unique dances that are taught to all children. Christian music is extremely popular in the Cook Islands. There is much variation of Christian music across the region, and each island has its own traditional songs. Tahitian ukes are a pretty rare instrument so its hard to find places(outside the pacific) where you can buy or listen to them. Below are a few websites where you can purchase ukes and uke music online. You can pick up strings at your local fishing shop. Anything from 10kg-30kg guage line will do the damage, depending on what kind of uke, sound and playing you're into. The best place to see live ukes in action are at traditional arts and culture festivals (see links). Local street markets around the pacific are also good places to find ukes for sale along with plenty of cheap local food, clothes, arts and crafts and free entertainment. Heres just a few - Cook Islands: Punanga Nui markets in Avarua(Rarotonga). Aotearoa(NZ): Avondale, Otara, Mangere and Porirua markets. Tahiti: Papeete market.
054-CS2882: Atiu Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. An inhabitant of Atiu driving with his bike on the roads of the island next to a poster from Keep Left. Although Atiu is great for walking, a scooter (motorbike) or bicycle will allow you to explore more of the island at your own pace. Atiu Villas rents out scooters, bicycles and a jeep. Their own guests have priority but they will also rent to others. There are other businesses on the island renting out scooters though too and your accommodators can help organize this. You should let them know you might want to rent a scooter when booking your accommodation. Atiu Guesthouse and Atiu Homestay also have a four-wheel drive vehicle they rent out. Again it would pay to make enquiries and book ahead to ensure it is available. If you are doing some tours (very highly recommended) and some walking, you may only want to hire a scooter or jeep for one day - depending of course on how long you are staying on Atiu. Because of the small and personalized nature of tourism on Atiu, all of the accommodators will collect you from the airport and bring you to your accommodation. Transport may be on the back of a ute - travel like a local and enjoy the view! Fuel on Atiu is expensive and there is usually a cost for airport transfers although it may be included in your accommodation package. Check beforehand to avoid any misunderstandings when it's time to pay the bill. There is no public transport or taxi service on Atiu.
055-CS2915: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Pool of luxury hotel Little Polynesian Resort in Rarotonga. The Little Polynesian is a boutique resort on the southern side of Rarotonga. It consists mostly of beachside bungalows and a couple of smaller garden bungalows. Whilst some of the other resorts situated at nearby Muri have better access to the lagoon and small islands, the Little Polynesian's beach location is pretty and convenient for swimming and other waterspouts. Little Polynesian Resort is on the edge of Rarotonga`s marine haven, Titikaveka Lagoon whose white sandy beaches and crystal blue water are the ultimate tropical holiday delight. For luxury Cook Islands accommodation that inspires romance and intimacy like no other, Little Polynesian Resort is a must see destination. This boutique island resort is perfect for your romantic getaway or honeymoon. The outstanding and personalised service will ensure you feel like the only guests in the resort. Relaxation is assured as you look out over the tropical turquoise waters and are surrounded by lush tropical gardens. With a restaurant and bar on site, snorkelling and kayak equipment available and the stunning beauty of the natural environment guests will have all their needs taken care of. The staff at Little Polynesian Resort are also happy to help book local tours and sightseeing to assist guests in getting out to explore the island if they so desire. Little Polynesian Resort consists of 10 Over Beach Ares and 4 Garden Ares. All have been meticulously crafted and designed to combine traditional Polynesian architecture and all the modern western comforts guests require. This accommodation will afford guests the privacy and tropical ambience they desire.
056-CS2960: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. A woman client relaxing on a deck chair by the sea in the luxurious Little Polynesian Resort in Rarotonga. In typical Cook Islands style, Little Polynesian Resort sits on the beachfront of the Titikaveka lagoon. Imagine whiling away the hours on your daybed overlooking the stunning turquoise waters and white sandy beaches. For luxurious and intimate Cook Islands accommodation you can`t go past this boutique romantic resort. Little Polynesian Resort offers two accommodation types; the Garden Are and the Over Beach Are. All are beautifully styled in traditional Polynesian and island design and furnishings. The Garden Are is a unit tucked away in the tropical gardens and features a kitchenette. The Over Beach Are is set right on the beach and features a private gazebo with day beds overlooking the lagoon. Our spectacular sunsets and twilight evenings will make your wedding or renewal here, in the heart of the South Pacific, a very intimate and unique experience. If you prefer something a little more formal, a church wedding can also be arranged. Entrust your special day to us with one of our wedding packages and we'll take care of all the details, giving you more time to explore our beautiful islands. All you have to do is show up on the day. Each of the 10 Luxury Beach Ares comes with its own private gazebo and daybed overlooking the white sandy beach of Titikaveka. Each Pia Tiare is a spacious, studio size unit, constructed as part of a duplex, they are also designed with unusually high roofing, a long but almost forgotten trademark of traditional Cook Island architecture. In fact, these are the only remaining structures from the original resort development, although completely gutted and refurbished to our new ultra standard. Here again every window has dual options for see-through or private shade settings. Inviting king size beds also face the lagoon while out-door showers, spa tubs under the stars, pre-stocked bar fridges and champagne on arrival can all be a part of the Little Polynesian experience. This resort has been designed with every opportunity to take advantage of its natural resources. The Ares are built right into the natural setting of palm trees and tropical foliage. Your veranda will open to a view of strikingly clear turquoise ocean, spellbinding waves and all perfectly framed with the lush green of palms overhead and completely around you.
057-CS3009: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. A waitress serves delicious next to the poolside at the luxurious Little Polynesian Resort in Rarotonga. Nestled on the southern tip of Rarotonga, Little Polynesian Resort is a sophisticated playground for grown-ups. Here, serenity is certain, seclusion is guaranteed, and romance is everywhere. This is a Resort of unpretentious luxury where idyllic beaches beckon. The Beachfront Ares offer an uninterrupted vista of the azure lagoon while the view of tropical gardens from the garden thatched Ares is just as dazzling. Welcoming guests over the age of 15 years only, the primary clientele of the Resort are honeymooners and couples. Set on an unspoilt beach, the Resorts dwellings ooze Polynesian charm and luxury. Spend your days roaming the beaches and sipping fresh-fruit cocktails by the pool. Traditional architecture complements the island's natural beauty, and the bungalows are designed with every modern luxury, from gazebos with daybeds to outdoor showers. Experience the epitome of Polynesian luxury in our well-appointed beach and garden accommodations. The romance of traditional Polynesian architecture meets the creature comforts of the West in our modern interpretations of the local dwellings, or Are as they are known. Rendered in a minimalist palette of ivory and local woods, the spare elegance of our rooms takes the romance quotient up a notch. Traditional accents such as Wild Hibiscus, Mangaian (coconut) sinnet weaving on beams as well as a thatched roof with natural pandanus add to the ambience of our South Seas paradise. The Little Polynesian offers all the amenities one would expect from the Cook Islands' most upscale boutique resort. Our overbeach Ares (bungalows) promise aimless days of looking out to the lagoon's turquoise waters and waking up to the gentle sound of waves, while the scent of tropical flowers fills the air around our Pia Tiare (garden units). Whichever you choose, we guarantee you will be immersed in nature at the Little Polynesian.
058-CS3168: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. A tourist couple enjoying huge cocktails by the beach in the Hotel Crown Beach Resort & Spa. Crown Beach Resort & Spa presents a private secluded space for just 36 couples to escape in 5 acres of tropical gardens and an endless icing sugar beach that caresses a sparkling blue lagoon. Ridiculously romantic, Crown Beach Resort & Spa is located on the sheltered sunset coast of Rarotonga where 5 acres of botanical gardens and an endless icing sugar beach caresses a sparkling blue lagoon. Crown Beach Resort & Spa offers a private and secluded haven for just 42 couples to frolic in uninterrupted space and unhurried time. Our villas and suites present king bedrooms adorned with lavish textures in neutral tones that warm the soul - choose from your own private swimming pool or Jacuzzi. This place is sure to unleash your desire with the one you love. Crown Beach Resort & Spa is your key for pure bliss and luxurious romantic salvation.
059-CS3145: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Tourists photographing the sea and enjoying the sunset on the beach of the Hotel Crown Beach Resort & Spa. Mixing the best of old and new, the unusually-shaped thatched villas at the Crown Beach combine traditionally inspired architecture with top-drawer decor. The octagonal bungalows are all impeccably finished with blonde-wood panelling, wicker furniture and local artwork on the walls. As with elsewhere on the island, you'll be faced with a choice between paying a premium for a beachfront position or cutting costs by choosing a villa set back slightly from the sand. Scattered over 4.5 acres of private gardens, the 22 villas are sensitively placed with plenty of space between each unit, and the private patios are all intelligently angled for maximum privacy and optimum island views. The atmosphere is elegant and refined, and it's also usually substantially quieter than Rarotonga's other better-known resorts, but the service and facilities are every bit as good as you'd expect for a hotel in this price bracket. There are two on-site restaurants (the fine-dining Windjammer and a more informal beachfront bistro-bar), a spa and massage centre, a giftshop, a babysitting service, and you can even get a free introductory dive on Sundays.
060-CS3210: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Sunset on the beach in Hotel Crown Beach Resort & Spa. Lit. Tourists taking photos. Parasols. The Crown Beach Resort comprises of 22 villas nestled in four and a half acres of tropical garden, which leads onto a beautiful stretch of white sand beach. The stunning swimming pool has fantastic views of the beach and the serene flame tree and gardens; an ideal location for relaxing with a good book. After a hard days sunbathing or snorkelling you can make your way to the on-site spa for a therapeutic massage or treatment. Along with complimentary tropical breakfast and afternoon tea, this resort is home to two restaurants: The Windjammer, which serves delicious fish of the day and home made bread, and the beach side Cabana Bar and Grill, for more casual dining. Each comfortable villa is self contained ensuring maximum comfort, allowing you to enjoy natural warmth and charm of the Cook Islands in this attentive resort.
061-CS3275: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Pa's Cross Island Walk. Trekking in the mountains started when I was four years old. My Grandmother would send me to gather and count leaves and herbs for traditional healing. This is how ancient knowledge was passed on from one generation to another. Little did I realise I would become a herbalist of traditional remedies and lead over 3572 tours to date for many visitors to the island. As I grew, escaping to the mountains was a source of joy instead of the hum drum classroom routine. Nature was unspoilt and birds did not appear to fear man. A love of showing visitors the pristine wild interior of our Rarotongan mountains led to becoming a bonafied business. Keeping in shape was also a driving force and to share it with others. Pa's Treks commenced in 1987 when my girlfriend [ now my wife] sketched a cartoon picture of me standing on top of two mountains. Next day the hotels and motels were alerted to a new activity of hiking. It was a great way to entertain their guests. Guests tell me it means so much more to have a personal experience and communication and so much safer. I operate a professional guided tour and encourage guests to appreciate the eco system and Polynesian way. I look forward to meeting you when you visit my home, Rarotonga.
062-CS3265: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. A woman showing her back in a typical Polynesian or maorí tattoo. The Polynesian tattoo symbols of spear heads can be found in almost every Polynesian tattoo design. It's designed to express courage and fight. It's also used to represent warrior, sharp items, and sting of animals and rays. Spear heads are usually used in combination with other symbols to express certain meanings. For example, one line of spear heads and one line of enatas upside down along its side can express the meaning of defeating enemies. T? moko is the permanent body and face marking by M?ori, the indigenous people of New Zealand. Traditionally it is distinct from tattoo and tatau in that the skin was carved by uhi (chisels) rather than punctured. This left the skin with grooves, rather than a smooth surface. Tattoo arts are common in the Eastern Polynesian homeland of M?ori, and the traditional implements and methods employed were similar to those used in other parts of Polynesia (see Buck 1974:296, cited in References below). In pre-European M?ori culture, many if not most high-ranking persons received moko, and those who went without them were seen as persons of lower social status. Receiving moko constituted an important milestone between childhood and adulthood, and was accompanied by many rites and rituals. Apart from signalling status and rank, another reason for the practice in traditional times was to make a person more attractive to the opposite sex. Men generally received moko on their faces, buttocks (called raperape) and thighs (called puhoro). Women usually wore moko on their lips (kauwae) and chins. Other parts of the body known to have moko include women's foreheads, buttocks, thighs, necks and backs and men's backs, stomachs, and calves.
063-CS3079: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Two obese people drive a motorcycle on a road on the island of Rarotonga. Obesity in the Pacific is a growing health concern with health officials stating that it is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in the Pacific Rim. According to Forbes, Pacific island nations and associated states make up the top seven on a 2007 list of fattest countries, and eight of the top ten. In all these cases, more than 70% of citizens age 15 and over have an unhealthy weight. Reasons for this issue include mining operations that have left not much arable land; as a result, much of the local diet is of processed, imported food such as Spam or corned beef, rather than fresh fish, fruit and vegetables. In addition, cultural factors have been blamed, such as associating a large body size with wealth and power, or changing ways of living, with children leading more sedentary lives. The problem is leading to increased levels of illness, including diabetes and heart diseases. In the Marshall Islands in 2008 there were 8,000 cases of diabetes in a population of only 53,000. In Fiji, strokes used to be rare in the under 50s, whilst doctors reported that they had become common amongst patients in their 20s and 30s. The problems are not confined to the small island nations, with the United States appearing 9th on the list, New Zealand 17th, and Australia 21st. In Australia, ambulances have been redesigned and equipped with heavier stretchers and larger wheelchairs to take account of the increased weight of the patients they carry.
064-CS3389: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. A tourist with maorí tattoo takes pictures with Mr. Pa. Ten minutes into my ascent of Rarotonga's 413m-high 'Needle', a dip into the warm waters of the island's halo-like lagoon is effortlessly topping my 'must do' list. But first I need to negotiate the steep and slippery tangle of roots and mini-ravines making up the first half of Rarotonga's Cross-Island Track. Close behind me is local hiking legend Pa, carrying plenty of fresh papaya and bananas for on-the-go sustenance. Pa is a well-worn nickname, apparently borne out of the frustra- tion his German ex-wife had in pronouncing his much longer traditional name. And like his adopted moniker, everything about Pa is stripped back and simple. No shoes and no fancy hiking gear – just an innate understanding of the mountainous tropical landscape we're traversing. His unlined face and muscular physique belie the fact that he's more than 70 years old, testimony to his more than 3700 ascents of the peak, known more formally as Te Rua Manga. After 40 minutes uphill we reach the base of the Needle. Across a series of rugged val- leys, Pa indicates the 653m-high Te Manga, shrouded today in amorphous cloud. Pa has climbed Rarotonga's highest mountain only a mere 800 times – compared to the Needle, it's probably a hike he's still getting his head around. My own headspace is filled with the green-shrouded spectacle of one of Polynesia's most beautiful islands. Downhill from our exposed bluff, the Cross-Island Track continues for another hour through cloistered and mossy river valleys to end in the cooling haven of the Wigmore Falls.
065-CS3419: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. A tourist crosses the island of Rarotonga in the Pa's trekking. The most popular of these is the cross-island mountain trekking, which takes approximately four hours. This includes a stop at 'The Needle', a unique rock formation high above Rarotonga. The Takitumu Conservation Area offers gentle nature walks through lush forest and along mountain streams, where you will find a number of rare and endangered species of plants and birds. Whether you call it trekking , tramping or hiking, in Rarotonga you will get the chance to see many native bird species as well as exotic butterflies and plenty of endemic plants and ferns. Tramping or hiking is an easy one day activity, and it is possible to do it alone. However if you are wanting to attempt the main cross islands walk there are no signposts, and the trail itself is quite difficult to find and follow in places, not to mention quite treacherous and hard going in the wet season. It is advised to engage Pa a local tramping guide, as many people have been injured or worse, attempting this hike alone. Pa Mountain Trekking is one of the best organized hikes on Rarotonga. The hike is around 4 hours long and is a wonderful educational experience for the entire family to enjoy. Not only do you get to learn about the local flora and fauna, but Pa is well known for telling many ancient myths and legends associated with the island. Besides the Cross Island track which passes through 'The Needle', some other good hiking trails on Rarotonga include the Papua Waterfall track, the Avana Valley track, the Turangi track and Raemaru Lookout. Another great hiking destination on Rarotonga is the Takitumu Conservation Area, which is a protected rainforest reserve. Home to several endemic bird species including the kakerori, walking tours need to be prearranged and booked.
066-CS3359: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. A stone shaped human figure during the crossing of the forest in Rarotonga with Pa. Cross the island of Rarotonga and explore the rugged interior. This is Pa's special domain – the mountain – his temple! The hike leads up the valley and across the island under a canopy of native trees to a steep 400 meter ascent of the Needle. See ancient ceremonial stone, pictographs on the face of the Needle and hear legends of the ancient Polynesians. Pa will explain how our different plants have been used through time for medicinal purposes. The crossing of a narrow ridge at the top is neither for the faint hearted nor for those with any physical challenges. As you descend the mountain, you'll cross refreshing mountain streams where you can refill your water bottles. Your trek concludes at Wigmore's Waterfall, where you can cool off with a swim before getting back on your bus home. For safety reasons, who goes on the walk is at Pa's discretion. Hike takes about 3 hours.
067-CS3468: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Mr Pa, the most popular guide in Rarotonga. One of the Cook Islands more colourful characters will take you on a magical four hour tour of the island, learning about its myths and legends and native herbal lore. Join Pa as he takes a guided walking and hiking tour of the lush interior of Rarotonga. Learn about the local medicinal plants used by his ancestors. Referred to by many publications as 'the South Pacific's most famous experienced guide', Pa will recite stories of wars, famines and great migrations as passed on to him by his forefathers. Join him at the summit of the famous needle and enjoy the views from this vantage point, then trek down to the waterfall and journey through to the western coast. This is a great all-day excursion. Pa is well versed in Cook Islands culture and history and his tours are very interesting. There is some vigorous walking and climbing involved and you will need sturdy walking shoes and to be reasonably fit. Take insect repellent and don't forget your camera, there are some amazing views and stunning scenery. The tour includes : Transfers and light lunch. The views and stories make this a wonderful experience.(4hrs)
068-CS3510: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Swimming pool of the Crown Beach Resort & Spa Hotel. The Resort is a full service yet intimate luxury boutique resort with 36 individual villas, located amongst 4.5 acres of tropical gardens. Situated at Aroa beach on Raratonga, the Crown Beach Resort has a luxury spa for those in need of relaxation and some pampering. For the active guest there is a gym, and activities such as the cultural tour, an off-road tour and whale spotting excursions. Nestled amongst acres of tropical gardens and bordered by the white sand beaches and a crystal blue lagoon, lies the 36 Crown Beach villas, all set with the utmost care and attention to detail in each room. The utmost care has gone into the design and decor of these luxurious rooms creating an absolute haven for you and your loved one, choose between your own private swimming pool or Jacuzzi for intimate moments in complete privacy. The resort offers an onsite spa and beauty clinic to enhance your relaxing stay, be pampered by the wonderful treatments and talented staff. Enjoy an evening of culinary delights at any of the resorts three onsite dining venues, Windjammer Restaurant offers intimate, fine dining, Tan Tapas Lounge presents an exotic atmosphere with and serving Spanish Tapas. For entertainment with your meal, visit the Oceans Brasserie dishing up a superior buffet fare with the ultimate cultural show to amuse and entrance you in a relaxed and vibrant atmosphere. For the true meaning of retreat, luxury and romance, visit the Crown Beach Resort & Spa to experience the most exotic and indulgent of sun soaked holidays in this paradise of the Pacific.
069-CS3531: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Highland Paradise Cultural Village. Show in traditional Polynesian dress and drums. Sometimes known as "the lost village" Highland Paradise is a cultural feast of Cook Islands entertainment and spiritual experiences. Wednesday and Friday sunset cultural nights and daily guided tours. AUTHENTIC AND AWARD WINNING! Weekday Guided tours of authentic historical sites in this mountain village refuge that lay forgotten for 150 years include re-enactments, interactive live days, restored maraes and faithfully rebuilt traditional buildings all recreating the ambience and spirituality of this sacred place where our ancestors lived, loved, fought and died. You will learn of our proud and sometimes, sad and sordid history. Amongst 25 developed acres of magnificent gardens and views you will experience drumming, singing, dancing, weaving, carving, medicine making, story telling and umu feasting just as they were more than 600 years ago on this very spot! The multi award winning, Wednesday and Friday sunset cultural nights, include hosted roundtrip transport, expert guides, village cultural immersion experiences, marae visit, a tapu lifting, warrior welcome, cocktail, underground oven (umu) feasting like you have never experienced and spectacular stage show telling the story of our ancient heritage through singing, dancing and drumming. The dancers, musicians, chefs, barmen and guides are all descendants of Ariki (High Chief) Tinomana and are proud to be part of the extended family which brings this mountain village back to life and keeps it alive.
070-CS3597: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. A Polynesian sounds the conch shell in the Highland Paradise Cultural Village show. Highland Paradise Cultural Village located on Mangaroa Mountain. This 500 year old village was once lost in time and taken over by the surrounding jungle, but has since been rediscovered and opened to visitors. En route to this 200 acre site, your guide will inform you about the lives of the native Cook Islanders prior to the arrival of the missionaries. Upon arrival at the village, you will begin your immersion into the local culture by learning about the spiritual marae and voyaging skills of the island's forefathers. Here, you will view perfect replicas of village houses as they once stood, along with sacred placs of worship, where battles were fought and the site of human sacrifices. You will also see the High Chief's rock throne and canoe navigator's compass rock along with discovering how important the coconut tree is, the many ways of tying the colorful pareu and how to make flower garlands. You will also have the opportunity to sample some of the local cuisine and tropical fruit. The highlight of your visit will be a passionate and colorful performance of native dancing and music that embraces the true spirit of the island's culture.
071-CS3562: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Highland Paradise Cultural Village. Some of the actors of Highland Paradise Cultural Village with polynesian dress. The unique Cook Islands culture is continually evolving and today you can discover it as it was in pre-missionary times. This tour is the perfect way to view the island and get an insight into the sacred rites and traditions of the forefathers of Rarotongans. Highland Paradise is a traditional Marae situated 509 metres above sea level and boasts approximately 205 acres of beautiful transcending gardens and panoramic views of the aqua lagoon, fringing coral reef and Pacific Ocean. This breathtaking site has been a haven for families, warriors and chiefs for centuries. The 'Are Kario', or Hall of Cultural Entertainment, has been designed to take advantage of the spectacular views and to offer shelter as you enjoy some of Rarotonga's top entertainment! The show's sensuous dancing and pounding drums are typical of the island and considered to be amongst the best in the South Seas. Highland Paradise offers a truly interactive experience allowing visitors to personally relive Polynesian yesterdays through a gentle guided stroll amongst the lush gardens, historical areas and towering native trees. Local guides are experts in local crafts, legends, local tribal history, flora and fauna and traditional medicines.
072-CS3579: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. A man with clothes of Maori hunter in Highland Paradise Cultural Village show. In the mid 1980s, the late Raymond Pirangi Senior , a Rangatira (subchief) from the prominent Rarotongan Tinomana Tribe , took it upon himself to set out to reclaim his heritage from the daunting dense bush and steep hillsides of Maungaroa. His dream and determination to share all this with the rest of the world has resulted in the resurrection of one of the Cook Islands' most important historic sites. Located high up in the rugged mountains of Rarotonga, overlooking the aqua lagoon, fringing coral reef and Pacific Ocean, this unspoiled, breathtaking 205 acre site is of significant cultural heritage and was a safe spiritual and fortress haven for families, warriors and the Tinomana chiefly line for countless hundreds of years. The Highland Paradise Cultural Centre offers a truly interactive experience for locals and visitors alike. Here, you will personally relive our Polynesian yesterdays through self guided or interactive guided on-site gentle strolling tours amongst the lush gardens, village remains, replica ares (houses), historical areas of great significance and towering native trees.
073-CS3604: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. An elderly woman dressed in modern suits of Polynesian. Fashion in the Pacific is renowned for its vivid colours and patterns. A Cook Islands woman has taken this distinct style and created a unique line of high end fashion. Not only that, Ellena Tavioni and her label TAV have caught international attraction, strutting a very Pacific style on the world fashion stage. Designers on Rarotonga are hand-screening Polynesian-inspired images on fabrics to create small but interesting ranges of clothing for women, men and children. These are distinctive designs printed on quality fabrics. Lengths of fabric can be bought to take home as well, to use in a variety of ways including window drops, curtains, wall hangings, bed covers, throws or wraps. Or made up into unique made-to-measure garments. There is plenty of choice in the cheap and cheerful holiday range on Rarotonga with several outlets selling clothes imported from Bali, Indonesia, India, China and Australia. Others have popular brands of surf clothing for youngsters and the young at heart. T-shirts are always in demand and Cook Islands designers have taken them to a new level with an enormous range of cheeky souvenir Tees. Those looking for something more aesthetic will enjoy the Polynesia-inspired designs by local artists.
074-CS3660: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Highland Paradise Cultural Village. A girl dressed in traditional cook island costumes dance during the Highland Paradise Cultural Village show. This 600 year old village site was home to the famous Tinomana Tribe but was abandoned in the early 1800s with the introduction of Christianity. The Pirangi family, descendants of the original High Chief Tinomana, has ensured the survival of this 205 acre mountain refuge by re-discovering and re-opening it to Cook Islanders and visitors alike. Now once again, you can experience the strong and meaningful spiritual bonds associated with the land, the maraes and the people (past and present) of this unique and colourful tribe. During your hours at Highland Paradise, you will discover ancient, significant places and examples of worship, chiefly council, warfare, sacrifice, tribal justice, home making, agriculture, medicines, fishing, education and canoe voyaging. We have reproduced buildings, re-installed artefacts and uncovered sites of great importance to our people. The 25 developed acres are but a tiny part of this site, but within this area you will relive the village as it was for more than 500 years. Native, introduced and medical plants are abundant and the gardens a delight to behold.
075-CS3776: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. A woman dances moving her hips in one of the traditional dances of the Cook Island, in Polynesia during the Highland Paradise Cultural Village show. The music of the Cook Islands is characterized by heavy drums and "frantic ukuleles" and Raro Records is the main specialist in music retail on the islands. Performing groups include the Cook Islands National Arts Theatre, Arorangi Dance Troupe, Betela Dance Troupe, Akirata Folk Dance Troupe, and Te Ivi Maori Cultural Dance Troupe. Men perform the hura, which is the equivalent of the Hawaiian hula, locking their feet on the ground and keeping their shoulders steady. Drums form part of an ensemble.
Akirata Folk Dance Group. Dances are performed at multicultural festivals. One of the popular traditional dances of the Cook Islands is the Maori Ura, a sacred ritual usually performed by a female who moves her body to tell a story, accompanied by intense drumming by at least 5 drummers. Moving the hips, legs and hands give off different gestures to the audience to tell a tale, typically related to the natural landscape such as the ocean and birds and flowers, but also feelings of love and sadness. The ura dance has three distinct components; the ura pa'u (drum dances), korero (legends) and kaparima (action songs). To perform the ura, women typically wear a pareu and a kikau (grass) skirt, with flowers and shell headbands and necklaces known as ei. Men during the dance are said to "vigorously flap their knees in a semi-crouched position while holding their upper bodies steady, and they typically wear kikau skirts and headbands. The drumming group, an integral part of the Ura typically consists of a lead drummer (pate taki), support lead (pate takirua), a double player (tokere or pate akaoro) playing wooden gongs, and two other players playing skin drums (pa'u and mango). The finest performances of the Ura are put on in Rarotonga. A sexually charged variant of the ura dance is known at the ura piani in which both men and women are involved in telling the story. Other variations include the ura rore (stilt dance), ura tairiri (fan dance), ura korare (spear dance), and ura rama (torch dance). Aside from the Ura dance and its component such as the korero and kaparima, there are several other genres of music and dance in the Cook Islands including dance dramas (peu tupuna), religious pageants (nuku), formal chants (pe'e), celebratory chants ('ute), and polyphonic choral music ('imene tapu). Like the ura, these are also often accompanied by drums.
076-CS3977: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. A boy dressed as a dancer of the Cook Island around the Punanga Nui Markets. To the despair of many educated Cook Islanders the expression "culture" in the popular mind equates to traditional festivals, singing and dancing. There is some justification for this since the art of dance is taken very seriously in the Cooks. Each island has its own special dances and these are practised assiduously from early childhood. There are numerous competitions throughout the year on each island – Events – and these are hotly contested. The highly rhythmic drumming on the paté and the wild and sensuous movements of both men and women virtually guarantee that Cook Islands teams win all the major Pacific dance festivals.The Hawaiian hula and the Tahitian tamuré are probably better known because those islands have had wider publicity for the last 100 years but the Cook Islands hura is far more sensual and fierce. Every major hotel prides itself on the performance it puts on at least once a week on Island Night when guests, selected by the dancers, are led onto the floor to show what they can do. Cook Islands dancing. It there is one outstanding ability which appears to be shared by all Cook Islanders it is music and song. Close harmony singing is highly developed in church music and the power and emotional impact of chants and hymns at weddings and funerals is well known to visitors who attend. The range and talent of popular singing can be seen at the numerous festivals throughout the year (see Events). Each island also has its own songs and the various island groups compete fiercely. There are numerous Polynesian string bands who play at restaurants, hotels and concerts and they use combinations of modern electronics with traditional ukeleles fashioned from coconut shells.
077-CS3723: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Highland Paradise Cultural Village. A girl performs traditional dances of the Cook Island during the Highland Paradise Cultural Village show. Our Wednesday and Friday sunset cultural nights include hosted roundtrip transport, guides, village experience visit, tapu lifting, warrior welcome, a cocktail, a traditional Umu (underground oven) feast and a spectacular stage show telling the story of our ancient heritage through singing, dancing and drumming. Our dancers, musicians, chefs, barmen and guides are all descendants of Ariki (High Chief) Tinomana and are proud to be part of the extended family which brings this mountain village back to life – for you! Puaikura villagers are involved in all aspects of the Highland Paradise experience, as guides, dancers, drummers, warriors, weavers, carvers, cooks, medicinal experts and many more. Most are understudied by village children - a legacy for the future. Guests are transported by coach from their accommodation in the late afternoon to Highland Paradise where an evening of utterly unique and truly authentic cultural entertainment and feasting awaits!
078-CS3835: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Some participants in the the Highland Paradise Cultural Village show. Dressed in traditional costumes of the Cook Island. Traditional dance is known as ura. Dancers move their bodies to express the stories of the islands, accompanied by singing and drumming. Ura began as a sacred ritual in Polynesia and has now become a popular dance form. Watch the hands as well as the hips and legs - different gestures symbolise different meanings. The dancers are telling stories of birds, flowers, the ocean and, of course, of love and loss, the sadness and joy of we humans. Distinctive to the sound of Cook Islands music is the full and resonating drumbeat. A typical Cook Islands drum team involves five or more drummers setting the tempo and directing the body and hand movements as well as the hip and leg motion. Cook Islands drums can be divided into three groups: wooden drums or slit gongs, skin or 'true' drums and specialised rhythm makers, which imitate or substitute drum rhythms. The drumming is some of the world's best. A typical drum team usually involves five or more drummers: a lead drummer (pate taki), support lead (pate takirua), a double player (tokere or pate akaoro) on wooden gongs, and two other players on skin drums (pa'u and mango). The basic one-one beat of the pa'u sets the sideways motion of the hips and the inward snapping of the knees of dancers. A second basic beat is produced from the pate, which directs the hand and body movements of dancers. The other drum instruments take on supporting roles although they do occasionally take over the control of movements.
079-CS4071: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. Tattooist. One of the places where we can get a tattoo in the Cook Island is in the Punanga Nui Markets. Clive Nicholas is a talented and gifted tattoo artist like many others who have the natural flair and creativity of Polynesian Art. Clive is of Cook Islands, Samoan, Tahitian and NZ Maori decent which his family acknowledges and is very proud of. Clive was born on the beautiful Island of Rarotonga and raised in the land of the long white clouds of Aotearoa in the mean streets of Otara. Clive was brought back to the islands by his parents at the age of 9 and attended the only Catholic Schools on the island St Joseph's primary and Nukutere College. Clive has a very strong faith in Christ and only works weekdays and Saturday. Balance is a major factor for Clive. He has to juggle between family, work, sports and family. God and family is what he lives by and tattooing is his passion. Clives introduction into the art of tattooing came from his brother Boye who is a well known tattooist around the Pacific and owned his own tattoo shop Polynesian Tattoos. After a couple of months as an apprentice for Boye, he acquired the skills and art of tattooing and was thrown into his own space. This is where he began working on his own clients, designing and creating tattoos, of course under the watchful eye of Boye. Clives introduction into the art of tattooing came from his brother Boye who is a well known tattooist around the Pacific and owned his own tattoo shop Polynesian Tattoos. After a couple of months as an apprentice for Boye, he acquired the skills and art of tattooing and was thrown into his own space. This is where he began working on his own clients, designing and creating tattoos, of course under the watchful eye of Boye. At the end of 2010, Clive took on a much larger responsibility and challenge by starting up his own shop in a batch behind his family home in town. It was much harder for Clive especially because he came from working with his brother, running a well established shop, to starting one from scratch. Clive holds very high standards in terms of quality of tattooing and designs. He has had the privilege of inking some very well known athletes with the likes of Rene Ranger (All Blacks), Tomasi Cama and Zar Lawrence He has also tattooed a K1 world champ Mark Hunt who has inspired Clive though out his upbringing. Having the opportunity to display his talent on these prestigious athletes has given Clive a desire to strive for higher goals and has given him a sense of pride and belief that anything is possible if you are passionate about it and if you put your mind.
080-CS3944: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. Some nice teenagers dressed in Polynesian around the Punanga Nui Markets. Cook Island market day is every Saturday down at the Punanga Nui Markets (located in Avarua, which the locals call Town) for locals and visitors alike. Locals tend to head to the markets early (before breakfast) to pick up bargains on fresh fruit and vegetables. Here local delicacies can be one third the price you will find them at the supermarket. Most visitors take a more leisurely approach and tend to get to the markets mid morning. To get there you can either catch the Island Bus to Avarua or drive. Parking space is easily found down at the eastern end of the market. At the eastern end of the market you will find an array of craft and clothing stalls selling colourful sundresses, pareu's, ukuleles, black pearls and jewellery. Be sure to look out for the Cook Islands tivaivai (quilts). They are beautifully handmade bedspreads of tropical designs and colours. The tivaivai art form is unique to the Cook Islands and are works of love by the women who spend hours making the sought after bedcovers. The atmosphere at the markets is friendly and relaxed. You will rarely find sellers here who try to push their wares and bargaining is not an accepted custom in the Cook Islands. You are naturally drawn toward the centre of the markets with the sounds of singing and laughter, and the gorgeous aroma of curries, BBQ's and satays. This outdoor food court is great place to sample some local delicacies, take a seat and soak in the atmosphere. An example of what's on offer and price guide: Waffles and ice cream $6, Curry $5, Satay Stick $2, Fresh Coconut $2.50, Pawpaw Smoothie $4, Past the food court you come to the fresh fruit and veggie stalls. Growers come from all over the Cook Islands to sell their produce at this market. It's also a great place to buy Nonu Juice, the Cook Islands original natural tonic. You may find it for as little as $8 a bottle. Now that's a bargain.
081-CS4021: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. A group of children dressed as dancers of the Cook Island around the Punanga Nui Markets. Cook Islands dancing is almost similar to Tahitian dancing. The difference between Cook Islands and Tahitian dancing is in the hip swaying and the feet. Women dancers hip motion must be predominantly side-to-side and they must be flat footed while doing this. Tahitian women dancers hip motion is mostly round-and-round (like a washing machine) with the heel lifted. It is a real test to remain flat footed while swaying your hips. The way to tell a good female dancer is if her shoulders remain steady while she is swaying her hips. The basic materials used to make dancing skirts are: long green leaves (rauti or coconut fronds), dried bark strips from the wild hibiscus tree (kiriau), pounded bark (tapa) or cotton cloth. At the waist there is normally a titi which is adorned with all kinds of shells, seeds, leaves or flowers. Apart from being a decorative item, it also adds a little weight which helps the shaking/swinging process. A lot of work goes into producing costumes, but they last many years. Behind the dancers are the drummers, guitar/ukelele players and singers. There are various drumming instruments used. The pate (pronounced partay) is a piece of wood that has been hollowed out containing a slit at the top. Notice these are hit with either one stick or two sticks depending on the type of rythmn you are trying to produce. The different lengths, type of wood and diameter of the pate also affect the sound. Then there are the drums which are similar to the normal metal drums that you can buy except these are made of wood and goat hide. The huge drum tilted on its side produces the boom boom boom sound that you will hear. A much slender drum standing upright produces a different sound and is hit with two sticks. The hitting sticks are held differently, more like holding an ice cream cone but with the thumb pressed against the cone. Anyway, its very difficult to describe, its better if you saw it. I believe that once you hear the drumbeats, you will want to get up and join the show too. They say that Cook Islands dancing is very sensuous, you be the judge. There are a number of dance troupes performing at various hotels around the island. You can just watch the show, but there is normally a cover charge of about NZ$5 (US$2.50). Be sure to sit up front.
082-CS4212: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. The big fish, Diving Centre in Rarotonga. You can dive Rarotonga in clear, warm waters with fantastic visibility and diversity of marine life which makes it excellent for diving and snorkelling or if you've never been diving before - we are a full service dive operation who can cater for all your needs and take you out for your first bubbles in a breath taking under water world. Either if you explore the abundant fish variety of the lagoon right across the road in the Aroa Marine Reserve as a snorkeler/diver or if you take a trip outside the reef you will feel the difference that Rarotonga and The Big Fish has to offer. If you are diving with us, we guarantee you a personalised, relaxed atmosphere. We have time for our guests, either if you just rent equipment, do your dive course, a dive trip or just pop in for a coffee. Most of our guests come into our shop as customers and leave as friends - hopefully with great memories of scuba diving the cook islands with The Big Fish.
083-CS4205: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Diving Centre in Rarotonga: The big Fish, The Dive Center. Lagoon Dive with de Dive Center. Rarotonga (meaning 'down south') is the largest of the Cook Islands at 20 miles in circumference and is the most likely island to visit if you intend to dive in the archipelago. Its interior is virtually unpopulated and the edges of the island are fringed by sandy white beaches and coral reefs. The mountainous and rugged inland areas are and covered in rainforest, and streams make there way down the steep valleys to the sea. To travel around Rarotonga takes about one hour by car or buses depart hourly from Cook's Corner Arcade in Ararua. The coast road fully circles the island and there is another intermittent road about 500 metres further inland. It is only possible to travel across the island on foot as there are no roads. To walk across takes three to four hours, stopping at 'the Needle' where you can experience panoramic views of the island. It is possible to organise walks through travel agents, but these can be hard going for people not used to mountain walking, especially if it rains as the paths become slippery. Rarotonga lies just inside the Tropic of Capricorn, so has a tropical climate. Air temperatures range from a low of 18°C in winter (May to October) to a high of 29°C in the summer when it is also wet and humid (November to April). The capital of Rarotonga is Ararua. There are a number of villages along the coast that are very colourful and clean and the towns house plenty of restaurants, bars and cafes with seafood as a common dish. Accommodation is available in either hotels, holiday homes or in rented bungalows. The dramatic scenery of the youngest geologically speaking of the Cook Islands provides a stunning backdrop for wherever you stay. Rarotonga rises a maximum of 658 metres from sea level and is surrounded by a lagoon that extends several tens of metres to the outer reef, before dropping dramatically away to depths of over 4500 metres. The lagoon is great for snorkelling, particularly at Titikaveka. Beyond the lagoon, the reefs and drop offs that fall away to thousands of metres make great dive sites with caves, canyons and tunnels to explore. There are also some wrecks to break up the reefs, some of which have been damaged by cyclones that have hit the island. The best drop-offs are along the south coast, but the north coast sustains better coral growth. Unfortunately there has been an invasion of the destructive crown of thorns starfish, which has lead to a reduction in the amount of coral. However, a culling is taking place which is allowing the coral to fight back a little and some over fishing has lead to fishing bans in places. There is no decompression chamber on the islands, the nearest is in New Zealand, so make sure that you are carrying sufficient travel insurance.
084-CS4194: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. A girl sipping a Matutu Mai beer, typical beer of the Cook Island. Matutu Brewing Company is based in Vaka Takitumu on the island of Rarotonga. We are two families of patriotic Cook Islanders aiming to produce premium beers and beverages that will be iconic to the Cook Islands experience. Our beer is currently available in all reputable cafes, restaurants, resorts and bars in Rarotonga and in some outer islands resorts and cafes. Brewing is a long established practise in the Cook Islands called "tumunu". Matutu is the only brewing company located in the Cook Islands. You can find us in the village of Tikioki, on the Island of Rarotonga. Matutu boutique beers are brewed in small batches using only premium brewing ingredients. We handcraft each brew, and bottle to order to ensure that our beer arrives fresh to you. At present we brew 'Mai' our Lager, 'Kiva' our Pale Ale and the recently launched 'Matutu' our draught. Mai – Lager Mai is an authentic Lager brewed with German Pilsner malt and the addition of four hops which give this beer its distinctive notes. Super Alpha and Hallertau hops are added early to this brew which ensures it's crisp, bitter taste, while the later additions of Saaz (B and D) give off the estery aromas and flavours. These combined with brewer's passion give you genuine flavours to savour while quenching your thirst.
085-CS2965: Rarotonga Island. Cook Island. Polynesia. South Pacific Ocean. Meal in the luxurious Little Polynesian Resort in Rarotonga. A typical day at Little Polynesian begins with a "Tropical Island Breakfast" delivered to your room every morning. This delightful start to the day consists of local fruit (in season), yogurt, honey, toast, cereal tea or coffee. At midday, lunch brings a wonderful variety of salads and bistro style options. When evening beckons, our bistro offers an eclectic menu with an exciting mix of Island and Mediterranean cuisine including freshly caught seafood, delicious lamb and beef as well as tasty vegetarian options. Our dessert menu is equally tempting, with its tropical flavored delights. The complete range of gourmet coffee drinks is also available.
A Taste Of Paradise
A recipe for traditional Ika Mata, courtesy of Royale Takitumu, Rarotonga.
2 to 3 pieces of fresh filleted fish – yellow fin tuna or wahoo works well
2 ripe tomatoes
Half a green pepper
Half a red pepper
Half a yellow pepper
1 cucumber, medium size
Handful fresh coriander
1 cup fresh lemon juice
Half an onion
3 cloves garlic
1 cup coconut cream
• Cut the fish fillet into small cubes (2 cm x 2cm).
• Dice vegetables in to smaller cubes.
• Put the fish cubes in a strainer and let cold water run over them for two to three minutes.
• Put the fish in a glass bowl and add half a cup of water with two teaspoons of salt.
• Let the fish sit in the salted water for five minutes and then drain the salted water. Do not add extra salt.
• Cover the fish with fresh lemon juice.
• Let the fish marinate in the lemon juice for 30 minutes or more. Place in fridge until ready to add the coconut cream and vegetables.
• Pour the lemon juice out and add the diced vegetables to the marinated fish.
• Add fresh coconut cream and stir until the fish is evenly covered.
• Season with white pepper and fresh coriander.
Cook Islands 101
• Getting There: Air New Zealand operates a weekly non-stop direct flight to Rarotonga from Los Angeles. The nine-and-a-half hour flight departs on Sunday evening and arrives on Monday morning. The return flight departs Rarotonga on Saturday evening just before midnight and arrives back into LA early Sunday afternoon. Alternately, you can combine a Cook Island vacation with a New Zealand or Australia itinerary.
• Time: There is just a three-hour time difference with the west coast of Canada.
• Currency: The Cook Islands' unit of currency is the New Zealand dollar, supplemented by Cook Islands notes and coins minted for local use. These unique local coins and notes are not negotiable outside the Cook Islands, but they are keenly sought by collectors worldwide. Currency is easy to obtain via your local bank or through ATM in the Cook Islands.
• Business Hours: Most stores close by noon on Saturdays and are closed all day Sunday.
• Clothing: Although the dress code is informal, brief attire is not encouraged when visiting the town or villages. Nude or topless sunbathing will cause offence. A light sweater is advised for the cooler evenings.
• Language: Cook Islands' Maori is the local language, but everyone also speaks English. Here are a few local words to try while you're in the Cooks: Kia Orana (hello), Aera ra (goodbye), Meitaki (thank you), ae (yes), kare (no), tane (man), vaine (woman), manea (pretty/handsome), mataroa (happy), kai (food), teia ra (today), apopo (tomorrow), ra (sun), marama (moon).
• Local Air Transport: Air Rarotonga operates regular services to the southern group of islands, including Aitutaki. One-day lagoon cruise excursions to Aitutaki are also available. Services to the northern group islands are infrequent, so check with Air Rarotonga well before you plan to go. Charter flights can be arranged with in-flight catering and experienced tour guides. To save some money, Air Rarotonga flights can be booked in conjunction with Air New Zealand tickets.
• Driving: It's not too difficult to drive in the Cook Islands as there is only one road around the main island of Rarotonga, which is roughly 32 kilometres in circumference and has no stop lights! Additionally, the smaller island of Aitutaki is easily navigated. Cars and scooters are available for hire. Vehicles drive on the left hand side of the road and the speed limit is 40 km per hour in the town and villages and 50 km per hour outside of the populated areas. The motor scooter speed limit is 40 km per hour if you're not wearing a safety helmet. Drivers of all vehicles are required to have a current Cook Islands drivers' licence, which can be obtained from the police station in Avarua at a cost of NZD $20 on presentation of your own valid licence. If you hire a motor scooter, there is an additional charge of NZD $5 for a compulsory practical test. Your rental vehicle provider will advise you of the regulations.