Travel blog: Rarotonga, Cook Islands

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All photos were taken on an iPhone 6

In late May-early June of 2016 I travelled out of New Zealand for the first time. One week spent on the beautiful island of Rarotonga, in the Cook Islands isn’t bad for a first time holidayer like myself. This post does stray from my usual beauty related posts, however I am studying travel and tourism and travelling is one of my biggest passions and goals in life so I’m going to slowly integrate travel posts into my blog. In this post I’m just going to go over a few of the details of the trip and essentially talk about my experience whilst here.

To start off I’m going to give you a quick run down on Rarotonga as a destination, true travel student style.

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Couldn’t find a good map, however this one is originally from: about-the-cook-islands

Where is it? Rarotonga is the main Island of the Cook Islands. Which is technically made up of 15 islands however majority of these aren’t major tourist destinations and most tourists are likely staying on the island of Rarotonga, or sometimes the island of Aitutaki. It is in the South Pacific.

 

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View from the plane when leaving

Description: While being the most populous of the Cook Islands, Rarotonga is still relatively small. It essentially has one main road that goes around the edge of the Island and a full circle of the Island can be done in 30-45 minutes driving. So anywhere you want to go on the main Island is pretty quick to reach. It is completely surrounded by a coral reef and features four small coral islets that are within a few 100 metres of the main shore. Between the main road and the lagoon around the edge of the Island is where most of the resorts and ‘shops’ are situated, however as you drive into the centre of the island you begin to go uphill as the Islands are a result of now extinct Volcanic activity.

 

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Part of the beach area directly outside of where we stayed

Island life: Rarotonga has a very relaxed, casual, and down to earth lifestyle. Those that live here live a pretty simple life and while there are the exception of night clubs and busy restaurants, it doesn’t have many other major structures such as tall buildings or overly developed malls. The term ‘island time’ was used often as you don’t tend to keep much of a time schedule here, you go with the flow and do things at your own pace and time (a very slow pace might I add, I napped in the sun for hours at a time during the day).

 

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On our way to the restaurant

Where I stayed: There is a range of accommodation types on the island, everything from low-budget and more family orientated, to middle of the range, all the way up to high-class adult only luxury resorts. We stayed at the Edgewater resort which is a very middle of the range, family friendly but not overcrowded with kids resort. Here they have a restaurant, bar, pool, gift shop, tennis court, and individual apartments as well as villas. We stayed in one the 3 bedroom villas and all the rooms/villas are within 2 minutes walk of the shore as the main area of the resort is overlooking the shore. The villa we stayed in was basically wonderful, it wasn’t luxury but the amenities and quality of the house was amazing and the staff were all absolutely incredible, much like everyone on the island. The restaurant had a really good selection of delicious foods and we ate here almost every dinner time.

 

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The lagoon out front of the resort restaurant

What we did: This holiday was very much about relaxing so we didn’t necessarily embark on many major adventures however we did make sure to at least see some of the main events including:

  • attending the markets on a Saturday which had so many cool things to buy, from fresh coconuts and traditional foods to gifts that were perfect to take back home, it was also great to know we were supporting the local economy.
  • lots and lots of snorkelling! The snorkelling here is so incredible as the entire island is surrounded by a reef. The water is perfectly clear with an abundance of marine life to see, and the water in many areas stays the same depth right out to the reef.
  • we also snorkelled and explored one of the smaller islets, Taakoka I believe (may be wrong) and while the giant hornet looking creatures hovering around the trees and rocks prevented us from actually venturing further into the islet, we did swim around it in, at points, slightly deeper water where we also saw schools of fish and much larger fish than our usually snorkelling spot outside of our resort.
  • We went to a night held at our resort, that’s also held at majority of resorts called Island night. This is where a group of performers come and showcase the beautiful culture through dance, many of the dances telling a different story as introduced by the very charismatic host. I can’t remember exactly if it was at half way or after the performance but there was also a special buffet style dinner provided that was focused around the traditional foods.

 

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Our view from around the corner of our villa

This really was the trip of a lifetime and an amazing place to start as a first overseas holiday, I would 100% recommend the Cook Islands as a destination for all types of people! It’s the perfect relaxing holiday, when all you want to do is tan on the beach, explore the beautiful surroundings, and eat to your hearts desire some of the best food on the planet. I know this post is different to my usual focus but as someone who is passionate about travelling I can see myself doing these types of posts more and more often as I see more of the world.

 

Proud travel bug, Chatterkiwi x

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