Thursday, January 1, 2015

Cook Islands

Last August we had a short escape to the Cook Islands (Rarotonga).... We have selected the place based on recommendations from friends who visited the Islands before. With a bit of delay let`s try and remember the good and the bad. The trip was quite short from Melbourne with a stop in Auckland. We have rented a house close to Muri beach and we got a car for the first three days. Although there is a bus going around the island every 30 min or so I think it is more convenient to have your own vehicle....particularly since we often found ourselves pursuing the sunshine. Rarotonga is quite small with the main road following the coastline (32 km) and a secondary road about 200m further inside. There is nothing much to see on Rarotonga except beaches and some tracks to the mountain peaks. The nicest beaches are in the southern part, e.g. Muri Lagoon and so on. However, we often had to use the western beaches where weather was better. Provisions are available from a hand full of supermarkets with the biggest one being located in Avarua. However, the food variety is quite small and fresh produce are of the main negative points. The beaches are nice, particularly Muri lagoon but nothing extraordinary. The climb to the peak (the Needle) is not very difficult and you are supposed to have quite a nice view from the top. Unfortunately we arrived in bad weather with very low clouds and rain so we did not see much. In Muri there are some dinners and every couple of days a night market with food stands which was enough for us. One of my main disappointments was the general dirtiness, stray dogs and rubbish all over the place, particularly on the western beaches. For such a small and touristic place this far from acceptable. Also, the inland road is littered with abandoned properties and dump sites. Overall, I would not recommend Rarotonga. For the amount of money spent to get there is not really worth. Probably staying on one of the smaller islands is a better choice. We did a one day trip to Aitutaki and I think we would probably go back there. The place is smaller, less touristic, no dogs, much cleaner and the lagoon is quite nice.

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