Lonely Planet: "Jutting like a jewel from the sapphire-blue Pacific, Rarotonga is most people's quintessential image of a South Pacific island. Crowned by jagged green mountains and saw-tooth hills, cloaked with tangled jungle, mango groves and tall coconut trees, and completely encircled by a dazzling turquoise lagoon, Rarotonga is unquestionable one of the most beautiful of all the Cook Islands.."
On every Saturday morning there is a big market: the Punanga Nui Market with lots of things to eat and to see. Our visit was coinciding with the local Tiare (Tiare is a Gardenia) Flower Festival and the market, so lots of flowers in trees and behind ears.
Rarotonga is the largest
of the Cook Islands, which consists of a Southern group of about eight island
and a remote Northern group of about half a dozen islands.
Raratonga, although the largest is still very manageable: a coastal ring road around the island is about 32 km. There are regular bus services that stops on demand, one going clockwise, the other counterclockwise.
The coastal road passes through farmland, and rambling homesteads. Dogs, pigs, chickens wander freely and lots of trees: flower and fruit are fringing the road and of course coconut palms.
The people like to keep their loved ones close by, also after they have passed on, hence ancestral graves are in the backyard or at the side of the house.
Beaches are everywhere and are belonging to the island. No private beaches here, although to get on the beach one has to go through the public access points.
By clicking on any of the photos a new window will open up with an enlargement.
Last updated January 31, 2007
And then....on the evening of 12 December we had to say goodbye to the Cook Islands. In the middle of the night though we had one last glimpse of the South Pacific, a stop in Tahiti with the usual welcome.
The Wednesday saw us
arrive in Vancouver in +3 weather with the usual Vancouver humidity.
The next day we flew home to Whitehorse and Atlin.