Cook Islands Oceania

Rarotonga, a heavenly paradise lost in the Pacific

on
22 May 2017

Since we arrived in New Zealand we heard a lot about the Pacific islands. Especially about Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and also a bit about the Cooks islands.Unfortunately the Wellingtonian summer was not as sunny as we expected. We thought about going to the islands for a while so when we saw Air New Zealand deals to go there we jumped on the chance! We thought: if we don’t go there now we will probably never go. From Wellington it is only six hours flight including a stop whereas from France it would have take at least 31 hours! Not to mention the price! So let’s pack beach towels, swimsuits and summer dresses and let’s flight to the Cook Islands!

Alone in a small piece of paradise.

Alone in a small piece of paradise.

The Cook islands are an archipelago of fifteen Polynesian islands lost in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. We chose to spend one week in the biggest of these islands: Rarotonga. Inland is mountainous as this is a volcanic island.

Landscapes are so beautiful! Te Manga, the highest peak, only reaches 653 metres but it is still an inspire view. A wild and beautiful mountain. The summits crest seems to tear the sky apart whereas the forest looks so quiet and mysterious. No road nor house is visible. Vegetation is dense. It is almost impossible to distinguish some rocks. Palm trees poke out everywhere around.

The view from the "Cross island walk", a hike that Franck walked.

The view from the “Cross island walk”, a hike that Franck did.

All around the coast things are really different. Even if there are still a lot of palm trees and coconut trees there is no mountains. The island edges are completely flat and surrounded by the lagoon. A lagoon like the ones on the postcards with such clear turquoise waters that we could forget this is salted water!

This view is sublime. Before the horizon, more or less close to it, we can clearly distinguish the limit between the ocean and the lagoon. For those who watches the animation movie Moana it is exactly the same: don’t go further beyond the lagoon. The turquoise waters become dark blue waters as soon as the lagoon ends and we can see huge waves from the beach. When I saw the lagoon for the first time I was so surprised to discover such a clear difference.

One day during our holidays we decided to take benefit of low tide at Black Rock to walk until the end of the lagoon. Indeed there at low tide water is not deep at all and reach waist at maximum. At the end we stopped a few metres before the end of the lagoon because there are too many corals and it became too complicated for me to move forward without risking to fall, hurt myself and damage corals.

The lagoon seen from Rarotonga Fruits.

The lagoon seen from Rarotonga Fruits.

Now let’s put our snorkelling gear on and let’s go discover Rarotonga underwater world. That was the first time I have done snorkelling and I found that totally amazing! There are so many animals living in corals! We saw sea cucumbers, sea urchins and a lot of fishes of different colours and shapes! Yellow, black, blue, white, pink, red… Unfortunately our camera didn’t work very well underwater so I can’t show you all those fascinating tropical fishes but you can have a glimpse of the marine life watching at this urchin.

During our week in Rarotonga we made snorkelling at 3 different places: Muri Lagoon, Rarotonga Fruits and Black Rock. We had the best time in Muri and Black Rock. We saw clearly many fishes and swimming there was easy except in a small spot between the two Muri Lagoon biggest islands where there is a strong current. Rarotonga Fruits is known to be a good place to do some snorkelling especially as there are less people. Unfortunately during our afternoon here there were a lot of currents and wind. Consequently water was blurry and swimming was not as easy so did not stay too long.

Snorkelling with style!

Snorkelling with style!

Muri Lagoon, Rarotonga Fruits and Black Rock are also perfect places to do some farniente and have a good swim. Muri looks like a dream place: a turquoise waters lagoon facing three islands. However this is also the most famous and busy beach. If you want more tranquility and a hotter water just cross the lagoon and go to one of the 3 small islands. On these ones there are less people as there is no accommodation and, in addition, the view on Rarotonga island is superb. If you sit by the sea you will even see some small white fishes swimming just near you! Nevertheless the central island becomes busy at midday as touristic tours stops there during lunch time.

Muri Beach.

Muri Beach.

At Rarotonga Fruits the water colour is as stunning as the Muri Lagoon one. Only a few metres and coconuts puts your beach towel apart from the ocean but in case of windy weather this beach is quite exposed. If you want to avoid wind and enjoy sun until the last moment Black Rock is the beach to be.  We never felt wind in that beach located at the north-west of the island. It is not as heavenly as Muri Lagoon but the sand is still golden and the water still warm. In addition, it is a good spot to enjoy sunset and maybe even see a plane going down to land at the airport.

Black Rock and its clear waters.

Black Rock and its clear waters.

So ready to travel to the Cook islands? If so, you can read about what to do and visit in Rarotonga to discover this wonderful Polynesian culture and, if needed, you will also find useful information about accessibility and disability in the Cook islands.

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