Photo Source: Fleaphotos
If you like to be active on your holidays then Rarotonga has a fantastic selection of outdoor activities. One of the main on-land activities we recommend to guests is the Cross Island walk that takes you from the town (Avarua) side of Rarotonga to the South coast or vice-versa.
Photo Souce: Fleaphotos
The walk takes 2-3 hours depending on your level of fitness, with some parts an easy walk through bush and a few areas of climbing up over tree roots and rocks. With the reward being the awesome views looking across the Island from the ‘Needle’, which is the highest point on Rarotonga.
To get to the track you can either park at the start point of one end and walk up and back to your car, or you can catch a bus to return you to your car or start point. Some hikers choose to walk from town, starting in Avarua you walk 3km (a bit less than 2 miles) to the Avatiu Valley following the signs to the water intake which marks the start of the walk. From here you follow the path to the left of the houses until you reach the forest and you will see a path fork off to the right. From here it is about a 45min-1 hr walk to the top. At the top you will see a path to the Needle on the right hand side, this is the spot to get the best views.
Photo Source: Fleaphotos
You can then either head back the way you came or continue following the track across the Island to the southern coast and Papua Waterfall. The walk to the waterfall is covered in lush rainforest and features some giant ferns and the Papua stream. Once you reach the waterfall (also known as Wigmore’s Waterfall) you can follow the gravel road out to the main Island road, past the Sheraton Hotel ruins.
If you would prefer a guided walk then there are a couple of companies who offer this, with the most famous being Pa’s Treks. Pa is a local personality who specialises in traditional medicine and who knows much about Cook Island and Polynesian history and legends.
For more information about the walk ask at our reception or browse through some of the many Rarotonga tourist brochures and maps we have available. We can organise guided tours and assist with bus timetables and pick up areas.
Source: Cook Islands Ministry of Cultural Development
The Cook Island 50th Independence celebrations that we wrote about in February are now in full swing! Every year the Cook Island’s celebrate self-governance, something that they achieved in 1965, in what is called Te Maeva Nui. This 50-year milestone is being celebrated over the next 2 weeks with attendance and participation from thousands of Cook Islanders from the outer islands, Australia and New Zealand.
Over the last few days there has been a fantastic parade with more than 50 floats, the official opening with a beautiful ceremony full of colour and dancing, and Te Maeva Nui dancing performances held at the national auditorium.
Rarotonga has been full of amazing costumes, dances, songs, drum beats and colour! It is fantastic to see all the groups from the outer islands perform. These islands include Manahiki, Pukapuka, Penrhyn, Suwarrow, Aitutaki, and Mangaia to name a few.
Today is Trade Day, when people from the outer islands sell crafts and produce from their home. This is a great time to try some local delicacies. There will be more opportunities to visit the trade day stalls on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Source: Cook Islands Ministry of Cultural Development
The official Government programme starts next Monday, with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key attending. Tuesday 4th August is the official Constitution Day ceremony.
If you haven’t made it to this or other year’s Te Maeva Nui celebrations then we highly recommend this time of year to come and visit us.
So book it in – July/August 2016 celebrate with us in Rarotonga!
We are very lucky to have a fantastic selection of restaurants and cafes in the Muri Beach area, where our guests can enjoy anything from a coffee and French croissant to local Fish burgers and chips. Here are some of the places our guests love to visit:
Muri Night Food Market
What started out as a Thursday night market to cater for tourists staying in the Muri area, has now expanded to include Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays. The night market has a selection of delicious local food stalls including main meals such as cajun chicken, tuna with pawpaw dressing, local fish curry, chicken carbonara and a selection of dishes with a topping of our famous Rarotongan mushroom sauce!
Thursday and Sunday nights offer a greater selection of food stalls including an amazing assortment of desserts such as cheesecake, meringues, locally baked cakes and delicious pineapple and custard pies. Smoothies and juices are also becoming popular on the island and you will always find a stall with local fresh juice or custom made smoothies. Tuesdays and Wednesdays usually have at least four stalls, or more if it is a lovely evening.
Live entertainment is on Thursday and Sunday nights, adding to the great atmosphere. When the weather is nice there are tapa mats provided to sit on so you can enjoy dinner and music for the evening.
We recommend our guests visit the night market to taste the local cuisine and enjoy a fun evening under the stars while being entertained by local singers.
Rickshaw & La Casita
Other local restaurants in the Muri area include Rickshaw, a Vietnamese fusion restaurant that has a selection of Thai and Vietnamese food, with many dishes using delicious local ingredients such as locally caught tuna.
La Casita is a Mexican restaurant located next to Rickshaw which serves burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas, pizzas and more.
LBV & Deli-Licious
LBV is a great café that has become very popular with both tourists and locals, serving great coffee and a wonderful selection of patisseries, deli and cooked items during the day, and a full fine dining dinner menu on Friday and Saturday evening.
Deli-Licious is across the road from LBV, serving fresh homemade salads and sandwiches, cabinet items, delicious coffee and more.
Located right on the water overlooking Muri lagoon, Sails serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with a modern Pacific style flavour. This is a great place to enjoy a cocktail and enjoy the vibe of the Muri beach area.
These are just a few of the dining options available in the Muri area. We will be happy to recommend other dining options in Muri and around the Island, with many great local restaurants catering to all tastes and food requirements.
There have been quite a few whale sightings around the island recently, some not far from Rumours. If you are not already aware, June-November is Humpback Whale Migration season for Rarotonga.
The first sightings this year were at the end of May, and by the end of June there were daily sightings off Avarua and the west of the island. Most sightings have been in the mornings or evenings, but the 11am Reef Sub was lucky to get an amazing display from a male Humpback whale that sang, breached, and somersaulted for them for over an hour!
The best place on Rarotonga to spot humpback whales is along the north coast where the coral reef edge is closest to shore, and the most popular spots with good vantage viewing is Avarua Town and Black Rock on the north west coast.
It really is a spectacular sight to see these majestic creatures surfacing so close. Often you will see both mother and calf, and sometimes you may even see up to three whales surfacing together.
The whales migrate from the cooler climate of Antarctica up to the warm tropical waters of the Cook Islands to give birth. They usually spend a few months here with their calves, before heading back down to the Antarctica summer.
Rarotongan resident whale expert (Whale biologist and researcher) Nan Hauser has just arrived back on the island. She will now take some ID shots from the whale breachings to identify the age and sex of the whales we are seeing. The Whale Research Centre, located on the back road from Avarua Town, has information about the migration, news on recent sightings and a small collection of memorabilia. This is well worth a visit.
Rumours was approached last year by the NZ High Commissioner MrJohn Carter as to whether Rumours would be interested in helping this very worthwhile project. We committed a donation of a percentage of all the Waterfall Spa income over the months of November and December 2012.
We have recently transfered over the total amount to the NZ High Commmissioner for placement into the Troubled Youth Project account. Rumours would like to thank our great spa team and all the locals who supported the Spa during these months so that the funding in the Troubled Youth account could be substantially increased.
It is very encouraging to see projects like this being undertaken in the Cook Islands so that our young people can upskill and take a positive place in our community.
The beautiful tall ship Picton Castle is in Avatiu Harbour, Rarotonga for the next three weeks, and worth a visit to observe or even take a half day voyage.
New Zealand and Australia have seen some extreme weather over the last few months with a mix of record high temperatures and floods. Now both countries are moving into winter which could mean more extreme weather including freezing temperatures for some!
Last Wednesday morning two traditional double-hull waka arrived safely at Avarua harbour on Rarotonga. The crew are on an epic 10,000 km Waka Tapu journey from Auckland in New Zealand to Rapanui (Easter Island).
Leading the expedition is master navigator Jacko Thatcher who is one of five traditional Po (master) navigators in the South Pacific. The two double-hulled canoes Te Aurere and Ngahiraka mai Tawhiti have been built in the traditional style and are navigated using star compasses and knowledge of the stars passed down through generations of Polynesian navigators.
The sailors will be enjoying a well earned break on shore and all the people of the Cook Islands are incredibly proud of them.
If you are staying at Rumours, or anywhere else on Rarotonga have a look at the port in Avarua or ask at Trader Jacks and they will tell you where the two waka are moored.
It really was the worst kept secret in Rarotonga. Yes Hillary Clinton did arrive on our sunny shores, along with her incredibly large entourage and additional cargo plane! And I have to say, what an amazing visit for Rarotonga and for the Pacific Islands Forum. As we blogged last time, this was the biggest VIP visitor since Queen Elizabeth II in 1974.
The hype she created was huge, with locals still buzzing over the historic visit by the US Secretary of State and her delegation. While here, Clinton did an amazing job of talking to the locals while happily posing for photos. She even delighted some by thoughtful touches such as using a Polynesian inspired clutch purse designed by ex-pat Rachel Guinea.
In terms of official business, Clinton really did impressGiven what an incredible role model she is to women (intelligent and driven), as part of her visit she met with a group committed to improving the lives of Pacific women. There she spoke about gender equality and launched the Rarotonga Partnership for the Advancement of Pacific Island Women. This is an initiative between the governments of the US, New Zealand and Australia to support emerging women leaders, and establish networks for sustainable leadership development in the region.
At the Pacific Islands Forum she told leaders that "our countries are bound by shared interest and more importantly shared values, a shared history and shared goals for our future". The Forum participants then agreed to international commitment to sustainable ocean management and conservation. This included the launch of the World’s biggest marine park, by the Cook Islands government. A huge 1. 2 million square kilometres (386,000 square miles), this is equal to the size of Egypt!
Of course much more was discussed, and it is hoped that the results of the forum will translate into real tangible economic benefit for the whole of the Cook Islands. Nevertheless, for those in the tourism industry one of the lasting legacies will be the amazing feedback Hillary Clinton and other Forum leaders gave to journalists while on their visit.
Hillary and other guests were reported to be ‘spellbound’ by our Islands’ natural beauty, and charmed by the local people and the beautiful cultural performances. While on the Forum retreat, the local paper quoted one of the leaders as saying “this is heaven”. And at the end of her visit, clearly taken with the Cook Islands, Hillary Clinton said she would prefer “not to go on to the next stop”.
There is no denying; in terms of tourism promotion this was an incredible way to showcase our patch of paradise.
The above photo was sourced from the US Embassy New Zealand page on flickr http://www. flickr. com/photos/us_embassy_newzealand/