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Cook Islands Waka On Epic Journey

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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.

Three Reasons to Visit Rumours Rarotonga: 3 Easy Travel

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Travel to the Cook Islands doesnt have to be expensive. Many round the world tickets allow you to include Rarotonga as a stopover at no extra costAir New Zealand flies here from Auckland and Los Angeles so it makes a great stop between New Zealand and the USA. Air New Zealand often discount $150 or more off return flights to the Pacific Islands. It is an easy four hour flight between Auckland and the Cook Islands, and even quicker on the way back!Sydney is only six hours and from Los Angeles its nine hours.
Some travel companies also provide package deals to our Resort, just Google Rumours Rarotonga package deal to find themAlso, visit and Like our Rumours Luxury Villas & Spa Facebook Page as we post any travel deals we find here, and our website is another good source of information as we have a hot deals section. We update these regularly to let you know of special packages or flights deals that become availableAir New Zealand often get an accommodation package with bonus inclusions, add the air travel content and promote it on their website as a special "Premier Holiday".

Three Reasons to Visit Rumours Rarotonga: 2 Beaches and Pools

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Have you ever dreamed of visiting a tropical island with white sand beaches and warm sapphire-hued watersHere at Rumours of Rarotonga the dream is a realityThe Island is almost completely encircled by a reef, which harbours a lagoon of clear turquoise waters and soft white coral sand beaches. When you stay in a beachfront Villa you are able to step off your private deck straight on to a white sand beachHere you can enjoy swimming in the warm blue lagoon, or you can relax in your deck chair with the water lapping at your feet. When you feel like a change from the idyllic beach scenery, you then have the option of swimming in your own private pool with a rock waterfall, or relaxing on your private sun soaked deckAnd when the evening comes you can relax in your private spa located beside your Villa.

Let Local Experts Plan Your Wedding in Rarotonga

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At Rumours Luxury Villas & Spa,  a romantic beachside wedding is surprisingly simple to organize.   Ceremonies to renew vows are also increasing in popularity. You might prefer a traditional ceremony or something more relaxed with an island theme.   If it's a wedding at sunset or beside the lagoon under an Arch beautified with Tropical flowers a Cook Islands Wedding at Rumours can be designed just for you. Our team of dedicated wedding coordinators can plan your perfect wedding day with stress free organization With a wealth of local knowledge and experience our team of professionals will help you create your perfect day you will remember for a lifetime.  

Three Reasons to Visit Rumours Rarotonga: 1 - Wonderful Weather

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The most obvious reason that jumps to mind when thinking of a holiday destination is the weatherEverybody wants a sunny and warm holiday, and even though it has been summer in Europe and the United States the weather has been anything but thatI have been watching the international weather reports on the news lately and like most I am shocked at how bad the weather seems to be this yearThe United Kingdom suffered a wet and cold summer, the United States has had tropical storms and severe drought to contend with, Australia’s winter has seen devastating floods and New Zealand is also feeling the effects of a winter deluge!  
Meanwhile here in the Cook Islands we consistently have stunning weatherBecause we are in the southern hemisphere we have just finished our ‘winter season’, that means the average temperature was about 25 °C (77 °F) with the occasional high reaching 28°C (82 °F)And even though we get occasional rain or a storm pass through, the weather stays warm and so does the water!  For the odd time that it does rain, or in the cooler evenings, our guests have the option of private pools and spa pools to relax in  We also have our award winning ‘Waterfall Spa’ facility which is a purpose built luxury Spa where our guests can unwind and enjoy exclusive beauty/spa treatments at the hands of our incredibly talented therapists.

Hillary Clinton Loves Rarotonga

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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/

Hillary Clinton to visit Rarotonga

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Everyone here in Rarotonga is very excited about the news that another ‘high profile’ international guest is expected to visit the Cook Islands.   Rumour is the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be attending the annual Pacific Forum to be held here in Rarotonga beginning August 27.   While the US Embassy in New Zealand declined to confirm the rumour, Cook Island officials are ‘preparing as if she is coming’.   This preparation includes sourcing vehicles for her stay, in addition to the three SUVs owned by the governmentIn all there will be 16 cars, police vehicles, motorbikes and scout cars. Local Police have asked drivers to be on alert for the ‘motorcade’ which will be transporting VIP leaders around RarotongaThere will also be tighter security on the Island during the Forum, with New Zealand providing some extra police officers to assist the local police force. You may wonder why such a powerful and influential US politician is attending the annual forum.   Apparently her presence would ‘emphasize Washington’s policy shift on trade, humanitarian aid and military presence in the Region as it seeks to capitalize upon and counterbalance the rise of many Pacific and Asian nations. ’  Translated I would say, the US needs as many ‘allies’ as possible in the current world economic and political environment. If the rumour proves true, this will be the biggest dignitary to visit Rarotonga since Queen Elizabeth II came to stay with Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips - in 1974!  Hopefully Hillary and her entourage will consider some much needed R&R at Rumours Luxury Villas and Spa! The photograph above of Queen Elizabeth was taken by Bill Johnson and all credit for the photo goes to him.

How Technology In Rarotonga Has Improved Our Resort Experience

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Over the last 5 years there have been some amazing advances in technology and we are able to enjoy them while living in the tropical island paradise of RarotongaAs the owner of Rumours Luxury Villas and Spa I have a vested interest in how these advances can enhance tourism and tourists alike in Rarotonga.   We have worked very hard at ensuring our guests have access to the right type of technology while on holiday at our resort, and that they are also informed about what is available. Facebook is an example of one of the additions we have made to ourmarketing strategy.   This is a fantastic way to stay engaged with thoseguests who have stayed with us, and it also gives us the opportunity toshare information about our resort and Rarotonga with future guests.  Currently we have over 2,700  people who ‘like’ Rumours on Facebook, andthis number grows every time we have new visitors stay.   I likeFacebook for the fact that we can post specials and news and our‘followers’ get the information instantly.   Access to the internet is also important for some of our guests.   We areable to provide WiFi for all our luxury villas and there are currently70+ WiFi locations around Rarotonga that you can connect to.   A new application is also available on itraveller (through iTunes).  This ‘App’ provides information on where to go and what you can see.   Itincludes a fully zoomable offline map with interactive guide, GPSpositioning and points of interest nearby, driving directions,landmarks, shopping, restaurants etc.   The App is compatible to iPad,iPhone and iPod touch. An example of new technology introduced to Rumours is the amazingaddition of a 2. 5 metre screen and projection system in our ‘UltimateBeachfront Villa’.   We recognise that while our guests are here to relaxby the beach and/or pool, come the evening one of the ultimate ways torelax is in front of a great movieThe large screen is a luxury itemthat some guests will not have at home, so we hope it may be asmemorable as the facilities and tropical beachfront setting that ourguests enjoy. So we will continue to watch with interest the advances and changes with technology and the internet, and where possible use these to our best advantage to enhance our guests’ stay here in Rarotonga.

To live in the Cook Islands is a privilege and a blessing

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Lately I have had the time to sit back and reflect on the amazing journey we have been on with Rumours Luxury Villas and SpaThe most amazing part of it all of course is to be able to live in the beautiful Cook Islands.   This Country offers everything you would expect from a tropical Island, and more.   From the picturesque white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, to the wonderful culture, this Island nation really does have it all.    When we are asked about activities on the Island it never ceases to amaze me just how much there is to do hereFor the adventure seekers there is snorkelling, scuba diving, hiking, deep-sea fishing, boat tours, scenic flights, and kayaks.   On some of the Islands you can even hire a moped to zip around the island!  Personally, I love to relax on the beach with a good book and the occasional dip, and for this Rumours is the perfect locationWith our Villas far enough away from the larger resorts you practically have the beach to yourself  Our location on the Island also means we get to see the sunrise.   I have lost count of how many spectacular sunrises I have seen here, sometimes with a glass of champagne to welcome the day! For my cultural fix I love the music here. The Cook Islanders are incredibly talented with both their singing and dancing.   I have witnessed some fantastic festivals that they hold throughout the year, the combination of modern music with traditional ukuleles made from coconut shells gives a very unique sound.   I have also visited many churches on Rarotonga on a Sunday, the beautiful a capella singing is something everyone should hear during their lifetime.   I have also been very privileged to witness some stunning weddings here at Rumours.   One of the advantages of living in a temperate climate is that we can hold weddings all year round.   An intimate ceremony on a white sandy beach is what I consider truly romantic. Yes it would be fair to say I have experienced it all here in Rarotonga - the adventure, the culture, the romance.   I’ve explored lush rainforests, driven the coastline, danced to drums, drunk out of a coconut, fed tropical fish from a kayak, and best of all - I’ve slept on the beach.   And as I watch the pink sky welcome the moon rising over the water, I am thankful for the unique opportunity to be able to live in what I consider to be ‘Paradise’.   D8EH92QW6R39

Rumours voted Best Spa Resort in the Cook Islands for 2012

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Wow, what an exciting month for usRumours Luxury Villas and Spa have been named as the winner of the ‘Best Resort Spa for the Cook Islands’ in the World Luxury Travel Awards 2012! This is our second time winning as we were also the 2011 Award Winner The World Luxury Spa Awards recognise spas that “raise the bar of service excellence and put the spotlight on spas representing only the finest standards”Executive Manager of the Awards, Marinique de Wet, said the level of competition in 2012 was exceptional“These spas stood up to the highest expectations and were tested by discerning spa-goers looking for the ultimate experience where only the absolute best is acceptable. ” As we said in our April blog, we have worked really hard over the last 12 months to maintain our high standards.   We also understand the importance of continuing to provide world class service for a Luxury Spa Resort that is situated in one of the best locations in the world! Winning this award not only recognises our hard work, but is also a huge accolade for our incredibly dedicated therapists.   Thanks to this fantastic team we have had many guests vote for us this year, so a big ‘Thank You’ to them and to all of you who took the time to vote! Don’t forget if you want to stay in June check out our special offer of 35% off all rates when staying 6 nights of more.   Go to our Hot Deals page to read more about this amazing deal!