13 May 2015

 

GUEST BLOGGER:  "Our Great Cook Islands Escape!"

[We love to hear from our travellers about the great vacations we helped send them on!  Here is Anne and Doug who've recently returned from the Cook Islands.  Disclaimer:  Anything written by our travellers is for entertainment and intrigue only.  Downunder Travel recommends you speak with a Destination Specialist on your specific travel itinerary, personal travel needs and any travel advice.]  

 

Greetings from Rarotonga, Cook Islands!

We have enjoyed our experience here on this South Pacific Island this week. We’ve slept at Sunset Resort (appropriately named) every night but we have been out and about, exploring this quaint island every day. The offshore circle of coral reef holding back the waves provides ideal conditions for any water activities. White sand beaches ring the island and the inland trees climbing the sparsely inhabited volcanic hills provide a tropical backdrop.

 

 

The clockwise or anticlockwise bus takes 50 min to circle the entire island of Rarotonga and we’ve been on and off it, plus walking, to do our island exploring. 

We lunched under a thatched umbrella at the Pacific Resort one afternoon and just simply enjoyed the atmosphere. Along came an enthusiastic staff member with a gaggle of children in his care. He collected some palm fronds and they each made an item to swing and toss into the sea, just before they headed on down the beach. Back came the memories of our time in Fiji, with the friendly staff to feed the sharks at the reef, meet the local ferry and plane, learn to weave a palm frond hat to bring home etc... Out came the Kleenex for the happy memory tears! 

 

 

One night we attended an evening in the hills at the Highland Paradise Cultural Centre where the locals were dressed in their traditional clothes and a chieftain told the history of the island through demonstrations of traditions. Then there was dinner that consisted of local food followed by music, drumming and their dancing. A UK couple attended with their 7-year-old girl and 5-year-old boy and I had several opportunities to chat with them. The dad was on a sabbatical and the children were excused this school term so the family was traveling and had already been to several places including New Zealand and soon would visit Vietnam. I said goodbye by pinning a Cdn flag pin on each child and the girl knew what it was. I told the mom about your travels and how you remember so much from the same age. So far the girl liked the Statue of Liberty the best! Another emotional moment for us!  

When booking this Cook Islands visit, Jason from Downunder Travel suggested we do a day trip to Aitutaki, one of the 15 Cook Islands. We’re extremely pleased that we did. We got there in 45 min on a turboprop Saab340 and were guided for the day on an open bus in a circle around the island.

 

 

I got my passport stamped at One Foot Island, which serves as a neat souvenir. Aitutaki was also where Survivor 2006 and Treasure Island were filmed. While walking I picked up a small pod and when our onboard BBQ lunch was ready, I announced that I’d found the Immunity Idol! My reward was to lead the lineup at the buffet table. In all our travels we’ve never seen an island with such idyllic scenery as Aitutaki. 

Other interesting visits during our week were at the Saturday Market where dozens of stalls are tended by colourfully dressed folk selling the islands' famous Black Pearls. Customers stroll the grounds sipping on coconut milk from the shell while enjoying live, traditional music and dancing from the stage.

 

 

The Sunday service at the Cook Island Christian Church was incredible.  The women wear the most intricately woven straw hats and the congregation surely sings profoundly!   

Back at The Sunset Resort at around 6:30 pm, we watched the sunset while sitting under the palms overlooking the beach, among the friendly Kiwi’s holidaying here to escape the coming of their winter, and the smiling Cook Islanders made this vacation very worthwhile.

On our last night, we took a farewell walk on the beach.  Wish you were here!

 

Written By:  Anne and Doug, recent Cook Islands visitors from Canada.  Vacationed in: May 2015.