Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Trip Start Jun 06, 2005
20Trip End May 31, 2006
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If there is one place on Earth you need to go it is here. We fell in love with the island straight away. The people are so friendly and its natural beauty is breathtaking!!
Rarotonga is the main island in the group and has a radius of about 37kms. A road circles the island and most of the people live off this road. The interior is lush with vegetation and quite mountainous, very beautiful.
We arrived at 6am after a 12 hour wait in Tahiti and was taken to the first place we would be staying, Rarotonga Backpackers.
This place is well above average for a backpackers place and we stayed in little self-contained bungalow for a week. It was set back off the main road and had great views.
After settling in and having a quick nap we headed in to Avarua, the capital and main town (well, the only town) for the Saturday market.
About 80% of the population and tourists ride mopeds which are quite safe as long as you keep an eye out for the stray dogs. So we hired a moped and we headed to the police station to take my driving test. The test consisted of paying $15 and driving around the block in a complete circle while an officer follows, I was quite nervous and Kelly watched on as I took off.......3 minutes later I was back, fully qualified and was issued a Cook Island licence.
This is the mean machine herself...........!
After town we had to visit Dive Rarotonga to pick up our course work which had to be completed before we started.
On Sunday we got up early to attend a local church service. This was a great experience and we really enjoyed it. The singing was fantastic and the local women really belted it out!!!
What I thought was nice was how laid back it all was and the kids seemed to enjoy it too. Both the Boys Brigade and the Girls Guides were there in force donning their appropriate uniforms. After the service all the guest are invited to lunch at the local village hall. The hall was quite close and we followed the Sunday Parade.
I saw a little girl who so desperately wanted to join in but couldn't...she's not impressed!!!
We started our PADI Open Water course on the Monday and we really enjoyed the experience, although we were both nervous. The staff was great and after 4 days and 4 open water dives we were qualified divers. We hadn't really had a drink during this time as hangovers and diving don't really mix so we celebrated passing our course and our 1st wedding anniversary at Island night.
The dive centre invited us to join them on the annual reef clean which was great fun and our first dive as real divers.....and it was free!!!
It was very successful and we made front page of the Cook Island Times.....that's Chris's back you can see on the left!!!!
We also moved places to Vara's on Muri beach for the rest of our stay....this is the best beach on the island....judge for yourself.....
The island is great for getting around and by the end of the first week you know where everything is, how it all works and met many people both locals and travellers.
Here are the girls we met and hung out with the second week!!!
Left to right.....Serpa, Lynette, Rachel and Sarah. The last two are from New Zealand and we will be meeting up with them in Auckland and Wellington!!!
As well as hanging out at the beach and driving round the island we decided to take our diving to the next level, Adventure Diver. This allows us to dive to 30m and meant we had to do 2 more dives.
On our deep dive we saw White Tip reef sharks. One of them stayed with us for about 12 minutes and was amazing to see, just wish I had the camera with me!!! All in all the diving was excellent and we would highly recommend Dive Rarotonga.
Here are the two dive masters, Steve and Jason!!!
Jason again, the self-proclaimed Divemaster General, best diver in the Cooks (apart from Eric) and he drinks a lot too!!
We saw quite a lot of interesting things...and here are a few!!
Yet again we have been treated to some fantastic sunsets...I bet your all getting bored with them by now...but here's another one anyway!
So it has been an exhilarating 2 weeks and we don't want to leave...we fell in love with Rarotonga almost immediately that we nearly changed our flights twice... but the adventure must continue.
So onwards to Fiji it is, but we would like to say thanks to everyone we met on the Island and to the ones who we'll meet again in New Zealand.
Thanks to Kat, Ed, Jason and Steve at Dive Rarotonga for starting us off on a life of adventure and the most unflattering sport in the world (and not forgetting Britney and Amy).
There are a lot of photos in this update so try and check them out.
Bye for now!!!
Where I stayed