Can too Many Cooks Spoil the Holiday?
Cook Islands that is. Most definitely not, as we found on our most recent visit. This time we chose to explore the little known Aitu Island.
Cook Island’s Magic
The Cook Islanders are part of the great Polynesian migration which began round 1500BC and settled in Rarotonga about 800BC. Captain James Cook arrived in 1773.
The Cooks are up of 15 magic islands, with Rarotonga being the main one. What makes this one special are the lush green mountains, the tallest being Te Manga, which towers 658 metres over the island. As a major holiday destination, you will find a complete range of accommodation, from home stay to luxurious resorts and spas. The coastal road around the island is only 32km, allowing for easy access to all facilities.
The Secret Island.
Having visited Rarotonga and Aitutaki before, we were looking for something a bit different and we took the recommendation of visiting Atiu (pronounced Artuu, like a sneeze) which is the third largest island. It is also known as Enuamanu, the island of birds, as it is a bird and wildlife sanctuary.
With a small population, made up of islanders and visitors who loved the wonderful idyllic lifestyle so much, they never went home.
The 40-minute flight from Rarotonga had us soon on the island and our host, from Atiu Villas, was waiting to collect us and take us for an orientation tour of some of the main points of interest. A brilliant way to learn about our new home for the next four days.
Accommodation ranges from the villas to self-catering, to home stays. There are small supermarkets and some restaurants (island style).
To fully appreciate our short stay, we took the opportunity of taking some of the organised tours available, including the Historical Tour with Paiere, one of the local elders. An Island Discovery Tour, with Marshall Humphries, an Eco Tour, with Birdman George. Also a Coffee Tour, where we visited the plantation and the processing plant and finished with an inspection of the world rated Fibre Arts Studio. Being totally organic, Artiuan coffee is highly rated and is shipped all over the world.
If you want the high life and flashing lights, I wouldn’t recommend Atiu. But if you are looking for the more simple and easy lifestyle, with a clean environment, fresh local foods and the change to meet wonderful people. People who really look forward to showing all visitors how to live in harmony with their little piece of land, isolated in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean. Then Atiu is the place.
By the end of our too short stay, we felt that we had some attachment to the island and the people.
For information on Atiu: www.atiu.info/about
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