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Sunday, 3 April 2011

Day 338-343: Hello from unplanned paradise

Hey, so, remember that post from Fiji last week when I was all like “Preparation is key”
And you were like “What?”
And I was like “Yeah, you so can't treat 1 week away the same as a RTW trip”
And you were like “Err, well it seemed to work out alright for you in the end”
And I was like “Nooo, no no, preparation is key. Trust me”

Well. I was wrong. Despite bold statements from yours truly about “learning lessons” etc. we arrived in Rarotonga even less prepared than we did for Fiji; and it has worked out even better.

Let me start with our accommodation. ­We are staying in the best accommodation of this whole trip. And we are here by total fluke after speaking to the owner, Auntie Adriene as she is affectionately known, at the airport after arriving and asking the first person we saw at the 'accommodation' kiosk if they had a room.

Our spacious self-contained unit (meaning we have our own kitchen, bathroom and bedroom) in Tiare Village sits in green lands where guava, avocados, coconuts, bananas and chilis are literally ripe for the picking and our room looks out onto the pool. Where there is a BBQ. And lots of friendly fellow guests who, as I type, are hatching plans for a BBQ by the pool this very evening. And all for $55/night (about 27GBP)

Such. Good. Times.

And it turns out that, outside these grounds, Rarotonga is absolutely incredible too. Life on the island breezes past at an enjoyably relaxed pace while we cruise around at an equally slow pace on our hired scooter. Rob even had to pass a practical exam for the privilege, but he now has a Cook Islands drivers license to show for it - so the $20 was well worth it.

Almost wherever you are on the island, look over one shoulder and you are looking out at a spectacular seascape. Just past the white sandy beaches, shallow waters filled with coral and exquisite fish twinkles in an inviting shade of turquoise. Cast you eyes a few hundred meters further out and the waves break, white and frothy, at the reef wall and then the sea stretches out into a darker blue infinity beyond.

We've passed our days driving and stopping wherever looks good (which is everywhere) and loved peering in on the sealife below through masks and snorkels. There are more picasso trigger fish than you could imagine – some smaller than a little finger, some the size of a hand – each as colourful and intricate in design as the next. There are bright butterfly fish in abundance, box fish that hover like tiny fat seals, flounders that hide in the sand, flying fish that leap like salmon into the sun for split seconds before splashing back into the sea and many more that I couldn't possible hope to namecheck. We also learnt the trick of bringing banana in with us which causes quite the aquatic stir, but alas, not any photos that quite do it justice.

And for those who've had enough of snorkelling (if anyone has ever actually reached this point, do let us know) there's also the lagoon at Muri beach. Sheltered by two tiny islands just off the coast, it's perfect for swimming without the worry of banging into coral or drifting off with the tide. It's also perfect for lazing in the shade with a good book and a pina colada. So we hear...

One morning we even took a break from this deeply strenuous routine to partake in one of our favourite past times; scuba diving. Which was, as you might imagine, bloody fantastic. It felt great to be 18m-under again and we were lucky enough to see a Hawksbill Turtle (yes! A turtle! Favourite favourite!) and spend some quality time with Tommy the friendly 25 year old trigger fish. Usually quite an aggressive species, Tommy is so tame now he often joins the dive trips. It was crazy to be so close to this big blue fish, face to fishy-face with his big hill-billy lips and buck teeth, Quite amazing to think that he'd been lurking down here for about as long as I'd been walking around on the land above. Massive thanks is needed here to Paul and Charles and everyone at Dive Rarotonga; highly recommended dive company.

What else to say? There's a inland mountainous walk that we heard was brilliant (bit too much like hard work for us this time round) and plenty of shops and great bars and restaurants to keep you busy here too.

Basically, Rarotonga is the perfect holiday destination; just come here. Don't plan it, just do it – because you will love it.


  1. Sounds so idyllic! x

  2. Trish says

    I want to go right now! Less than 3 weeks till you're home!! Have a great time in the US and see you soon. xxx

  3. It really is beautiful soph, thanks for commenting :)

    trish! i would say that you SHOULD go right now, but if you do you probably won't want to come home and then we might arrive back without you there...and we wouldn't want that, can't wait to see you x