Rarotonga Island, apart of the Cook Island archipelago, is located some 3,000 km northeast of New Zealand. Rarotonga is a holiday destination and the country’s largest and most populated island.
After visiting California with Emma’s dad and seeing her family we were now bound for the Cook Islands, our first new country on our 2017 adventure. This would be my first time experiencing Polynesian culture. We found a cheap flight and planned for 10 days on Rarotonga. Emma did most of our planning and research, so at the time I had no real idea where we were headed or what to expect except sunshine and beaches.
Rarotonga’s beauty and friendliness were beyond my expectations but this was also the start of my many struggles of 2017. At the time I was fooling myself about traveling but honestly I was not healthy enough go on a worldwide adventure. I was still dealing with my Turkey injuries, I was carrying a bone stimulating machine with on the trip and unfortunately I added more injury to my body during our stay on Rarotonga Island.
When my friend Chris dropped us off at the LAX airport Emma and I were full of excitement and wonder at what adventures the Cook Islands held. We had a few issues checking-in but once we were on the plane it was a quick 9 hour red-eye before landing in the South Pacific.
We de-boarded the airplane with the rising sun peaking over the island’s volcanoes. In no time we were through customs and on our way to our hostel. Our first day was mostly spent waiting to check into our room, we stayed with Rarotonga Backpackers, turns they out have many small properties around the island, some of which are sort-of close to the main building and some that are clear across the island. After a few hours waiting we finally got settled into a bungalow, not the correct accommodation that we booked, but it was a place to sleep.
At first where we were staying did not seem bad, we were a 10 minute walk from the main building and common area, the bungalow was quiet and we had our own kitchen and bathroom. But after that first day we found out it was overrun with ants, cockroaches and mouse droppings.
The next couple of days we explored the area around our bungalow and enjoyed the nearby beach. Emma and I hitchhiked a few times to see further beaches and to Avarua for groceries and to explore.
After a few perfect and sunny days I ended up injuring my wrist and ribs by crashing my bicycle. This injury scared me and put a huge damper on the next few months of our travels. Now not only did I have my bone healing machine for my broken foot from Turkey, I now had my wrist splinted up and could hardly take a breath.
My new injury was succeeded by 4 days of torrential downpour caused by Cyclone Cook. After the rain subsided we did not have much time left on the island. During our final days we checked out the Muri night market and attended a traditional Maori church service for Easter Sunday. The service was amazing, everyone was dressed up, suits for the men, dresses and Sunday hats for the ladies. The service and hymns were in both English and Cook Island Maori. I don’t know how to describe Maori singing but it is quite musical and soothing.
On our last full day I determinedly decided to hike the Cross Island trail with Emma, which was probably not the smartest thing for my injuries but who knows if I would ever make it back to Rarotonga. The hike was painful but fantastic at the same time and I had a feeling of accomplishment afterwards.
Even though slightly expensive, Rarotonga island itself was a great destination. It is the perfect size to get around and it is easy with English as a national language. Things were dampened by my new injury and the weather but the Cook Islands are definitely a place I wish to spend more time in.
If you have not been to Rarotonga before make sure to check out my Cook Island guide book, which has everything you need to know know about visiting this great destination!
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