Probably the friendliest people in the world!
02.01.2007 30 °C
Not really fancying spending the festive period with the 'crazy Kiwi Experience crowd' in Auckland, we managed to score ourselves some muchas cheapo flights over to the Cook Islands to bask in a sub-tropical climate instead.
Our first stop was Rarotonga the largest of the Cook Islands. We spent our first five days here kicking back and well & truly embracing the island way of life. The first thing which struck me about the Cooks was how amazingly friendly they are. I appreciate I have said this alot on my travels but the Cook Islanders really are in a league of their own when it comes to random acts of kindness to complete strangers. We had only been there for a day when a local lad saved my life advising me against sitting under a coconut tree which was about to drop a coconut on my head. I mean the average youth in England would gather his mates and watch in great anticipation with his mobile poised to record the unfortunate event and then put it on the net for all to enjoy.
We hired bikes for a few days to get around much to the amusement of the locals who all have really cool mopeds. We did dedicate one afternoon to cycling around the island, the coastal road is only 32 kms but it took us all afternoon because everyone stops to have a chat with you 'I am very happy you have come to visit my island - have a wonderful time' how cool is that? I have promised myself that I will do the same to each and every Japanese tourist I have to barge through on Oxford St when I get back home.
The Cook Islanders also enjoy a good drink and a boogie so we spent a few evenings down The Banana Court - Rarotonga's premiere nightspot mixing it up with the locals. We were staying a few Kms out of town but if people see you heading in the same direction they pull over and offer you a lift home in the back of their pick up.
Aitutaki International Airport
The super helpful lady who ran our hostel in Rarotonga told us of a flight and accommodation deal to the close by Island of Aitutaki. Aitutaki is the island where they film Survivor Cook Islands and also Shipwrecked if you have ever seen either of those. It is a tiny island set in a lagoon and the offer was just too good to pass up on. After a 45 min flight on the smallest plane I have ever seen we arrived. If it possible, the people of Aitutaki were even more friendly than Rarotonga. Absolutely everyone you pass gives you a wave or stops to say Hi. It felt like being a celebrity at first but with it being such a small island I suppose everyone knows each other. You could be having a beer that evening and someone will come over to you and be like 'remember me, I was the sixteenth person to say Hi to you today - how's it going Bruv?'
One of my highlights of Aitutaki was definitely a lagoon cruise we took. The lagoon is absolutely stunning, crystal clear water and pure white sand. We went snorkeling, visited the Survivor Island and also a tiny island called One Foot Island which has the smallest operating Post Office in the world. You can also get your passport stamped there which we did.
Another hectic Monday Morning
We also went to an Island Night at The Blue Nun. At Island Nights you have a massive traditional Cook Islands feast and then the local dance group put on a performance of traditional dancing. All the blokes do this well cool Haka style dance which involves alot of knocking your knees together really quickly (we both got pretty good at it in the end) the ladies do alot of booty shaking which makes Beyonce look like a pure amateur!
So as you can probably gather we had a great time in The Cooks and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who's after some pure island style relaxation.
I will upload some photo's when I have got a faster connection.
Happy New Year!
Our next stop - French Polynesia
Blockbusters Rarotonga Branch
Aitutaki from the plane
Sunset in Aitutaki
A chilled one down The Banana Court