Off to Rarotonga Mrs McAuliffe goes

Arrived in Rarotonga and blasted with the heat as soon as my foot took that first step off the plane. Took a couple of minutes to get through immigration and 45 minutes waiting for our bags. An elderly gentleman was entertaining us with his guitar and voice which apparently has welcomed every flight into Rarotonga for the last 30 years ... a great welcome.

Virgin Australia was absolutely fine, good legroom as we pre-purchased extra legroom seating, a bonus because we were in the exit rows we were boarded first as they like to explain the exit row procedures before anyone else boards.

Arrived at Muri Beach Club hotel with a great welcoming from the staff and a large tropical juice awaiting for us (start of many cold drinks for me!).

The beachfront rooms at the hotel are part of a 2 story building. I was starting to complain to my husband about how I wanted to be on the bottom but the next morning when I sat on our balcony looking out over the sunrise I realised why being up higher makes such a difference. The rooms are very spacious with a decent sized bathroom.

Second day in we were going to rent a scooter for the week but the Cook Islands government ruined that when they announced in October they are going to charge $90.00 to obtain a tourist scooter license if you do not have a motor bike license. You also have to go through 3 written tests. We instead picked up a mini convertible and loved it, air conditioning on tap which trust me over the next 6 days we definitely needed.

Off into to town we go to the Punanga markets, fantastic markets mixture of fruit and veges, souvenirs and hot and cold food. Grabbed my first coconut drink. A lot of shops were at the markets so was definitely worth a look. These are only on Saturday mornings from 6am to midday.

The main supermarket on the island is west of the township closer to the airport. Be careful it closes at 4pm on Saturday!

That afternoon we spent snorkelling, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and swimming over to the outer island in front of the hotel. This island is a no touch island.

That night we decided to have dinner at our resort (Muri Beach Club) yummy food and a great atmosphere. The staff there are just absolutely amazing, they go that extra step to make sure your stay is enjoyable. This isn't really limited to the resort, Rarotongan people as a whole made us feel so welcome!!

On day 3 we decided to go for a drive around the island stopping off at a few places along the way. If we didn’t stop it would have taken us 50 minutes to get round the whole island. We stopped off at Wigmore's waterfall, where there is a man at the entrance wanting $5 for the care of the roads. Stopped off at the Sheraton, well what would have been the Sheraton, it is now just a rundown resort with grafitti all over it. We were heading towards Tuoro for lunch after several recommendations but unfortunately it was closed till March so we ended up having lunch at Morning Café, by far the best lunch I had on the island. 

Just past the Edgewater Resort which is on the Coral/western side of the island is a sea wall from where you can snorkel and watch the sun rise which we did that night with our fish and chips, typical New Zealander.

That night we had dinner at Muri markets which is 50 meters from the Muri Beach Hotel, a wide range of food open on Sunday, Monday, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

The next morning dawned, this was the day my husband was looking forward to the most a fishing charter.

Unfortunately we did not catch anything, even after I fed the fish! An awesome 4 hours out at sea, the crew were amazing. It was great listening to the Rarotongan crew, laughing at the difference in cost of food between New Zealand and Rarotonga. Their minimum wage is $6.00 per hour. Power is so expensive that shops and supermarkets have no air conditioning. We were offered some fish from the other boat that went out as you can take it to a restaurant and get them to cook it up for you.

Dinner tonight was at ‘Trader Jack's’, a kiwi favourite and I can understand why now. Right beside the beach with stunning views.

Next day we arranged to go on a Koka Snorkelling cruise, fantastic, great crew and yummy food yet again. We were taken to a marine reserve with lots of cages protecting the massive paua. The glass bottom boat is awesome. Even when cruising you can still look at the fish. We had lunch at the island across from the Muri Beach Hotel.  I tried yellow fish tuna for the first time. A lot of people leave Rarotonga thinking the snorkelling isn’t that great but I would highly recommend jumping on one of the snorkelling tours as it is well worth it.

That evening we went to theTera Nui Village island show, a spectacular award winning overwater show and buffet dinner. Extremely well organized and a great night out.

We had to rise early on day 6 to get to the airport by 7:30am and on our flight to Aitutaki. Our guide was waiting for us at the airport to look after us. We travelled around Aitutaki on an open air bus showing us the blink or you'll miss it township and the school at the top of the island. The cyclone that hit in 2010 affected 75% of the population and NZ has been helping them rebuild. There are still houses that haven’t been rebuilt.

We then hopped on a Vaka cruise beside the airport and off we went on a journey encompassing 3 islands. The guide was hilarious and really welcoming. The cruise boat was open air with tables and chairs and the tour included beverages and entertainment. We were given 20 minutes at each island to snorkel. However when we arrived at One Foot Island we were given an hour and a half. The snorkelling was amazing, the water was pristine blue. The Paua are 10 times the size of their New Zealand counterparts.

We returned to Rarotonga about 5.30pm, bought some takeaways to eat on the beach watching the sun set, a great way to end a great day.

Waking up to this on our last day made it even harder to leave!

We spent in the morning with Raro Buggy Tours. Stopped off at a couple of places and then into where the Sheraton would have been to play in the mud!

We ended up at Wigmore's Waterfalls to clean off all the mud, then went to a golf range and had lunch again at Mornings Café all arranged by Raro Buggy Tours. On the way back we went inland which is well worth it as you see such a different part of Rarotonga, really nice houses.

Our honeymoon finished off with a couples massage and what a way to finish!!

Highly recommend Vilis Burger joint opposuite Muri markets , BEST burger ever