Hi, I’m Lisa, the photographer and editor at the back of The Wandering Lens.
As an island addict and underwater photographer I’ve visited a large number of tropical locations through the years and noticed my justifiable share of seashores. Tricky gig, I do know, disgrace I burn like a tomato on the point out of light although.
That stated, no seashores come as regards to the ones discovered within the Prepare dinner Islands, an island country discovered in the course of the Pacific Ocean and a well-liked vacation spot from Australia and New Zealand.
Now I comprehend it’s a large name pronouncing they’re the most productive seashores however in case you’ve noticed the ones screensaver photographs of idyllic palm fringed beaches dangling over blue water lagoons, I’m lovely positive that is where they took them!
I’ve spent my justifiable share of time exploring the Prepare dinner Islands – listed here are my best possible guidelines and the whole thing you wish to have to find out about making plans your dream vacation on this superb nook of the South Pacific.
House to fifteen islands, Rarotonga and Aitutaki are the 2 most well liked visited through vacationers, and each and every have their very own herbal wonders, pristine lagoons and other purposes for traveling.
In case you’re hoping to combine it up and notice each you’ll be able to take an afternoon travel from Rarotonga to Aitutaki however for those who question me, it’s smartly value spending a couple of days on Aitutaki, if most effective to raised your probabilities of sunshine. Aitutaki lagoon is personally, probably the most photogenic spot within the Prepare dinner Islands and seeing it sparkle in sunshine makes it all of the extra dreamy.
So, allow’s get began on the most productive puts to seek advice from!
Rarotonga’s will have to-see places
1. Muri Lagoon
Grasp a kayak and get paddling out to the islands of Taakoka and Koromiri which are situated inside the stunning Muri Lagoon.
Muri is moderately the little hub with a variety of cafes and eating places along a host of inns and vacation villas. It’s an excellent spot to base your self at the same time as on Rarotonga!
You’ll in finding rather the group of sea slugs alongside the shore and if you’re out paddling at the lagoon the water color is a loopy colour of turquoise blue. You’ll want to take your snorkel out when you’re heading to Taakoka, it’s an excellent spot to tug your kayak out of the water then bounce in for a swim and notice the heaps of colorful fish who name it house.
2. Island Paradise
So much lodges on Raroronga (and Aitutaki) may have their very own island night time that is a night birthday celebration of all issues cultural together with dancing, song and meals. Having noticed among the presentations, I extremely suggest an evening on the Island Paradise.
Situated at probably the most best possible issues at the island, after a steep pressure uphill you’re welcomed by way of conch shell to perspectives over the sea coast and surrounding rainforest internal.
What makes this display other to the others is a guided stroll ahead of the dancing kicks off. They take you to peer native ladies braiding arms, to listen to stories of the earlier as you disregard the frequently mist crammed valley then witness a standard providing to the king.
When you’re simply in it for the banquet and dancing you then gained’t be disenchanted both! There’s even a dance lesson in case you’re hips aren’t already shaking by way of the top of the night time.
three. Tikioki Seashore
Rarotonga is turned around via seashores and Tikioki needs to be one of the crucial highest.
A long way much less crowded than Muri Lagoon, it’s were given nice get entry to to the lagoon for snorkelling and has quite a lot of area to put your towel down underneath the palm timber.
An excellent spot is located simply in entrance of Charlie’s Café, there’s an overly photogenic palm tree out the entrance!
four. Matavera District
Getting clear of the seashores, the Matavera District is a smart position to discover a extra native aspect of Rarotonga.
Plantations stuffed with pawpaw, hands and different tropical chocolates line the street that you’ll be able to cycle alongside with out being worried approximately an excessive amount of visitors.
The pretty Ikurangi Eco Retreat is situated right here with perspectives over the island’s internal. Ikurangi is the primary glamping outlet within the Prepare dinner Islands, providing sumptuous tents the place you’ll be able to go to sleep taking note of the sound of the ocean or revel in a bath underneath the celebs on your personal rest room.
Taking a bicycle across the Matavera District gives a slower paced take a look at island lifestyles. Peddling method you additionally get to listen to each and every chicken, piglet and palm tree rustling within the breeze!
five. Avarua Foreshore + Markets
Some of the advantages of staying on Rarotonga is the primary village of Avarua.
Because the capital, it’s were given a number of retail outlets and in addition a weekly marketplace that’s moderately the group adventure. Held at the foreshore each and every Saturday, the marketplace is a mixture of leisure, recent produce and in the community made merchandise, the very best position to grasp a smoothie and wander in seek for a brand new sarong.
Head right down to Dealer Jack’s for nice perspectives, a at ease vibe and pizza through the water, otherwise you’ll in finding up to date cafes just like the aptly named ‘New Position’ which caters for vegans and has an enormous menu!
6. Black Rock
I requested a few locals what their favorite seashore used to be on Rarotonga and the only position that stored getting repeated used to be Black Rock.
Situated as regards to the airport, I used to be slightly stunned to listen to this used to be a great spot however after taking a peek, I will be able to surely see why.
Dealing with west it’s handled to direct perspectives of the sundown because it falls into the sea each and every night plus the lagoon is full of coral. The seashore has such a lot area that it doesn’t in reality really feel such as you’re sharing it and the distinction of black rock towards the teal water is surprising.
Getting Round Rarotonga
The Island Bus Course
Rarotonga has bus routes, one going clockwise and one going anti-clockwise. They’re referred to as the ‘Clockwise’ and ‘Anti-Clockwise’ buses. Artful, huh!? They’re a good way to discover the island and notice somewhat little bit of the whole thing.
You’ll in finding them preventing at places all over the primary street and you’ll be able to journey it for $five or grasp an afternoon move for $sixteen that permits you to hop-on and hop-off as you excursion the island. There’s additionally circle of relatives passes and concessions to be had.
Hiring a Automotive in Rarotonga
I might extremely suggest hiring a automotive (or moped should you’ve were given higher balancing talents than me!) in Rarotonga in case you’re hoping to take your personal trail and discover a bit of.
You’ll be able to hire a automotive immediately from the airport or in Avarua, with so much condo businesses providing to gather you out of your lodge. Since the island is handiest 32km in circumference and the velocity restrict is 50km/ph, you gained’t fritter away so much gas however may have the versatility of forestalling at each and every unmarried palm tree if you would like.
Aitutaki’s Will have to-see Places
Now remember that sooner than once I made the declare that the Prepare dinner Islands have the most productive seashores?
Smartly, Aitutaki has THE BEST.
Significantly, when you’ve noticed One Foot Island, it’s lovely arduous to not examine each and every unmarried seashore to it.
The arms, the water, the sand, the colors…it’s all perfection and absolutely the definition of the phrase paradise.
1. One Foot Island
As I stated, it’s paradise. Whole and utter tropical island goals come to lifestyles.
You’ll be able to take an afternoon go back and forth out to One Foot Island with Bishops Cruises or The Vaka Cruise or rent an individual boat for much more time right here.
One Foot Island is where to visit seize the ones iconic screensaver photographs. It’s the place arms hold above shiny turquoise water, the place chickens roam loose and the place coral and large clams are grown! There’s additionally resident trevally that swim within the channel connecting One Foot with Tekopua Island, a just right little swimming problem when you’re willing.
A few couples even selected to get married right here and after the rite, they’re invited to plant their very own palm tree through striking a coconut within the sand.
While photographing the colors of the Prepare dinner Islands, I got here right here to seize the rainbow of blues because the water degree modified, to not point out the landscapes while the underwater global meets the shore. There’s now not so much description wanted for One Foot although as a result of in reality…check out the pictures beneath.
Situated proper subsequent to One Foot Island is Heaven. Simply as its identify indicates, this sandspit is each and every seashore enthusiasts dream.
You’ll be able to get dropped off right here in your cruise and stroll throughout to One Foot Island, or in the event you’ve were given an individual boat, remember to ask your captain to take you to Heaven.
Simply strolling out at the sandspit as the colourful water surrounds the white seashores is an revel in in itself. It’s additionally an excellent spot for a swim with the water degree losing off moderately deep from the sand making it perfect for the cinematic run and dive movement.
three. Honeymoon Island
Now Honeymoon Island is unique for a couple of purposes and tucked away within the south-western nook of Aitutaki Lagoon, it’s a stand-on my own gem value finding.
So much day excursions will come with a seek advice from to the snorkelling spot discovered on one in every of Honeymoon’s out-stretching sandspits then again having a smaller boat will show you how to get dropped off for just a little of on-island exploring.
Honeymoon Island is house to nesting sea birds which you’ll be able to see by way of wandering in moderation underneath the cover of arms. Steer clear of startling them or making an attempt to the touch them as they’re nesting and simply agitated. They’re so stunning even though and their white wings distinction in point of fact smartly with the encompassing landscapes.
The island could also be well-liked by kite and wind surfers. With shallow water and a same old ocean breeze, it’s very best for zooming across the lagoon or should you’re now not tremendous sporty, you’ll be able to watch and photograph them as an alternative!
four. Snorkelling in Aitutaki
As an island surrounded by way of reef, it’s virtually a criminal offense to seek advice from Aitutaki and now not see underneath the outside.
The japanese sea coast has an extended seashore that stretches from north to south providing unending get entry to issues to go into the lagoon and move swimming.
The reef in an instant in entrance of Tamanu at the Seashore is superb for seeing small reef fish in shallow water. Tamanu additionally has a cafe open for lunch and dinner that serves recent seafood so in case you’re on the lookout for a spot to hold for the day, it’s value a peek.
In a different way, getting out at the lagoon is through a long way one of the simplest ways to peer the magic of Aitutaki’s underwater global. You’ll be able to head out diving and deep sea fishing however for most of the people, exploring the lagoon and snorkelling in most likely the clearest water on the earth is bliss.
Simply off the end of Honeymoon Island is a sand bar that drops off into deep water that’s stuffed with large coral plants. Right here you’ll in finding VERY pleasant trevally who cruise thru to take a look at whoever enters their area.
Once I first visited the Prepare dinner Islands a couple of years in the past the resident trevally used to be referred to as George. Upon traveling a couple of weeks in the past, I requested what the identify of the trevally used to be handiest to be informed they now don’t have any identify.
It seems that, on every occasion the locals had named trevally up to now, they might all of sudden disappear. So now, those majestic fish swim round with no identify, only a presence that permits you to realize they’re the king.
As a result of the readability of Aitutaki Lagoon, it’s an excellent spot for underwater images and is the place I took a gaggle of other folks on my first ever underwater images excursion. Shooting the underwater global, the colors and styles of the sand and sea is so addictive while you’re running with surroundings within the Prepare dinner Islands!
five. Aitutaki’s Sunday Church Carrier
Because the oldest church within the Prepare dinner Islands, the Arutanga CICC Church dazzles with environment. Even though you’re now not non secular, experiencing the sounds of the locals as they sing on a Sunday morning is really mesmerising.
When you are in Aitutaki on a Sunday, round 10am head right down to the church to witness the magic of group spirit and sound. Guests are welcome to wait the carrier, it’s simply prompt to put on decent apparel (no bikinis or brief apparel) and to be just a little discrete together with your cameras.
The place to Keep and Consume on Aitutaki?
In contrast to Rarotonga, Aitutaki advantages from a extra small the city really feel, that means you’ll be handled to perspectives regardless of the place you select to head and there’s not likely to be so much of a crowd.
Aitutaki has primary choices, lagoon aspect or seashore aspect.
In terms of the lagoon aspect, this principally method any place that’s dealing with towards the interior of the lagoon, the seashore aspect is basically the western coast dealing with the reef holiday.
The recent spot for meals at the island needs to be Koru Café. Situated at the Ootu Peninsula, it’s open for breakfast and lunch providing an unbelievable menu of yummy gourmand foods and snacks to take in your lagoon cruises.
For dinner I liked the Blue Lagoon Eating place at Aitutaki Village the place you’ll be able to dine through the lagoon after a wander alongside the seashore. Local there’s additionally The Boat Shed which has scrumptious Asian foods or seafood dishes, even sushi which you’ll be able to consume out at the deck whilst paying attention to the sound of waves crashing over the reef.
Hotels on Aitutaki vary from tremendous luxe to barefoot fundamental. There’s the honeymooner’s favourites, Pacific Hotel Aitutaki and Aitutaki Break out or for the ones on the lookout for the over water bungalow revel in, you’ll in finding that at Aitutaki Lagoon Hotel & Spa.
In a different way Tamanu at the Seashore is a smart position to stick in stunning bungalows via the ocean or for those who’re on the lookout for a extra price range pleasant choice, there’s Kuru Membership and Inano Seashore Bungalows.
Which Islands to talk over with within the Prepare dinner Islands?
First up, Rarotonga has a world airport with direct flights from the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Tahiti making it indisputably, your first aspect of name! It’s the most important of the 15 islands and as a result of its accessibility and number of actions, the most well liked.
From Rarotonga you’ll be able to then bounce on a smaller aircraft and discover one of the most different islands situated inside the Prepare dinner Islands. There’s relatively a couple of to make a choice from then again the most well liked with the exception of Rarotonga are Aitutaki and Atiu.
In case you’re hoping to get off the vacationer trail you’ll be able to fly with Air Rarotonga as much as the Northern Workforce which incorporates Manihiki and Pukapuka, or you’ll be able to fly south to Mangaia.
Settling on which island to seek advice from comes right down to what you wish to have to do, and in addition what form of lodging you’re on the lookout for. As discussed above, Rarotonga and Aitutaki each be offering a variety of lodging choices from luxurious inns to glamping and extra fundamental ares (cabins).
The opposite islands be offering a extra conventional keep, assume barefoot from seashore to mattress more or less factor. For those who’re taking a look to modify off and don’t thoughts lacking wifi for a couple of days then I’d indisputably take a look at venturing to Atiu or Mangaia. Each islands stay somewhat vacationer loose that means you’ll perhaps have the ample herbal good looks all to your self! There’s caves, reef, lush rainforests, unique animals and native tradition to witness.
So there you might have it, paradise discovered! Have you ever ever been to the Prepare dinner Islands or traveled within the Pacific?
When you’re making plans to go back and forth Prepare dinner Islands quickly and feature any questions, be happy to invite within the feedback beneath! However, in the event you’ve already been and feature a few mystery spots to percentage, please achieve this…until it’s in reality mystery by which case, now I need to recognize much more!
For vacation spot courses to different photogenic areas of the arena, I’d love so that you can pop on over to my website online The Wandering Lens and say hi!