We hired a car to enable us to see more of the island, as it’s currently low season car hire is $35pd (currency is NZ dollars, supplemented by a few unique coins). Our first car went back after the engine management light came on and it was making a horrendous noise.
We had already done one lap of the island within about 45 minutes, owing to the main road around the island being 32km. Our first stop of the day was the supermarket to stock up on food for the week, and to enquire about a trip to Aitutaki at the airport. On our second lap of the island we made a stop at The Cook Islands Football Association (CIFA). John was very excited to have come across this and we had a look around their national stadium. Unfortunately there were no games on whilst we were there, having just missed the last tournament hosted there.
We also explored the inner road around the island, which lead to wigmore waterfall. Unfortunately there was no water in the waterfall, owing to the unseasonably dry weather. The waterfall is also the end to the cross island trek. We didn’t realise until afterwards but our car hire agreement actually forbid us from going on that road as it has so many potholes!
Near the waterfall is a deserted grand hotel, once destined to be the Sheraton, it was never fully finished due to money issues and has remained in its unfinished state for nearly 30 years. It’s now covered in graffiti and overgrown plants, with pipes hanging out of the walls which were destined for aircon units.
We also made a stop at a swimming point to enjoy the late afternoon sun and take a dip in the warm sea.
We decided to renew the car for an extra day, as we had seen several snorkelling points we wanted to try out. We first stopped at Fruits of Rarotonga, you can walk a few steps into the water and see the fish swimming around you. The coral is really close to the beach so it’s great if you’re not a confident swimmer. We saw hundreds of fish and had a fantastic morning. Our afternoon was spent slightly further up the beach, however this spot was disappointing for snorkelling but the water was so warm and clear we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon soaking up the sun.
We took the car back on Wednesday morning, and spent the day at Muri Lagoon, taking the canoes out and venturing onto the volcanic island in the lagoon. You could see lots of fish swimming around and it’s a shame there is such a problem with the algae, as it really is ruining the lagoon. We had an early night owing to our early start the next day for our adventure to Aitutaki.