Day 7- May, 22
On our final day with no activities planned people decided to make their own plans.
A few went off on a 4×4 excursion around the island, while others laid by the beach and soaked up the sun.
With so many things to do on Raro we were spoiled for choice, in the end we decided to hire a car and do some more exploring of our own.
We did a small coaching session at the club then took off to Muri beach, where I was finally able to tick off one of my bucket list items.
I hired a stand up paddle board and paddled off for an hour, the water is so blue and clear I could view the tropical fish darting around underneath in full clarity which was an excellent way to end the holiday.
While this was our first trip to Rarotonga, I am confident in saying it won’t be our last.
The people are so unbelievably happy, the weather was beautiful and the island is lovely.
Rarotonga, we will be back!
Day 6 – May, 21
I’m not going to lie I was a bit sceptical about the church visit at first, although we had heard a lot about the singing. Whilst neither me or Jo are religious, we absolutely loved our visit.
They are all so passionate and it showed in their singing, it was lovely to see both the young and old sing side by side.
You could tell it meant so much to them all.
I would recommend the experience to anyone visiting Rarotonga, it’s one that will stay with you for a long time.
After the church service we had some free time, most of us took the opportunity to head down to the pool or beach for a bit of relaxation and a cocktail or two.
Day 5 – May, 20
On our fifth day in Rarotonga we had a chance to visit the local markets, there were so many beautiful locally handcrafted items on display.
We were greeted by a kaleidoscope of colours and smells from the freshly prepared food stalls, which I think we all overindulged in but we were on holiday!
I think everyone came away with at least one item from the markets, ours are hanging on the wall as a constant reminder of a what a great place Raro is and the fun we had visiting it.
Following our excursion to the markets, we popped down to the bowlo for our final afternoon of play.
The atmosphere again was one of happiness and laughter.
Another three games were played in such a lovely spirit and the winners were found.
We were then back to the resort for a couple of hours to get into our island attire before returning to the club.
The welcome we received for our final night there was unbelievable.
They had dancers, drummers and lots of smiles.
The dinner was simply amazing with a lot of local food.
Again, we ate far too much but couldn’t help ourselves.
The Cooks have so much pride in their culture and love showing it off.
I think I was given about 15 necklaces of shells, leis and flower headwear.
We all had such a great time and were all a bit sad when the bus came to pick us up.
Day 4 – May, 19
It was time for the famous lagoon cruise which the whole group had been excited for.
Wow, what a great day.
We headed out to the lagoon were able to dip into the water with goggles and snorkel.
The water was warm and crystal blue, I had a smile on my face the whole time as we snorkelled over the coral and marvelled at the plethora of tropical fish. It truly is a paradise on earth.
After our chance to swim we ventured off to a little island to have lunch before a chance for another swim.
We were treated to some more entertainment which was put on just for us including a coconut tree climbing show with the world’s fastest climber, a sarong tying exhibition and plenty of heavenly music to soundtrack it all.
Day 3 – May, 18
Once again feeling refreshed and invigorated by the refreshingly slow pace of island living we took a trip down to visit a local school, this gave us all an opportunity to learn about the culture which is passed down from generation to generation.
It truly is a noble culture and after our visit we were all well aware it will never die.
Our visit to the school afforded us the chance to learn how to make our own headwear from flowers and the boys showed us all how to extract the delectable raw coconut from its shell while we listened to more native music and drums.
The children were never without a smile on their faces and the respect they showed for the teachers and our group was lovely to see.
As the afternoon rolled around and it was into serious competition mode.
We headed to the bowls club and set ourselves into teams of four, mixed up with the locals.
Much fun was had.
Some bowls went close and some didn’t but it didn’t really matter as the laughs across the green were well heard.
We finished with a few bevvies and more laughter.
Despite the face a number of us were feeling a little bit precious after our first evening in Rarotonga we were able to muster the courage to get up and on to our morning bus tour of the island with our bus driver George who knew everything there was to know about the island and its surrounds.
We all learnt interesting facts about the island and its history, we had chances to stop off along the tour to take a look at different notable sites and historical points including a factory which produces noni juice.
The juice is made from the noni fruit or Morinda Citrifolia to give it its ‘proper’ name, according to the people of Rarotonga the herbal tonic can cure any ailment, this came in handy for me as I was still in the midst of battling the after-effects of the frivolity we’d had the night before.
By the afternoon thanks to the noni we were in fighting fitness once again as we headed to the local bowlo for our first taste of bowling on the island in a social roll-up our fabulous tour organiser had planned with the locals.
The greens were a little bit different to what we would usually play on in New Zealand and Australia, we soon learnt the pace of them and enjoying quality games of bowls.
The friendliness of the locals shone through once again with everyone cracking jokes, partaking in good-hearted competition and experiencing bowls at its best.
We awoke to the soothing sounds of island life after a relaxing siesta in one of Edgewater Resort’s spacious rooms which look straight out onto a lush garden area littered with a variety of beautiful tropical flora, I’m not sure we could have asked for a better start to our bowls tour!
Following a delicious breakfast, we had an informative and comical orientation with our incredibly knowledgeable guide Tiki who helped get us clued up on the scenic little island we would be calling home for the next eight days and the friendly people who inhabited it.
After our chat with Tiki we all enjoyed a chance to relax and decompress, we spent most of the day soaking up the island vibes and engaging in some quiet downtime at least until happy hour started.
The drinks were soon flowing and we had a chance to chat and enjoy some light-hearted conversation and levity, besides the plentiful supply of alcohol we also got a chance to sample the delicious local delicacies and with the generous portion sizes helped line our bellies to the brim.
It was a very cultural evening too with lots of native dancing, singing and melodic drums which resonated through the night’s cool sea breeze, it was awesome experience and one I’ll never forget, those guys and girls sure know how to move and although my two left feet were somewhat lacking in the rhythm department I sure did have fun.