The Cook Islands. Described by Lonely Planet as both remarkably remote and accessible. Both modern and traditional.
Rarotonga is the largest of the Cook Islands. Even still, walking around the coastline would take less than a day.
A heartbreaking scene as I strode into camp was the magnitude of stray dogs that roam the island. I had a little internal cry before I decided to learn more. A quick conversation with a woman a coffee house, and I learned that the dogs are not so much strays but in fact, wanderers. They are not owned by anyone but more by everyone. You will rarely see a dog in a collar or a leash. Some are fed by the locals, others fend for themselves; sourcing coconuts or stepping into the streams to fish. The more I learned, the easier it was to see that Rarotonga is not filled with stray dogs but in fact, a well functioning canine community. And then I was happy again.
Three days on this mysterious island was not nearly enough. I got distracted on day one by the imminent beauty of Muri Lagoon and all of a sudden, my time was gone. And believe me, when you see it, you’ll understand why. My diving fins had never seen so much action. With a gentle current and crystal clear waters, the scenery of Muri appears to have been pulled straight from the movies. I felt as though I’d been cast in the Cook Islands’ latest travel advert.
As the title might suggest, I caught a glimpse of a pufferfish. A porcupine pufferfish to be exact. Now, this may seem like a menial experience, but speaking as someone who’s only viewing stemmed from nature documentaries and the occasional viewing of Finding Nemo, I was incredibly excited.
- Befriended a crab in a supermarket. Check.
- Ate the World’s greatest chicken burger. Check.
- Experienced the magnificent cafe culture. Check.
In so little time and so little space, I experienced so much. And yet, at the very same time, I did very little. I could have travelled to Aitutaki and snorkelled the wreck of a cargo freighter or even explored the white beaches of the One Foot Island.
For such a small area, there is so much more to do. This is one to go back on the list.