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Kia orana - live a long life

COOK ISLANDS | Sunday, 16 September 2012 | Views [1188]



Kia orana, the sweet welcoming words of the Cook Islands. 

Right off the plane, the ukelele plays and a necklace of scented flowers kiss your neck. A smile, 'kia orana', and whip, hop to your accommodation awaits. 

Rarotonga - a heartfelt location, warm in both air and beauty. 

Talked up at a must getaway, you will not be disappointed. Staying at the Edgewater, everything was very easy. But, obviously, it's not the accommodation that makes Rarotonga such a stellar destination, it's the people. Always ready to give an honest smile and have a yarn, 'Island Time' is still very much alive in the beautiful islands in the South Pacific. 

Ventured to a couple of activities - Captain Tama's Lagoon Tours and the Highland Paradise cultural evening, neither did disappoint. 

For a good laugh and comedic cultural affair, Captain Tama's is a must. Greeted at Muri Beach with a group of shirtless, good looking island men serenading the audience into a euphoria of giggles and relaxation. Taken by a glass-bottom boat towards the roof, the opportunity to jump off and go for a snorkel offers an array of colourful fish and delicate coral beds to treat your underwater experience. 

Next off is the little island just off the Muri coastline. Here you'll be serenaded some more, followed by a tantalising feed of barbecued fish and local fruits and vegies. Next comes a display about the 'tree of life' - the coconut tree. Opened by stick, Captain Tama and the team explain the wonders of the plant - from the use of the frongs for fibre and cooking, to the butter of the plant used for a skin remedy. An excursion I definitely recommend. 

The Highlands' Paradise show was also great. For a commercial overview of the islands, it's also a must. Dancing and drumming are invigorating and the indigenous food cooked from a natural oven - the umu - is hearty. The taro leaf with curried coconut my personal favourite. Insight into how Rarotongans used to live is also appreciated and an important aspect as to who the people really are and where they've come from. A lot has changed since the missionaries arrived over 150 years ago, and they seem thankful for the experience. Unfortunately, a lot of their tribal symbolism was destroyed in the process.

While the beaches, swimming and sunshine go without saying, it is definitely the people (and dogs) that make up these beautiful islands. 

A great assurance taken away from this trip was the understanding of their land system. Where it is easy for a lot of these idyllic places to be taken over by development, unfavouring the indigenous people, in the Cook Islands they are not allowed to sell their land, only lease it out for 60 years. All land is instead inherited. 

Kia orana - live a long life. 

Tags: beaches, cook islands, dogs, people, rarotonga, sunshine, swimming


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