The Cook Islands likes its adventure a lot. Back in 1350 seven vakas sailed from Rarotonga and made it all the way to New Zealand.
Now a unique new adventure cruise is offering visitors the chance to relive that extraordinary endeavour and discover how the early Polynesian navigators found their way across vast oceans.
The Marumaru Atua is a traditional double hulled wooden vaka, or canoe, built for an epic Pacific Ocean voyage in the late 2000s.
Visitors can sail onboard Marumaru Atua on three hour cruises around Rarotonga twice a week or have the adventure of a lifetime helping crew the vaka on overnight voyages to Aitutaki, navigating by the stars, the swell and the current just as the crew’s ancestors’ did 700 years ago.
If you weren’t born with sea legs, you might prefer the walk up and over Rarotonga’s highest peaks with dreadlocked septuganarian Pa. Honoured for his contribution to tourism in the 2013 Air New Zealand Tourism Awards, barefoot Pa guides visitors across the mountains several times a week and has made the Cross Island Trek more than 4400 times.
Too soft? How about hiking deep into the jungle on a rugged coral path and down into dark caves in search of the kopeka, a tiny bat-like bird found only on the island of Atiu. Or into secret swimming caverns or burial caves lined with skulls and bones, chilling reminders of Atiu’s cannibalistic past.
Too hard? Add amazing snorkelling and scuba diving, windsurfing, stand up paddle-boarding, kite surfing, kayaking, cycling, surfing, and sailing to your holiday to-do list.