Sebis photo blog

Sebis photo blog

Rarotonga :: Cook Islands

Wednesday 25 February 2009

Cook Islands (or rather Rarotonga) is about 4.5 hours by plane from Auckland.
Air New Zealand and Pacific Blue sometimes have specials and sell tickets for as low as NZ$99 – one way.

There isn’t really much to do on Rarotonga… The island is about 9km wide (E/W) and 4km tall (N/S) – or 31km all around on the main road. About 15000 people are living here. It’s the main island of the Cooks. There are two bus lines (or should I say ‘two busses’?) : one going clockwise, leaving town on the hour and the other one going anti-clockwise at half past the hour.

Rarotonga has a reef about 200-300m offshore all around the island. That makes it’s beaches shallow and very, very calm. A great place for snorkling! You can almost walk all the way to the reef and see lots of fish living or searching shelter/food within the reef. Water temperature is 28-32ÂșC and sometimes feels warmer than the air outside :)

Since this is a great diving destination, I did my PADI AOW (Advanced Open Water Diver) here. We mostly went diving outside the reef, where the drop-off slowly descents into the blue depths of the pacific ocean. On other dives we went towards the reef and dived some passages or channels where the tide comes in and out. The currents there are just unbelievable strong. More than once we had do to ‘horizontal’ rock climbing, pulling ourselves forward at some rocks.
The reef offers heaps of tropical and deep see fish including parrotfish, eels, morays, snappers, tunas. We also saw a family of turtles, a reef shark and an eagle ray – how awsome!

For the last days here (when I can not go diving anymore before I’m flying back to new Zealand because of the nitrogen in my body) I will probably be doing some hiking.

I also got a motorbike license here. Everyone who wants to drive over here has to have a local drivers license. You just show them your current license and drive around the block with your already rented scooter – and a police officer behind you. That’s it. Costs you 20NZD for the license and $5 for the test.
Best thing: allegedly you can convert this license to a valid NZ motorbike license – which normally would be about $300-$400. good deal! Plus vacation! :-) but I won’t believe it until I tried to convert it. Sounds too easy.

As suspected: NZ doesn’t recognize the Cook Islands drivers license. Nobody knows how the myth that they do came to life.

Here are some pictures of the trip:


1 comment for 'Rarotonga :: Cook Islands'

    Ginny Therriault
    April 23, 2009 | 04:25

    The pictures are great! It brought back the great memories I have of the time I spent in that area of the world. I would go back in a heartbeat if I could.

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