CJ - Having stopped off for a couple of days in Melbourne to say a final goodbye to Becky, Patrick, and Luke, and all the other pommies, off I set, bound for a bit of sun in the Cook Islands!
I arrived at Raratonga, the main Cook Island in the middle of the night, so had no idea what the island looked like, but what I plesant surprise when I woke up to see the view I had from my beach house!!! The hostel was situated right on the edge of Muri Beach overlooking a lagoon which is formed by an outer reef that surrounds the island. Perfect for swimming in as it is so shallow and calm, but also good for snorkelling when you get further out nearer the reef.
Having got into a routine of doing so much over the past month in terms of activities and tours, I wasn't quite ready to kick back and just sunbathe yet, I needed to wind down a bit first, so off I headed into town to check out some activities to keep me going for a couple of days. The first being a tour around the island which gave you an insight into its history and culture etc, along with some traditional dancing and food tasting which was good! The following day I decided to go and visit a nearby island called Aitutaki which just looked stunning in every photo I saw, mainly due to the beautiful turquoise waters of the lagoon that surrounded it. Having got an early morning flight (with some breath taking ariel views as we flew over Aitutaki!), we were then picked up and given a tour of the island, and then we spent the rest of the day sailing around the lagoon on a catamaran, taking in the amazing views, snorkelling and swimming, stopping off at some of the small islands within the lagoon, and having a very tasty bbq lunch. Not a bad day at all!!!
I then had a day of resting and relaxing by the beach, and making the most of my very convenient location on the lagoon before setting off on a 'cross island trek' on my last day. The brochure for this trek described it as a very 'strenuous' 4 hr trek! What was I letting myself in for...!! I was dropped off at the start of the trek first thing in the morning, where I was to meet our guide, Pa! A very bizarre, but great character!! In his early 50's, peroxide blonde dreadlocks, hawaiian shirt, and bare feet (he did the whole trek in bare feet as well!!!). He was a local guy, who had been doing these treks since he was 5 years old, and he just knew so much about the wildlife and surrounding flowers and fauna, it was fascinating just to talk to him. So off we set, winding our way up through jungle forests, over tree roots and through rivers and 4hrs later, we finally reached the other side where there was a lovely waterfall to sit beside whilst we scoffed down our lunch! The trek was hard in places, and I did struggle a bit, not so much fitness wise, but more because it was tricky, it had recently rained thus making the paths very slippy, and there was a lot of clambering over tree roots, and up and down hills which wasn't easy, just very tiring pulling yourself up all the time. But well worth it for the views at the top, and just to meet Pa, what a character!!
Next stop and final destination for me on this trip, Fiji, for a spot of diving!!