Note­book

NZ Life & Leisure - - Destination/Cook Islands -

Get­ting there: Air New Zealand, Jet­star and Vir­gin Air­lines all fly to Raro­tonga from New Zealand. Once there, Air Raro­tonga op­er­ates in­ter- is­land flights, in­clud­ing to Ai­tu­taki. Where to stay in Raro­tonga: Iku­rangi Eco Re­treat. Away from the bus­tle of Muri Beach. Stay in lux­ury sa­fari tents or if a roof is prefer­able there are per­ma­nent ares ( huts). iku­rangi.com Manuia Beach Re­sort. Built be­fore Raro­tonga had an air­port, this is one of the first beach­side ho­tels on the is­land. It has an el­e­gant vibe and fine din­ing in a sandy- floor restau­rant. manuia.co.ck Where to stay in Ai­tu­taki: Ta­manu Beach. Ca­sual sea­side ares ac­com­mo­da­tion. tamanubeach. com What to do and see in the Cooks: Visit the cliff­side open- air mu­se­ums at the High­land Par­adise Cul­tural Cen­tre, Puaikura, Raro­tonga, in the day or take in the Drums of our Fore­fa­thers sun­set cul­tural show and feast, fea­tur­ing bus driver Mr Hope­less, who is also one of the tal­ented drum­mers. high­land­par­adise.co.ck Dis­cover Raro­tonga by bike. Sto­ry­tellers Eco Cy­cle Tours, Muri, caters for all abil­i­ties. Guides stop fre­quently to tell sto­ries, al­low­ing for a breather. Ten per cent of prof­its are re­turned to the com­mu­nity. sto­ry­tellers.co.ck Take a trip with Punarei Cul­tural Tours, Ai­tu­taki. Weave a food bas­ket be­fore lay­ing down the ba­nana leaves for a feast. Tour around an an­cient vil­lage with views of the la­goon in a 4WD and re­turn in time to eat the spoils. aitu­ta­ki­cul­tur­al­tour.com Try SUP yoga. Think a down­ward dog is hard on dry land? A SUP yoga ses­sion ( yoga on a pad­dle­board) will chal­lenge the body and the mind. Sun­set ses­sions use boards fea­tur­ing colour­ful lights un­der­neath, trans­form­ing Muri La­goon into a rain­bow of colours. See Ariki Hol­i­days, arik­i­hol­i­days.com

Ex­plore the la­goon. A la­goon scat­tered with more than a dozen mo­tus (tiny is­lands) and sand bars sur­rounds the main is­land of Ai­tu­taki. Guide Ted Te­vai of Sail­ing Ai­tu­taki of­fers cata­ma­ran sail­ing, wind­surf­ing and pad­dle­board ex­cur­sions. sailin­gaitu­taki. com

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