Friday, July 27, 2012

Mauke, Cook Islands, 2012

Mauke is one of the 15 Islands of the Cook Islands, and about a 50 minute flight from Rarotonga. There are only three flights a week so you have to plan your trip well. It's also an Island where you will find few if any other tourists. There are two main spots to stay, there are no restaurants on the Island (bring your food with you or pre-arrange with your hosts) and the local store is only open between 5 pm to 7 pm, but that's part of the appeal. You can truly get away from it all.

We visited with family, and therefore had a little bit of inside information into the Island, but our hosts at the Tiare Cottages also helped.

Tiare Cottages. We struck it lucky with the O'Kiva Cottage on the point and a bit more secluded.

 O'Kiva at The Point

 One of the cottages

 The cooking and dinning area

As I mentioned there are no restaurants, no cafes so you must bring it all with you or pre-arrange with your hosts before you arrive.


  • For such a small Island (18 km to travel around in the truck) there is a lot to see. 
  • We actually spent a significant time just watching the waves.

  • Vai Ou Caves, they were not easy to find but were easy to navigate once we got there
  • We were lucky enough to see a whale at Arapaea Landing

  • The view at Anaiti Cove, and I love the story of Kea, who's grave is here

  • Te Oneroa is the a popular swimming beach and where I got the shot of the wave above, but it was way too rough to swim while we were there
  • The Divided Church, with the spectacular colours

  • The cave out to sea at Anaraura Beach
  • The giant Banyan tree (not on any map)

  • Sunset at "The Point" (on private land)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Rarotonga, Cook Islands, 2012

Back in the Cook Islands, it's my fourth trip since getting married their in 2007, it's nice to have family in such a prime spot in the Pacific.

We stayed for one week at Sanctuary, which is next door to the Rarotongan, but for over 16s only. It was a great spot, we had a beachfront suite and the snorkeling in the area is spectacular.

Mind you, while not beach side, the view from my mother in laws backyard is pretty spectacular....

Fish and chips or Hamburgers at The Maori Cafe
Coco Late for great sandwiches and coffee
Trader Jacks for Ika Mata and fresh fish
Give Captain Andy's at The Rarotongan a miss
Stop for $2 ice cream cones at Wigmore's
Sails for a great view, good seafood and live music. I couldn't pass up the trio of game fish.

Vaima is very popular, we booked and they were lined up at 6pm when we arrived
Mooring Cafe for great fish sandwiches
Tamarind House, my favourite place to eat on the Island, we had lunch for the change and the big advantage is you can enjoy the view

Salsa, I had the steak sandwich which was great, but DH said the Ika Mata was the best he had all trip
Flying Boat Fish & Chips, a great spot on the water just out of town for fish and chips

If this makes you think we spent two weeks eating our way around the Island you would be right!

Aro'a beachside inn for sunset drinks

Little Polynesian is another good spot for drinks, and once again over 15s only

Snorkeling in front of the Rarotongan

Do the Cross Island Track (post to come)

Saturday morning markets, near the wharf

Friday, July 13, 2012

Updated: Places I have been: My years of travel (1995 to 2012)

There's been a few more trips since this post in August 2011:

1995 The UK and Singapore, my first trip to Asia and I love it
1997 USA, multiple locations including Chicago, Washington DC, Niagara Falls, Texas, Rhode Island, Las Vegas and California
1999 Hong Kong
2000 Phuket, Thailand
2001 Vietnam, multiple locations up the coast from HCM City to Hanoi
2001/2002 China - Beijing, Xian and Shanghai
2003 Darwin and Alice Springs
2003 Christchurch, Queenstown and the West Coast NZ
2005 USA West Coast
2006 Christchurch, NZ
2007 Rarotonga Cook Islands, Akaroa NZ and Christchurch NZ
2007 Dubbo
2008 Mudgee
2008 South East Asia, including Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam
2008 Rarotonga, Cook Islands
2009 Hong Kong and Eastern Europe
2010 Las Vegas NYE
2010 Rarotonga and Aitutaki, Cook Islands
2010 Bay of Islands, NZ
2010 Coromandal Coast, NZ
2010 Auckland, NZ
2010 Rotorua, NZ
2010 Lake Taupo, NZ
2010 LA, Princeton and Las Vegas
2010/2011 Christchurch, Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound, Hanmer Springs and Kaikoura, NZ
2011 Bay of Fires and Launceston, Tasmania
2011 Waiheke Island, NZ
2011 Tauranga,White Island and Mount Manganui NZ
2011 Brisbane for the Bledsiloe Cup
2011 Lord Howe Island
2011 Santiago, La Paz, Peru
2012 Peru, Equador, Galapagos, Iguazu Falls, Rapa Nui/Easter Island, Tahiti
2012 Wilson Island, QLD

Friday, July 6, 2012

Bucket List - Take 2

So last year I posted my bucket list, saying of course the issues with bucket lists is that as you take one destination off, you add three more.

Once again, this is also not an exclusive list, but there have definitely been some additions:

1. Russia
2. Korea
3. Japan
4. Silk Road
5. Taj Mahal
6. Turkey
7. Jordan
8. Pyramids
9. Swimming in the Red Sea
10. Beer Festival Germany
11. Cuba
12. Myan Ruins
13. Samoa
14. Swimming with the whales Tonga
15. Torres Strait Islands
16. Alaska and the Canadian Rockies
17. Antarctica
18. Bluff Oyster Festival, NZ
19. Kangaroo Island
20. Iran
21. Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef, WA
22. Monkey Mia, WA
23. Kimberly Region, WA
24. Kakadu
25. Art Deco Weekend, Napier, NZ
26. Borneo
27. KL
28. Mungo National Park
29. Ice Hotel
30. Maldives
31. African Safari
32. Rome
33. Albania
34. Patagonia, Argentina
35. Yellowstone National Park
36. The Painted Desert. USA
37. The Northern Lights
38. Greek Islands
39. Laos
40. Madagascar
41. Nepal
42. Mongolia
43. Mount Rushmore
44. Morocco, Portugal and Spain
45. Dubai
46. Prague
47. Philip Island
48. Great Ocean Road
49. Savannah Way, Australia
50. Amalfi Coast, Italy
51. Cradle Mountain Walk the Overland Track, Tasmania
52. Freycinet, Tasmania
53. Broome
54. Able Tasman Walk, NZ
55. Climb Kiliminjaro
56. Guam and Palau
57. Costa Rica
58. Belize
59. Victoria Falls, Zambia and Zimbabwe
60. Hike the Fish River Canynon, Namibia
61. Salt Lakes, Bolivia
62. Clouded Forest, Equador
63. River Snorkeling, Brazil
64. Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
65. The Gorilla's of Rawanda
66. Blue Mosque, Istanbul
67. Atric Circle
68. The beaches of Columbia
69. Winter in Buff, Canada
70. Okavango Delta, Botswana

Of course there's plenty else that's missing, but get travelling then...