The Cook Islands are one of our favourite places. For such tiny islands there are many interesting things to do. Atiu is an off the beaten track island, where you’ll rarely find more than 10 tourists visiting at once.
Visiting the Rima Rau burial cave was a fascinating experience. We crawled through narrow tunnels to find the remains of the ancestors of the local Maori people. It wasn’t possible to visit it until recently and it felt like a real adventure.
Our exploration of tropical islands has taken us through Asia to Fiji, and remains in the South Pacific for some of the most stunning beaches we have ever seen. The Cook Islands is where we found the quintessential idea of paradise: snowy white beaches amidst the most jaw-droppingly beautiful turquoise lagoon. But as well as finding paradise we discovered some surprises: skull-filled burial caves, ancient jagged reef rising up to take over the jungle, and some of the most hospitable people on earth.
The Cook Islands are the place to come for absolutely stress-free South Pacific travel. Rarotonga the capital is the largest island, and although it’s home to the country’s largest town (more like a village really), the international airport (where the departures lounge is al fresco) and many upmarket resorts, it is delightfully laid-back.
Last week we featured our favourite Asian islands and now our tropical island reminiscences continue with the beautiful South Pacific islands of Fiji. Most visitors to Fiji head to the Yasawa islands which are easily accessible from the international airport at Nadi on the main island of Viti Levu. We were searching for somewhere a bit more authentically Fijian and less overrun with drunken backpackers, so headed east instead.
We loved Fiji for the ridiculously friendly locals (everyone has time for a warm smile and a hearty “Bula!”), chilled out Fiji-time, lush green hills, quiet beaches, amazing underwater life and the ubiquitous guitar and ukulele music.
This is the third post in Amy Cham’s guest post series. We also had a great experience hiring a campervan from Darwin – Alice Springs and highly recommend it as the best way of getting around Australia.
One thing that absolutely, positively does not disappoint about the big ole land that is Australia, is Mother Nature. She’s one big bootiful mama and damn doesn’t she know it.
Now, the only way to truly appreciate the land, sea and sky in magical Oz is to grab yourself a road map, plenty of water, and get yourself a trusty campervan and go on that movie road trip you’ve always dreamed of. What better way to get away from it all?
There are plenty of operators out there for you to choose from, but for our money Wicked Campervans were worth every cent. Not only are they cheaper than their competitors, but also their funky recognisable vans make for a great on-the-road community. Choose your van carefully. Sure, go for the cheapest of the cheap, get the van with no air-con and no power steering, but consider driving that (more likely older) van in the sweltering outback heat for long never-ending hours. Yeah, pay that little bit more for the extra comfort! Bear in mind too that unless you’re gunning for a wild adventure way off the beaten track, you won’t need a 4WD. Oh, one last thing. In case you are prudes (we prefer sensible!) like us then make sure you request a tame van!