The magnificent Aitutaki.
The lagoon on Aitutaki.
Catriona getting around the lagoon.
The view from the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort.
Catriona remembers a real tropical paradise and is the place to go for pure relaxation. Imagine sitting in a hammock, cocktail in hand, lolling under a palm tree doesn't sound too bad at all, eh?
The triangular Aitutaki is partly volcanic, partly atoll and less than a one hour flight from Rarotonga. It is well known for its incredible lagoon and uninhabited islands, called "motus" by locals, which are dotted about. It is 45 kms around and has an average depth of 5 metres which is filled with marine life.
During the 1950s and 60s TEAL (now Air NZ) flying boats stopped there for refuelling as they travelled the Coral Route through the South Pacific. Lucky passengers used the stopover of several hours to enjoy a swim in the clear waters.
Now tourism is the island's main source of income, resulting in the need for beautiful new accommodations. After years of negotiations with around ninety local families who are the traditional landowners, agreement was reached to build the Pacific Resort, and it is probably the last development to be granted.
The 28 room Pacific Resort Aitutaki opened in 2002 in the village of Amuri on 7 hectares of tropical beachfront property and enjoys 650 metres of beach fronting the lagoon and Pacific Ocean beyond. It features Polynesian architecture, colonial furnishings and fine food and wine.
Air-conditioned beachfront bungalows have warm Polynesian décor, ceiling fans, polished wood floor, thatched roofs, landscaped courtyard with shower and beautiful, cool verandahs. Television, CD, DVD, king beds, refrigerator and room safe are in the 80m² space and three people can stay there very comfortably.
Pacific Resort's pool and beach areas are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, taking naps under the palm trees, catching up on reading or sipping a cool cocktail at sunset. If you are on for something more energetic they have complimentary snorkelling equipment and sea kayaks or Bishop's Cruises can drop you on an island and collect you at the end of the day. Without fail, people always hope the boat won't return for some time. Imagine an island-style picnic on a deserted beach where you can hand-feed tropical fish. How blissful!
The Resort can also arrange Polynesian massage, island tours, car, scooter and bicycle rental, scuba diving, big game, reef and lagoon fishing, sailing, cruising, windsurfing and even horticultural tours so you can learn more about the lush local plants.
The Rapae Bay Restaurant has a thatched palm frond roof and has views across the pool, beach and lagoon. This is where guests start their day with a complimentary island breakfast and return for lunch and dinner to enjoy the specialties of Pacific cuisine. Lots of seafood, of course, with pork, chicken, beef, locally grown tropical fruits, vegetables and herbs, home-made breads and pancakes all prepared by chefs with international experience but good local knowledge.
Aitutaki in the Cook Islands.
Air New Zealand flies 7 times a week to Rarotonga with Air Rarotonga connections to Aitutaki.
Talpacific has 7 night packages, including return economy airfares, accommodation at the Pacific Resort and breakfast each day starting at $2879 from the east coast, $3295 from Adelaide and $3429 from Perth, per person. Conditions apply.
Bishop's Cruises Deserted Island day-trips are around $175 per person, including hotel transfers, picnic hamper and snorkelling gear.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.
Ph: 1300 137 727www.talpacific.com
Cook Islands Tourism
Ph: 02 9955 0446 Fax: 02 9955 0447www.cook-islands.com
Pacific Resort Aitutaki
Ph: 0011 682 20 427 F: 0011 682 21 427www.pacificresort.com
Ph: 0011 682 31 009 F: 0011 682 31 493