You will travel along the ancient Ara Metua or “Road of Toi” built in 1050 AD as an all-weather paved road and visit ancient maraes (ceremonial sites). Enjoy light refreshments and a convenient stop where you will have the opportunity to purchase locally crafted gifts & souvenirs. Here your guide will give you a demonstration on the Cook Islands Tree of Life, the coconut tree and explain its many uses.
The tour continues on to a number of historical sites including one of the first limestone churches built on the island in the 1800s, the Garden of the Seven Canoes at Avana Passage, as well as Black Rock – a volcanic boulder on the edge of the lagoon, traditionally believed to be the departure point of spirits to Avaiki (the afterlife). Along the way you will catch a glimpse of the Needle Lookout one of the highest points on the island. Plantations of citrus fruits, bananas, tapioca, papaya and taro and other crops line your route.
Arai Te Tonga & Pa Ariki Marae (circa 1250AD)
Rarotonga’s best known sacred and ancient sites. Here, you will learn of ancient ceremonies and their significance in today’s island society.
Garden of the Seven Canoes
The departure of the flotilla of seven canoes from Avana passage on their epic voyage to New Zealand in 1350AD marked the end of the great Polynesian migration. The voyage is commemorated by a circular formation of stones known as the Garden of Seven Stones.
Rarotonga has many limestone churches which were painstakingly built by hand. Some of these churches are well over 100 years old. The Titikaveka Church for instance dates to 1841.
Inland Villages and Plantations
Visit remote inland plantations where locals still use an agriculture system that dates back to pre-missionary times.
Tokerau Jim is one of only a few pearl-carvers in the world. His pieces are a cut above the rest: smaller, more intricate, and highly prized. See displays of his stunning mother-of-pearl shell carvings at his popular showrooms.
Cook Islands Library & Museum
The Museum has a small collection of historical art, photographs and artefacts from the period of early European settlement on Rarotonga to the present day including some outstanding examples of traditional weaving and carving.
Ascend the lush Avatiu Valley at Te Rua Manga the volcanic spire known as “The Needle” which marks the centre of the island and is one of its highest points. Carvings can be found similar to those on Easter Island.
Enjoy light refreshments of fruit platters and cakes in a sprawling tropical garden and plantation setting surrounding an old colonial homestead built in 1853. Your guide will demonstrate and explain the Cook Islands Tree of Life, the coconut.
Info & Extras
What to bring/wear
Sun-cream, comfortable footwear, camera, insect repellent and a hat.
19 or 30 seat coach – double and single seating (no fold down seats).