We left home at 3.45am to drive down to Auckland in the most torrential rain! We still made really good time and arrived at the airport with hours to spare.
We were flying Air New Zealand and as usual couldn’t fault them.
It’s just under 4 hours to Rarotonga, but you cross the international dateline so arrive the day before you left which is rather odd.
First impressions ~ Rarotonga is lovely.
We were greated at the airport with leis of gardenia, frangipani and buganvilia (sp!) . The smell was just beautiful.
We were driven to where we’re staying – Royale Takitumu – it is beautiful. Everything we had read about it didn’t actually do it justice. We walked through stunning gardens right to the edge of a pure white, coconut palm fringed, sandy beach ( more lovely than a bounty bar advert!) and this is where our bungalow was! I truly don’t think I’ve stayed anywhere with a view like this.
We’re self catering, but booked dinner out for our first night. We’d been on the go for hours and hours and were so tired. We ate at The Pawpaw Patch and to say it was lovely would be an understatement. We really didn’t come to Raro for the food, in fact we didn’t really have any expectations at all, but we had the best nori wrapped yellowfin tuna I have ever had. Definitely one to repeat.
The restaurant is only a 6 minute walk from our house so it was perfect for our first night.
I know we’re going to love it here
Day 1 Saturday
Sorted out our car hire, ( something called a “Cube” and it’s sort of pink!) which to our delight, was included in the cost of the holiday. Then met Danny and Paula and headed to the Saturday Market, which was really beautiful. Lots of local produce, food and lovely island fabrics. I treated myself to a wee apron – sort of 50’s stylee ~ for baking.
Lloyd got his Rarotonga driving licence sorted out at the police station ( which not only creates some revenue for the island but is also a pretty cool keepsake) We had a wee explore of the sort of main town area, went to Trader Jacks for lunch and saw some whales out in the bay, then all of us came back here for a walk around on the beach.
Paula had booked The Tamarind restaurant for dinner, it’s right on the beach in a lovely old colonial house, It was gorgeous.
The Rarotongan people are so friendly and happy. They will chat away. None of the surly teenager stuff here (not that there's much in NZ either!) Mind you, why wouldn’t you be happy. It’s island paradise.
Day 2 Sunday
L and I were up early and went island exploring – it takes roughly half an hour to drive right round the island – I have to remember that if the sea is on my left we’re going clockwise! It’s very very pretty. Not nearly as rough and ready as Tonga was. There are lots of beautiful gardens, of course, it’s tropical so the range of plants is amazing. There are coconut trees everywhere, papaya plantations, frangipani and gardenias all over the place - the smell is better than any perfume you could buy! We have gardenias in our garden at home, but they don’t seem to have the same fragrance as the ones here.
We took Danny and Paula to the airport – they leave for Autitaki today.
Then we came back and had a beach afternoon, we went snorkelling a couple of times. It was really pretty. The coral is all white – as it is pretty much everywhere now – but there was a lot of tropical fish. We saw bright blue parrot fish, angel fish, butterfly fish, all sorts. It’s a bit like a fish tank!
Lloyd cooked dinner tonight – a papaya salad and seared tuna and moonfish. Delicious.
Day 3 Monday
Off to buy Lloyd a ‘holiday shirt’ this morning.
He got 2!
Did a bit of provisions shopping at the big supermarket – I don’t think we’ll really need to go again.
Came home, went snorkelling for ages. Sun is shining and it is very hot today. Everything looks very blue and green.
Swam and read. Went to a beach café called “whatever!” for a wee snacky dinner then went to the cinema to see “Eat, Pray, Love” Liked it a lot. The cinema has old fashioned projectors which you can hear whirring – I LOVE that sound!
Day 4 Tuesday
Sun is shining, sky is blue.
Saw a wireless hotspot at a market near here so am going to see if I can publish this.