I RECENTLY SPENT 8 NIGHTS IN RAROTONGA WITH MY ENTIRE FAMILY TO CELEBRATE MY YOUNGEST BROTHERS WEDDING TO HIS LOCAL POLYNESIAN PRINCESS. WHILE THERE WE ENJOYED A BUNCH OF AMAZING SERVICES AND EXPERIENCES AND THIS WEEK I WILL SHARE THEM ALL WITH YOU. I KNOW RAROTONGA IS A FAVOURED DESTINATION FOR KIWI’S AND IT’S ALWAYS NICE TO HAVE RECOMMENDATIONS OF PLACES TO GO WHEN PLANNING A FAMILY GETAWAY SO I HOPE THIS SERIES OF POSTS WILL HELP YOU IF YOU ARE HEADING TO THE COOK ISLANDS FOR A LITTLE VACAY SOMETIME IN THE NEAR FUTURE.
The last time we were in Rarotonga, almost five years ago, my now five year old was 6 months old. We didn’t spend much time doing touristy things or exploring the island and all it had to offer. Returning with an extra child and older children, I was determined to enjoy a few activities and adventures this time around.
Google “must do’s” in Rarotonga and more often than not, Captain Tama’s Lagoon Cruizes comes out on top. When we visited five years ago, our friends did the tour and it came highly recommended. We arrived in Raro on a Friday afternoon and had reserved Saturday for wedding prep. Rehearsal, final outfit checks for the page boy and flower girl and so on. Valentine’s Day was Sunday this year which was the day of the wedding so we made sure not to make any real plans for our family holiday until the wedding was done and dusted. Monday was reserved for relaxing (and my body scrub at Rumours), so by Tuesday we all ready for an adventure. Because my entire family and a small collection of long time family friends were all visiting the island together, we gathered together a gigantic group of loved ones to head out for a day on the lagoon.
We arrived at Captain Tama’s HQ just before 11am and suited up with snorkels, googles and flippers. After an entertaining briefing that definitely set the scene for the days activities, we boarded the glass bottomed boats and headed for the reef. It was a perfect day, the sun was shining, the breeze was minimal and everyone was in the mood for a fun day out on the water.
Our captain was full of humour, full of personality and full of very well rehearsed one-liners. We motored across the clearest blue waters heading towards the reef and growing ever excited about the underwater world we knew was awaiting our arrival. After twenty minutes the engines shut down and our convoy of boats put down their anchors and gave us the cue to jump into the lagoon. There were life jackets for those who required them and as much or as little assistance offered as you required. If you had never snorkelled before, there were crew members on hand to give a quick lesson, but after giving us pointers on the best areas to seek out beautiful tropical fish, we were left on our own and given an hour to explore the underworld.
My elderly grandfather and a couple of others in our group stayed on board. Between grandparents and aunts & uncles, we took our older kids in for an adventure. Fitted with child-sized life jackets, we took one each and held hands as we snorkelled around the lagoon. Beau stayed on board for a while and once we had spent a good amount of time exploring with the older kids, I took him in too for a swim. Obviously he didn’t snorkel, but the chance to splash around and feel a part of the adventure was enough for him. Shane and I took off to swim out closer to the reef but the best fish were right by the boats where they were being fed and obviously knew it paid to be. As well as amazing fish, small and large, bright and striped, cheeky and skittish, we saw the most humongous and creepy looking Moray Eel. It was a pretty big thrill to see it so close (it was far from shy!) but it was a tad freaky too. At one point the captains got everyone back into the boat because the eel was getting a little too confident.
After an hour of so much enjoyment in the ocean, we all clambered back onto the boat and headed back towards the land. All that swimming and our tummies were rumbling. We disembarked the boats on a little island in the Muri Lagoon, right opposite HQ and resorts along Muri Beach. The smell of BBQ was apparent and we made our way to the picnic tables all set up along the beach. Lunch was served around fifteen minutes later and what a feast we were treated to. Freshly caught and cooked Tuna, papaya salad, fresh coconut, salads, and BBQ’d banana were devoured by everyone. Following lunch, which was accompanied by guitar and beautiful singing, the crew began their show.
Hilarious and embarrassing for those who were chosen as participants, we learnt everything from how to husk a coconut and make coconut cream, to how to tie a lavalava a hundred different ways. We then witnessed a very agile young man scale a coconut tree and come back down again in a flash. There was something for everyone and the crowd got a real kick out of the show. If organised entertainment isn’t your thing, you had the option of walking around the little island or laying on the beach and taking a swim. At around 2pm we boarded the boats again and headed back across the lagoon to the mainland. The day program ran from 11am – 3pm and was such great value for money. Adult tickets cost $79 per person, children $40, but there are family deals available and if you have a group of 10 or more, the rate is reduced substantially.
My entire crew loved our day out on Muri Lagoon and highly recommend Captain Tama’s Lagoon Cruizes for your next visit to Rarotonga. Even this little guy who conked out on the beach before heading back to the mainland.
* We were hosted by Captain Tama’s for this incredible day on Muri Lagoon, but as always, opinions are my own.