We had an event-free morning finalising our packing before Mum and Dad arrived to take us to the airport. As (my sister) Nicky and (her partner) Simon are living with us at the moment due to their house renovations, we left our home in their capable hands...
We were excited to see our friends Tim and Jennie at the International airport when we arrived. They were the reason we were going to the Cook Islands - at attend their wedding! Their gorgeous 2 year old son, Jakob, was already keeping them on their toes, running here, there and everywhere. I was exhausted just watching them chase him! Next we saw the rest of Tim's family, at the Air New Zealand terminal. We said goodbye to my Mum and Dad, and we were on our way to checking in for our holiday in paradise.
- Regular baggage checked in and boarding passes collected - CHECK
- Fishing rods checked in at oversized baggage terminal - CHECK
- Last Australian dollars cashed in for New Zealand dollars - CHECK
Next we went downstairs through Customs - where I was scanned and set off the alarm for 'explosive devices'! A second scan of my body and my bag, and I got the all clear to go on my merry way. The customs officer said to Mick, "You already knew she was explosive"...
Time for a coffee and sandwich with the Veivers crew (our friends), followed by a beer and wine to celebrate :) Before we knew it, it was time to board the 3 hour flight to Auckland, for the first leg of the journey. Both flights, Brisbane to Auckland and Auckland to Rarotonga, were quite uneventful. We were kept entertained by the movie channel and the abundance of food and drinks offered by our 'Works' package. The mini ice-cream desserts were my highlight! Chocolate Choc-Chip on the first flight, and Vanilla-Raspberry on the second - yum!
We arrived in Rarotonga at 1:10am local time, and were delighted to be greeted by a local islander singing and playing a string guitar, filling the airport with the sound of island music - how exciting!
Our first port of call was the Duty Free shop - where we stocked up on alcohol that was priced at insanely cheap prices.
We cleared through customs, collected our baggage and made out way to the busy Arrivals area - where hundreds of people were trying to find a way to their accommodation - it was crazy! With the wedding dress safely stowed under Jennie's arm, we were directed to 'da lady in da green shirt', who led us all to a mini-bus and a Tarago van. She seemed a bit flustered, and simply said - 'Bags in the van, bodies in the bus'. It was dark, muggy and we had no idea where we were or where we needed to go, so we just followed her instructions. What seemed like dozens of people piled into the old bus, no seatbelts, no babyseats, no air-con - basically no idea! I admit I was extremely glad to be with the Veivers, I couldn't imagine having arrived in the middle of the night and being whisked away in a dodgy bus by a cranky lady, all by ourselves!
We got to Muri Beach Resort after a short (but what seemed like a long) ride through the towns/streets of Rarotonga. Lots of really old houses and shops lined the main road, and we caught glimpses of the beach every now and then. The driver directed the others to their Poolside Bungalows, then led us around and around the resort looking for our Villa, which we would call home for the next 7 hours, until we had to leave again for our flight to the next island, Aitutaki. Finally, we found Number 18, greeted by a lovely sign, 'Kia Orana Michael & Cassandra' on the front door.
A quick look around and a freshen up, then we were in bed at 3am local time (11pm Australian time).
We both had a restless night, eager to start our holiday in paradise...
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