Tuesday 28 June 2011

Cook Islands Travel Journal - Day 2 (Part 1)

Dear Diary,

After only 5 hours of sleep, we crawled out of bed to explore Muri.  
Muri Lagoon

A quick look at the beach, then we were off to the Aqua Cafe for our Tropical Breakfast (cereal, toast, fruit & coffee), where Tim joined us for a coffee.
Aqua Cafe

Muri Beach Resort Pool
Then we went back to our room to re-pack.  We had just been told that we could only have 16kg of luggage each on the small plane to Aitutaki - eek!  We had maxed out our 23kg allowance on the trip here, and were wondering how to cull 7kg each from our gear...  Mick purged a few kilos of clothes (note that no fishing gear was left behind!) and we stashed a few bags in Tim & Jennie's villa, which we would collect later in the week, when we returned for their wedding.  
Muri Beach Resort Reception
The trusty Tarago picked us up at 11.30 - being driven by the daughter of the lady who had picked us up the night before.  (The lady was not so cranky this morning, when she sat on our balcony for a good old chat.)  Beside the driver was her young son - 2 years old, at a guess.  For the entire trip to the airport the little munchkin was standing up on the seat, sticking his head out the window, while eating an apple and drinking a bottle of milk.  He occasionally turned around to stare at us, then would quickly remember he was missing the ride, and would go back to poking his head out the window.  Crazy!!

At the airport Mick chatted to some guys about fishing, green with envy as he learnt that one of them was a Shimano rep...  Mick listened intently to their stories of catching the legendary Bonefish of the Cook Islands - you could see his mind storing away the info as valuable tips for his coming fishing adventures!

The plane was small, old and quite frankly we were surprised to actually lift off the ground.  A short 50 minute rattly trip, and we were in awe of the beauty we could see below.

Looking down on Aitutaki

We then got the warmest welcome one could ever imagine!  We were greeted by our driver, who put a freshly-made, fragrant lei around our necks and then gave us each a drinking coconut to celebrate our arrival in this beautiful place!  

The air-conditioned coach ride from the airport was short and sweet.  Then we were delighted to see a gorgeous wooden ferry-boat waiting to take us across a small channel of the most aqua-clear water we have ever laid our eyes on.  
The only way to get to and from the resort from the main island.
We boarded the vessel (along with the 4 other couples who had joined us on the coach) and as we started floating towards the little island that is home to Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa, an islander started blowing into a conch shell and then chanted a welcome song for us.

As we headed across the white sand into the reception area, we were given ice-cold face cloths to cool us down.  The reception area was a large, open bungalow.  A high-pitched thatched roof, wooden carvings and super-sized armchairs, all created a fabulous first impression of the resort.  
Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa Reception

Our host gave us a quick orientation to the resort, and before long we were being escorted through the stunning grounds to our dream holiday destination - our Overwater Bungalow!

On the way over here I read this quote in a travel brochure:

Well, this place is the ultimate place to lose your breath!  From the moment that we opened the front door, the crystal blue water could be seen from every angle of the bungalow - I mean it!  The bed, the shower, even the toilet!  And if you were getting ready to go somewhere, there is that gorgeous image in the reflection of the mirror, just to remind you where you are.  Fresh flowers were adorning every flat surface - tables, benches, (and even in the toilet), freshly picked local flowers were decorating our lovely holiday home.  The small touches made by the resort, are really the big things that we will remember for years to come.

The open air shower
The courtyard - the photo is taken from where the shower was situated.
Our very own stairs into the crystal clear lagoon!

Stunning, gorgeous, picturesque, magical - whatever you call it - it is paradise!

I think that next we kind of walked around in awe, from the overwater balcony to the super-king-sized bed, then out to open air shower and garden space.  Pure heaven on earth - we had found it :)

Read the rest of my Travel Journal entries here:


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