Travel Guide Oceania Polynesia Cook Islands Atiu

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Introduction

Atiu, also known as Enuamanu (meaning land of the birds), is an island 187 kilometres northeast of Rarotonga, in the Southern Islands group of the Cook Islands Archipelago.

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Geography

Atiu is a raised volcanic island surrounded by a reef from which rise 6-metre-high cliffs of fossilized coral (makatea). The makatea cliff forms a one-mile-wide ring round the island, creating a virtual plateau. Erosion at the innerside of the ring has formed dip of about 30 metres into fertile land, which gradually rises again to a central 70-metre-high flat-topped hill.

Administratively, the small uninhabited island of Takutea, now a bird sanctuary, is considered part of Atiu.

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Villages

There are five villages in Atiu – visitors may not distinguish one from the other – and each village has a meeting house which is very important to them. They are well maintained and the villagers have pride in them. In these houses they conduct village meetings and community functions like welcoming and feeding visitors, selling of products. Educational courses are conducted in these houses and when a big group from overseas visit they could be accommodated in here for the time they are on the island

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Sights and Activities

Bushwalking, caves, birdwatching, fishing, diving, relaxing. Unlike the islands of Rarotonga and Aitutaki the settlements on Atiu are central. Difficulties in accessing the coast, and the lack of protective reefs and lagoons do not make Atiu as suitable for swimming and snorkelling as these other islands. Nonetheless it is possible, and there are some very nice secluded beaches on Atiu.

Anatakitaki

Anatakitaki is one of the most famous caves on Atiu. Here you can find many caves and 'Atiu is dotted with limestone caverns complete with stalactites and stalagmites. Anatakitaki, also known as the Kopeka Cave is a marvellous place, a large and beautiful cave and is the home of the kopeka. The kopeka is a rare bird which only lives on 'Atiu. Visiting Anatakitaki requires you to take a local guide.

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Weather

The Cook Islands have a tropical climate, meaning warm and humid weather year round but with constant sea breezes bringing some relief on the hotter summer days. November to April are summer months when it is around 28 °C during the day on Rarotonga and a bit warmer on Aitutaki which is more to the north. Temperatures at night are usually just 5 °C cooler or so. These months also have the most rain, with some tropical downpours during the afternoon, followed by sunshine again. Sometimes, several rainy days are possible. This is also the time that hurricanes are a possibility, although these don't strike every year of course. Wintermonths are cooler, especially on the most southern islands (around 25 °C during the day) but also drier and sunnier. Aitutaki has smaller differences between summer and winter regarding temperatures and the northern islands even less so.

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Getting There

By Plane

Air Rarotonga has daily flights to Rarotonga except Sundays, and weekly flights (Wednesday) to Aitutaki. Officially there is a baggage limit of 16kg per passenger but it is not handled very strictly for tourists.

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Getting Around

  • By foot you'll see the most, but you need time.
  • By mountainbike ($10/day) Tel.33271.
  • By Motorbike ($20-25/day), at the "Super Brown" store.

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Eat/Drink

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Sleep

  • Are Manuiri, ☎ +682 33031. Owned by ADC, the cooperation of the local people. It's in the heart of the villages which has advantages and disadvantages. You will be a part of the village and get better contact to locals, and it is next to almost anything, but it can get a little noisy in the morning. Double $60.
  • Taparere Lodge, ☎ +682 33034. Double $78.
  • Kia Orana Bungalows, ☎ +682 33013. Double $80.
  • Kopeka Lodge Tel.+682 33283.
  • Atiu Bed & Breakfast, ☎ +682 33041, e-mail: marshall@atiutours.co.ck.
  • Atiu Villas, ☎ +682 33777. $160-$180

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This is version 2. Last edited at 8:51 on Aug 22, 18 by Utrecht. 4 articles link to this page.

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