Avarua, Rarotonga, Cook Islands
The Needle track is an all day hike through the heart of Rarotonga and over one of its largest peaks. Now as many of you have already learned with us, Polynesian islands are formed by volcanoes and island volcanoes do not generate gently rolling hills. How steep is it? Well it’s a 7 km hike (so say 3.5 miles) and they recommend at least four hours. So your travel speed is estimated at under a mile an hour. Oh and yeah, tropics remember so it’s a tad warm to boot.
Having gained experience with this type of hiking in the Marquesas a while back, we were fairly confident that we had a good amount of experience with this kind of trekking and we were right…
…Except for the chickens. Which if you haven’t caught onto yet, really seem to be a running theme on this island.
We also saw a ton of amazing flowers and just gorgeous vista views. For you slide show fans, this one’s even set to music!
But we had not yet experienced the kind of terrain that would motivate even Pacific Islanders to install permanent climbing and rappel lines. Rarotonga was kind enough to fill this unknown gap in our repertoire.
It was a heck of a hike and at the end we had the option to walk back over the top to our boat or around along the road.
…Or there was an hourly bus that picked up by the ice cream store a little way down the road. We made the right decision.
PS: have we mentioned to you people passion fruit ice cream yet? Just…wow. Seriously.
Like this article? For more of what we’ve come to refer to as “Polynesian Mountaineering” check out our exploration of the remote island of Fatu Hiva by clicking on “Polynesian Mountaineering”
Or of the place where they filmed Survivor: South Pacific, by clicking on “Swimming with Eels and Island Travel”