When winter is coming to New Zealand, a Kiwi’s biggest concern is How to make the summer last a little longer.
Top answer: “Fly to Raro, mate!”
No sooner said than done, the waterproof GoPro, Mr ae.i and I found ourselves back in a time travel machine (aka flight VA173, leaving Auckland each Friday at 7pm, arriving 4 hours later in Rarotonga, on Thursday shortly before midnight).
Being a Pacific Island, Rarotonga is all about white beaches, coconut palm trees, and stunning sunsets over a turquoise lagoon. But the island gets mountainous in the centre, with Te Manga exceeding 650 metres.
That peak is where surprisingly many rain clouds get stuck, which supported the creation of a dense forest (I will write up another article about the island crossing through that forest – stay tuned).
So if you find yourself under a grey cloud on one side of the island, grab your scooter and drive 15 kilometres (half way) to the other side. You will likely end up under blue sky and sun. We explored the lagoon each single day; by kayak, paddleboard or while snorkeling. Enjoy our Top 25 Paradise Photos below.
Sunset over Taakoka, a small coral islet at Muri Beach (place of our guesthouse)
The lagoon at Muri Beach couldn’t be more turquoise
Lagoon at Black Rock Beach, waiting to be explored
Fisherman enjoying a picturesque fishing location
Sunset over Rarotonga
Black Rock Beach
A long grey rain cloud which didn’t seem to move at all for over 1 hour
Walk for 5 minutes along Muri Beach and you’ll end up with a dog accompanying you for a few hundred metres; I don’t know where they come from or whom they belong to, but they are always there :)
The Rarotongan Beach
Curious fish, getting closer and closer from the GoPro
Swimming in the middle of a swarm
Typical sea star colour in Raro: blue (awesome!)
View towards the island centre
A first impression from the island crossing, leading through dense forest
Sunbeams made visible by a small fire in the woods
Taro field; typical Southeast Asian vegetable
Coconut palm trees everywhere
We had full moon during our stay, but I still managed to capture a few stars over Muri Beach
Getting prepared for the evening…
…enjoying a little cocktail…
…while watching the sunset (and the big waves at the reef)
Cultural show explaining the history of the country
A coral washed ashore (like every 5 metres)
This coral cemetery is close to the reef; you can walk there from Koromiri, another coral islet at Muri Beach
360° panorama of the Muri Beach lagoon entrance: left = open sea with big waves rolling in and hitting the reef; right = beginning of Muri Beach lagoon
Sun Halo as seen on Phillip Island on the 25th of December 2013
During a walk at The Nobbies on Phillip Island in the South of Australia I was treated to a rare phenomenon that had people turning their heads to the sky: a Sun Halo.
The light refraction causing this optical phenomenon happens due to ice crystals in a thin veil of cirrostratus clouds high in the atmosphere (as opposed to low level raindrops which create rainbows when interacting with sunlight).
Sun Halo, birds and light flare as seen on Phillip Island on the 25th of December 2013