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Cook Islands Travel Guide

Arutanga Map

Aitutaki Sights

Arutanga and the South

Opposite the Administration Center at Arutanga is the colonial-style residence of the government representative set amid lovely gardens. The limestone CICC church just south was begun in 1828, only a few years after Papeiha converted the islanders. It's usually solidly locked but you can still peek in the windows of this oldest church in the Cook Islands and admire the monument to missionaries John Williams and Papeiha out front.

South of Arutanga beyond Nikaupara, the road turns inland at a dry stream where the old Vainamu Washing Pool has been rebuilt. Continue east along this road, turning right at the junction of the road to Te Koutu Point. About 700 meters south is Marae Te Poaki O Rae, down a short trail to the left. A signpost visible east of the road marks this double row of stones beneath a huge puka tree. A more overgrown road running west toward the beach from the Te Poaki O Rae junction leads to Marae Arangirea. Look for another line of stones about 150 meters down on the left, in high grass just before you enter the eerie chestnut forest along the coast.

The Interior

An easy afternoon or sunset hike from the guesthouses at Arutanga is up to the water tanks on a hill in the middle of the island. Go up the road marked Pirake/Vaipeka at Amuri.

The trail to the radio towers on the summit of Maungapu starts from opposite Paradise Cove on the main road up the west side of the island. It's a leisurely half-hour jaunt up an obvious track and from the top you get a sweeping view of Aitutaki's entire barrier reef.

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