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Cook Islands Travel Guide

Oneroa, Mangaia
a road in Oneroa village, Mangaia

Sights of Mangaia

A 25-km road along the coastal strip rings most of the island. It's seven km from the airstrip to Oneroa, the main village, where a monument in front of the church recalls Mangaian church ministers and missionaries (such as the Reverend William Wyatt Gill, who served in the Cooks 1852-1883). If the church is open, enter to see the sennit rope bindings in the roof.

On a large stone near Avarua landing are the footprints of the legendary giant, Mokea, and his son; both jumped across the island in a race to this spot. The huge stones on the reef to the north were thrown there by Mokea to prevent a hostile canoe from landing. The queen of Mangaia still has a large flag given to her grandfather by Queen Victoria.

Tuara George will guide you through Teruarere Cave. Used as a burial ground in past, the cave has old skeletons that add a skin-crawling touch of reality. The opening is small and you have to crawl in, but the cave goes on for a great distance. A lamp is necessary. Below Teruarere on the cliff is Touri Cave. There are two streams in this cave: one freshwater, the other salty.

An impressive cut leads up through the makatea from Oneroa. Follow a jeep track up to the flat summit of Rangimotia for varied views. From the plateau you can follow a footpath back down to Ivirua and return to Oneroa via Tamarua, a rather longish day hike. The church at Tamarua has a sennit-bound roof.

A water-filled cave at Lake Tiriara was the hiding place of the warlord Panako in the 1600s. Water from the lake runs through the cave under the makatea to the sea, and rises and falls slightly with the tide.

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