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Cook Islands Travel Guide

Road on Mauke
a country road on Mauke

Around Mauke

It's only 18 km around Mauke, and no one lives on the south or east sides of the island, so the secluded beaches there are ideal for those who want to be completely alone. There's good reef walking at low tide on the west side of Mauke, but ocean swimming is difficult everywhere. A coral trail just south of Tiare Cottages gives access to a small beach, and south around the point from this beach is a sea cave known as Kopu Pooki (Stomach Rock). It's about two meters deep and small fish congregate there.

About 450 meters southeast of Tukune junction, just past the second rock quarry, a trail leads 150 meters inland between the Barringtonia or utu trees to Vai Ma'u, a deep water-filled crack in the makatea with a tall coconut tree growing out. The water is very clear but the opening narrow and steep.

The finest beaches on Mauke are on the south side of the island and the white sands of Ieoneroa are just 500 meters southeast of Vai Ma'u. Also most inviting is the beach at Anaraura, where a long stretch of clean white sand borders a green lagoon. This piece of paradise is flanked by rugged limestone cliffs and backed by palm, pine, and pandanus. A short track leads down to the beach.

Two upright stone slabs to the right of the road about a km beyond Anaraura mark the site of Paikea's grave. A secluded white beach is just behind. Yet another good beach is found at Arapaea, three km north of Paikea's Grave.

At Oneunga, just under two km northwest of Arapaea, two huge stones thrown up between the shore and the road have trees growing out of them. Directly opposite these two rocks is a trail leading across the makatea to Vai Ou, a series of three caves. You can swim in the first cave's pool, about 800 meters in from the coastal road. A five-minute scramble beyond Vai Ou is Vai Moraro, and beyond that Vai Tunamea. The coastal road meets the road to the interior villages and the airstrip less than a km west of Oneunga.

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