Australian couple, Dave and Natavia Furnell attended a wedding in Rarotonga in 2012 and couldn’t stop thinking about the place after they left. They had inadvertently fallen in love with the island and its people.
The idea is to provide an unforgettable bike experience and to share the islands stories, culture and a little history.
So here we are, heading off the beaten track to meet some locals and slurp up the beautiful, lush and tropical environment with our local storyteller, Rebecca. Our first stop is Natua’s work shed. He is a young Cook Islander with a very special talent. He makes custom-made ukuleles. Thirty minutes later there is nothing we don’t know about his unique talent and these exquisite instruments.
We then move onto Rebecca’s family land and get a wonderful insight into the medicinal vegetation and the pineapple and banana plantation.
We also learn the fascinating history of the derelict Sheraton Hotel, built in the 1980’s. The project was fraught with problems, allegations of corruption and was never quite finished, leaving the Cook Island’s government with a substantial debt.
Today, the dilapidated shell is still empty but it has become a tourist attraction in a weird kind of way and is now part of the fabric of the island.
It is hard to believe, but the morning has vanished and with rumbling tummies we sit down to a hot chicken lunch, provided by one of the locals.
The cycling and ‘insider knowledge’ has hugely added to our Rarotongan experience and we have seen and learnt things not possible without our storyteller, Rebecca… thank you.
Note: We took the easy biking option, do-able for all ages and levels of fitness, but there is also the ‘Explore’ four-hour tour for confident riders and the ‘Excite,’ five-hour tour for experienced riders providing a thrill but hopefully not a spill.