Thursday 25 August 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Editorials, Opinion
Way back in the early days of the RRRR (Round Rarotonga Road Race), Hash House Harriers, and one of its spinoff events, the Annual Nutters Run (a unique race across the island from the Vaima Restaurant to Avatiu Harbour), a number of us involved would go across the Island a few days beforehand, and mark critical areas with Red or Green markers, as well as laminated Hash House Harrier arrows. I believe this helped, but we still managed to lose people from time to time anyway. I believe the legendary Pa also had some areas of his organised guided walking tours marked with his own code.
I understand that Tourism Cook Islands, as well as other interested bodies such as Boy Scouts have also put out markers, ropes, etc., in certain areas from time to time – significant help for those hikers/walkers to stay on the main track.
While I am not a great fan of “over-the-top” signage, may I suggest that it may be time to actually put in place some serious (but nonetheless discreet/environmentally friendly) markers/signs at critical junctions along the route/s, so that walkers/trampers have a much clearer idea of where they are, and indeed where they are going at any given point.
Cost would not be great, but it will give a much higher level of guidance, protection and safety … the Cross Island Needle walk is, after all, an iconic adventure.
The best advice I can give however would be to engage a local guide, like Junior Goldsworthy, who knows the mountains intimately, has expert knowledge of the flora and fauna, and will guarantee not only your safety but that you also get to see and experience out of the way walks and tracks that others are unlikely to ever see … unless they get lost!
(P.S – A little known fact is that the race record for the Nutters Run stands at 45 minutes! And the holder of that record lives in Rarotonga)
I’m passionate about the Cook Islands having visited multiple times but horrified that I can get packages from the UK to Tahiti, or Bali for a lot less than a flight via NZ to Raro. And these destinations are your competition. Many more European visitors have relatives in Australia than NZ so won’t consider the islands for a stopover if there is no Sydney flight and travel agents won’t offer it.
The lack of a route via LA also means it’s now a long expensive journey and Tahiti is a terrible place to route through. I guess you don’t want European or US visitors anymore.
The problem is Air New Zealand has stopped its once a week direct flight from Los Angeles to Rarotonga. I’m going to Aitutaki in September. I now have to fly from Los Angeles to Auckland have a stopover before flying to Rarotonga another stopover before flying to Aitutaki.
Before the flight from LA to Rarotonga took 10 hours, it is now going to take 18 hours plus a hefty jump in the price. You won’t get many Americans coming to the Cooks I’m afraid. I also have a 13-hour flight from the UK to LA.