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“Highlight of our trip to Rarotonga” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Te Rua Manga (The Needle)

Te Rua Manga (The Needle)
Cook Islands
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Ranked #14 of 58 things to do in Rarotonga
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: This tall, rocky pinnacle can be spotted from several locations on the island and is a favorite challenge for those who enjoy a good climb.
Conshohocken, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
76 reviews 76 reviews
31 attraction reviews
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
“Highlight of our trip to Rarotonga”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2013

The Cross-Island Trek (a.k.a. Te Rua manga, a.k.a. The Needle) is awesome, and I definitely recommend it to any reasonably fit people visiting Rarotonga who want a little adventure. My wife and I completed this hike in about five hours during a short (i.e. 1-night) layover in the Cook Islands on our way to New Zealand. We landed in Rarotonga early in the morning, and by mid-day we were on our way across the island. It definitely makes for a long day, but if you itinerary is similar and you have a day to spend on the Island, this is a great way to spend that day!

We started as recommended on the north side of the island. The start of the trail is easy to find .. just follow instructions in the other TripAdvisor reviews, or look on Google for more information about how to find the trail. I also linked a fairly useful (though not official) website to this review.

The trail is actually pretty easy to follow for the most part. We read some reviews on here that highly recommend going with a guide, but we had no trouble following the trail for the entire length. A few comments on following the trail ...

- The trail is marked with orange triangles. If you hike for a little while and it starts to get rough, and you don't see any orange triangles, go back to the last triangle and see if there's a more developed path. There were a couple of times we ended up on the wrong path, but it was pretty obvious when we hadn't seen a marker.
- There is one stretch near the beginning with no signs. You definitely feel like you're on the path because it's a trail going somewhere, but there are no markers. No worries, keep going as long as the path is developed, and you'll see the markers.
- There is one other area after the summit on the way down where the trail seems to end, and the most obvious way to go is sort of straight down a really steep part that drops off into standing water. Don't go this way .. the trail actually goes up the hill to the left, and the orange markers start up again.
- Definitely go from north to south. If you start in the south, I think you'll have a much harder time following the markers.

A few other general comments ...

- As I mentioned, it took us about 5 hours to complete the trek at a pretty good pace. This is not an easy hike, but it's not too challenging either. We had great weather ... if it's raining, this could be a pretty tricky hike for footing.
- It's worth the short detour to the very top (i.e. to the Needle). Say hi to our friend "Kitten" up there.
- The hike ends at a "waterfall" on the south side of the island. This "waterfall" does not exist year round. Just don't be disappointed if it's not there!
- You can catch the Bus on the south side and take it back to the starting point. It comes once an hour in the clockwise and counter-clockwise directions.

Overall .. definitely recommend. Have fun!

Visited January 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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78 reviews from our community

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Te Awamutu, New Zealand
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Pa's Walk's”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2013

We went to Rarotonga having heard about the "across the island" track. We went on the Jungle track with a very knowledgeable guide named 'Pa'. He was just brilliant. He has his own hospital in town that the locals visit - he says he is a herbalist. Other than being a little quirky he was an excellent guide. He could see that I was suffering from the steep 400m ascent in the heat. (He does recommend a reasonable level of fitness - I was substantially slower going uphill than the rest of the group and not overly fit). He recommended a break - water, vitamin c etc. before continuing. He provided lots of knowledge about the local plants and their uses. As nutrients, insect repellants, shampoo etc. When we took a break near Rua Manga (the needle) Pa was happy to take lots of photo's of the group. Often when tramping/hiking - you can be quite rushed - Pa allows plenty of time for you to hike at your own pace and take your photo's at leisure. It rained on the descent from the needle which made it quite slippery. I would probably recommend tramping/hiking boots but we were quite comfortable in sneakers and others within our guided group wore sports-sandals ie. teva's and sandshoes (although the latter had less grip and weren't overly practical once it rained). As the highest points are sometimes in cloud - rain is always a possibility. A beautiful waterfall at the end of the track, nice lunch, and fruit to snack on mid-way. All we really needed to take was a big bottle of water and a camera. Pa has a fairly substantial first-aid kit, but use your common-sense and take whatever you think you may need. My husband and I would say that this track was the highlight of our trip and recommend "Pa's Walk's" to anyone visiting Rarotonga. Having a guide was well worth the money (we tramp in NZ and would not usually have a guide). But he provides a great service - he picks you up from anywhere on the island and drops you home again (or town if you wish). He knows the track, and although the track is marked, it is not as well marked as you would expect in NZ, especially at a few of the water crossings. Great trip with loads of local flavour!!!!!!!

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Awesome view and well worth the effort”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2012

Not for the faint-hearted or those without much agility. You need to walk up through the roots of the trees and you go up really fast. Must bring water with you and some food for energy but the views are your reward. Much of the walk is undercover so you dont get too much sun either. Watch out for the roosters at the top - they are pretty cheeky!

Visited September 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, Australia
19 reviews 19 reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Phew what a trek!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2012

I understand why they say you need a guide to climb this track!

Bring plenty of water and snacks as it takes a while and some parts are tricky so watch your step! Beautiful location but make sure you are of moderate to high fitness as the climbs and slopes are tricky and you will need to be fairly agile.
Totally worth the clim though as absolutely amazing and the waterfall is stunning.

Visited October 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Freemans Bay, Auckland
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
7 attraction reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Hard work but worth it!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2012

A great walk. My friend and I decided against hiring a guide as we were advised by locals that the track was well-marked and that you can't get lost. We did it North to South and it took exactly three hours start to finish. A lot of it is almost vertical and you need to pull yourself up with tree roots and branches and it seems steeper on the way down but there are ropes for descending the harder parts. There are a few river crossings on the way down (South side) so wear shoes that can take it or be prepared to take them off - the river rocks are super slippery. I forgot to have breakfast prior but ate a Whittakers Peanut Slab near the beginning which gave me a real boost! Would definitely do this walk again and it's inspired me to walk more at home in New Zealand.

Visited October 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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