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Travelling with a toddler.

Ashburton...
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Travelling with a toddler.

Hi there,

we are heading to Raro in May with 15mth old toddler. Are there any safefy tips (we plan on walking everywhere and have hired an all terrain buggy for the duration of our stay) sightseeing recommendations or advice anyone can give us that will make our stay more enjoyable/easy. We are staying in self sufficien accom and will be cooking for ourselves etc.

Rarotonga, Cook...
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1. Re: Travelling with a toddler.

Kia Orana Kate, welcome to the forum.

Just as you would do at home, exercise common sense and caution with your toddler here. There are some very nice sandy beaches with shallow lagoon areas for a dip and child's play. Our sun can cause sun-burn like it does at home in the summer, apply a sun-screen prep and cover exposed skin. Be mindful of mossies when at home and out. One tip, if the beach nearby your accommodation is too breezy, the opposite side of the island will be sheltered. For example, Muri may catch the prevailing SE breeze, so Black Rock reserve will be protected.

Unfortunately we have very few footpaths, which means using the roadside verge to walk along. Face oncoming traffic and be prepared to move to the side as far as possible. Will you be hiring a car throughout your stay? This is by far the easiest option for transport, general sightseeing, and carting children's equipment about.

All resorts and most holiday homes provided potable water for guests. Take plenty of water with you when exploring. All village grocery shops and the supermarkets sell bottled water. Seasonal fresh fruits and veg can be purchased at the Saturday market, roadside stalls and supermarkets/grocery stores. You'll find good stocks of frozen meats and small goods at stores and supermarkets. Fresh fish is sold at Ocean Fresh near airport and Kai Moana at the market.

Lagoon cruises depart from Muri lagoon. Wait until you reach the island to determine if any of these activities are suitable with a toddler in mind. A short lagoon trip using one of the hire treddle-cats located at Muri Beach-Club Hotel may be more your thing? Island Nights abound. Again, wait till you reach Raro to check their times, venue, availability, and how your toddler will cope with a night out etc.

Have a look at the Tourism website to see what interests you by way of attractions - http://www.cookislands.travel/nz

Enjoy your stay. Kia manuia.

Edited: 9:33 pm, February 17, 2014
Vancouver...
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2. Re: Travelling with a toddler.

"Walking everywhere" is not such a good idea. There isn't anyplace to walk along the road in much of it except in the road. Very little shoulder area in most areas, so you'll be very close to passing cars, trucks and buses. Town has sidewalks. Go to YouYube and look for videos on Rarotonga. There are several that show around the islands drives, and you can see the condition of the side of the road.

Please be more specific with your questions than: "recommendations or advice anyone can give us that will make our stay more enjoyable/easy." Also look at the first thread on this page; " Trip reports and travellers tips". Thanks. Chuck.

Edited: 9:36 pm, February 17, 2014
New South Wales...
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3. Re: Travelling with a toddler.

Hi Kate S,

There's not too much about traveling to Rarotonga with toddlers that I don't know. For the past 6 years we have traveled with our grandchildren, with another trip planned for this year. The girls are now 7, 6, 3 & 8 months, if you do the maths, they have all been babies or toddlers at some time during our stay on Raro in the past 6 years.

First tip, forget the "all terrain pram" - too wide for the area you need to push it. We take from home a very light weight fold up aluminium stroller (they used to call them umbrella strollers) - this serves us at the airport before our journey & we have it as soon as we arrive in Raro - so no juggling a child & luggage & does the job during our stay.

Second tip - we take plug-in mosquito thingy's for the bedrooms & mosquito coils for outside at night. I'm assuming your accommodation provider is providing a cot (if not hire one from Coco Tots) .Take from home a large mosquito net & use it.

Sunscreen is a must, as is a "rashie", but you would already know this.

We always travel with a supply of the old fashioned cloth nappies. Rarotonga, being a small island, has a waste disposal/land fill problem, it's bad enough that locals add to this problem by using disposable nappies. We, as tourists try to be responsible, sometimes we resort to disposables, when the "washing drying" weather isn't kind to us, but in the main we try to use cloth nappies.

I wouldn't think treddle-cats at Muri would be suitable for a 15 month old, but maybe, every child is different. Ours have enjoyed watching the sailing boats on a Saturday whilst playing in the sand at Muri.

The Raro Reef Sub, in the harbour, may be worthy of consideration - over the years two of ours have loved it, whilst the other threw up, but it is an interesting experience for adults (despite the throwing up) - children under 2 are admitted free.

I could go on & on, but as Chuck says, if you have anything specific that's of concern please don't hesitate to ask.

I

Ashburton...
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4. Re: Travelling with a toddler.

Wow Fernsie and Frangipani - there is some great advise here thank you! It was exactly what I was looking for. I wasn't sure on very much so I didn't mean to be vague with specifics. I think I was just after an overall idea.

We weren't looking at hiring a car but now I think we might look into it as we are there for two whole weeks. Thank you for that information regarding lagoons and food I have made a two page list of points here, especially regarding the mosquito nets and plug ins.

It will be our first family vacation after a very troublesome infancy so perhaps my nerves are a bit erratic. I'm about to head to YouTube now and have a look as advised.

Thanks again!

Kate

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5. Re: Travelling with a toddler.

Hi Kate,

Nice to receive your feedback - much appreciated! Do you already have friends or family on Raro or living in the Cook Islands? I ask because there is a growing Cook Islands community in Ashburton.

I'm not a big fan of using the electric mossie devices that vaporise a chemical, placed near children. I travelled twice a year (at least) to Raro when both my 2 sons were aged from 3 months to their teens. I used a combination of tea-tree (manuka) and dilute Dettol in coconut oil dotted onto a soft flannel pinned to the surrounds of my children's portable cot. I also bought some net curtain to make my own mossie net for the cot. Worked well over many years. I also don't use DEET based products, preferring some of the natural products developed in NZ.

CITC Pharmacy sells the modernised version of the cloth nappy, should you require these. I used formed cloth nappies a lot here on Raro, finding natural products better for skin contact and allowing tender skin to breathe. So good tip from Fernsie above.

The Whale Centre located in Atupa opens on a Sunday. Currently undergoing refurbishment, it has excellent displays and resources as well as an onsite café. May be easier to reach by car.

For rental car, perhaps hire a vehicle over a 3 day period to coincide with weekends so you can visit the market, do a major grocery shop and explore some of the activities when the roads are less busy with commuters and school students. Car rental companies are located in all the major districts and busier villages.

Kia manuia

Hobart, Australia
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6. Re: Travelling with a toddler.

We always use the plug-in mosquito thingy's for the bedrooms & bathrooms and they are fantastic. To infer they are toxic is ridiculous. Mosquito coils for outside at night is also a good idea. You can also buy clothes mossie patches which our son used when he was little.

Kate I would also suggest that you bring a cot sheet that your child has already slept on for a few nights - the familiar smell can help them settle a little better in unfamiliar surroundings.

Also bring any favourite snacks.

I think having a car rental for the whole 2 weeks is an excellent idea as it just makes life and getting around so much easier. If you book online you can get a better deal. We used Island car hire and found their prices very good www.islandcarhire.co.ck/.

Fernsie I am impressed with your contribution to the local CI environment with your families commitment to use cloth nappies

Regards

Suzi

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7. Re: Travelling with a toddler.

Many more mothers on Rarotonga are using cloth nappies nowadays, which is fantastic for our local environment.

As for using the commercially-prepared chemical based plugins to deter mossies, it's not something I would recommend in the vicinity of young children and the elderly. But then I'm not a fan of DEET products either, preferring Picaridin among other natural remedies. Each to their own beliefs and values. My children thrived during all their stays on Rarotonga over successive years.

Kia manuia.

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8. Re: Travelling with a toddler.

Good to hear that more mums on Raro are thinking of the environment, must be just recent, though, I don't recall seeing any nappies hanging on the lines.

Re the use of plugins, as you say, "each to their own". I'm of the opinion that the little chemical exposure to these products during a 3 week holiday is negated by the risk of insect bites which are not only uncomfortable but have the strong possibility of becoming infected & then of course there is always the very slim chance of another Dengue outbreak. I realise there are other nonchemical methods of dealing with these pests but we find plugins to be not only effective but very no fuss.

I agree with you, Frangipani, I would never use DEET on a child.

Ashburton...
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9. Re: Travelling with a toddler.

Wow having never used a feedback forum before I am blown away with the amazing advise and support on here.

I've actaully taken so many notes from all of you that I have now started a note book. with all tips and advise into categories.

I am feeling much more confident and excited about our holiday now.

Thanks again everyone.

Ashburton...
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10. Re: Travelling with a toddler.

Hi Frangipani,

No, we don't have any family/friends over there but we are travelling with family as well. We have heard good things about the whale centre and I have all the ingredients now for the home made "mosquito deterant". The net curtain idea is fantastic I have plenty of that stuff already at home. Thank you for all your advice it was very very useful.

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