A wonderful 3 days, but not the place if you want sophistication, restaurants and spas! The island has a population of only 478 and at full capacity can accommodate 40 tourists (although this is rarely attained)
My daughter had been working as a volunteer vet on Rarotonga for 3 months. I went to join her for 10 days at the end of her time there. After a wonderful week on Raro, walking, cycling and snorkelling we caught the little plane to Atiu. Roger met us at the tiny airport and garlanded us with beautifully scented frangipane and gardenia lei (called ei in this part of the world), to welcome us to the island. As others have explained, Roger gives a fascinating potted history of the island on the route to the villas, which are charming, A-framed wooden chalets set in a stunning garden all created by New Zealander Roger and his wife Kura, whose family come from the island. Plentiful fruit in the fruit bowl and a well-stocked fridge and food cupboard at local prices. Possibly worth bringing a few basic salad/veg supplies from Raro for lunches.
After an afternoon chilling by the pool, the remaining two and a half days were spent actively exploring the island both on our own on one of the scooters for hire and on tours arranged for us by Roger. We walked through forests filled with coral (! it's all to do with the geology) and ferns to see cave-dwelling swifts which echo-locate like bats; sat with locals and drank their home-brewed drink (delicious); saw the reintroduced lorakeets; had a picnic, beautifully presented on woven leaves, on the beach with local celebrity George and visited the coffee plantation run by German-born Jurgen, Coffee is currently the only island export although it was explained to us that historically there have been various attempts at exporting pineapples, tomatoes and black pepper. The beaches are stunning and empty and we also (eventually) found the beautiful coral garden, which makes for pretty impressive snorkelling. On our return flight to Raro we were almost overwhelmed by the scent of the numerous ei presented by families to departing islanders. A memorable stay!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Atiu Villas is located on Atiu Island at the edge of a central plateau overlooking a tropical garden, pineapple fields, jungle and has distant views down a valley of the Pacific Ocean. The villas are built in the native style out of polished native timbers of mango, mahogany, red peanut, cedar and coconut in 6 well separated villas and includes a villa suitable for families. A tour desk, restaurant, bar, entertainment area, swimming pool, floodlit tennis court, property wide free Wifi, rental bicycles, scooters and car are all available on site. ... more less
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