Rarotonga Cross Island Walk in the Cook Islands

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The Rarotonga Cross Island Walk is one of the best hikes in the South Pacific. Even the most inexperienced hiker can get up there with a bit of care

We stood outside our hostel, staring up at the morning sky. It had been raining all night long and the ominous clouds still threatened to thwart our plans. Adrienne, the hostel owner, had already warned us against doing the Rarotonga Cross Island Walk.

It would be far too slippery after the night’s deluge, she told us. However, after three days of lazing, we were keen for some activity. Already in our hiking gear, we were loath to change back into beachwear and spend another day doing not a lot.

And, so, against Adrienne’s wishes, we started the three-hour trip up to ‘The Needle’ (413m) and down to the other end of the island.

Rarotonga Cross Island Walk

Luckily, contrary to Adrienne’s warnings, the rainfall hadn’t reached the ground through the thick foliage so we found the hike to be relatively easy and safe, reaching the top in just an hour.

The views were like something out of Jurassic Park (without the murderous dinosaurs): absolutely stunning.

Here’s a taster of what we saw.

We spent thirty minutes on the peak, soon joined by a group of other hikers. The variety of people on the peak was striking: there were hikers of different ages, shapes and fitness levels.

In terms of reward versus effort, the Rarotonga Cross Island Walk has got to be one of the best hikes in the South Pacific. While it does require a level of fitness and coordination, even the most inexperienced hiker can get up there with a bit of care.

Map of the Rarotonga Cross Island Walk

Use the below map to find your way. You can save it to your smartphone using AllTrails.

Where to stay in Rarotonga

The below are some suggestions for accommodation in the Cook Islands. We always take the time to read reviews carefully to make sure you get exactly what you want from your booking.

Best time to go to RAROTONGA

The Cook Islands are great to visit all year round with minimal seasonal variations. Generally, May to October are the drier months with November to April wetter.

The best time of year to visit the Cook Islands is September and October when it’s less humid and cooler. Be aware that due to Rarotonga’s mountainous interior it can often rain with little warning so always pack a waterproof jacket.


Lead image: Atlas & Boots

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