With a tropical climate, warm water, stunning scenery and friendly locals, it’s hardly surprising the Cook Islands is such a popular destination for travelers. However with the increased popularity comes increased prices. Here are my top 5 things to do in Rarotonga if you are traveling on a budget.
This track is a must do if it is your first time in Rarotonga. The Cross Island track starts in the Avatiu Valley south of the main town Avarua and ends on the picturesque South Coast. The 360° views from the summit (known as the Needle) are spectacular and an excellent photo opportunity. There is a waterfall you can swim in at the end which is ideal after working up a sweat! The hike takes 3-4hrs and you can catch a bus back to town from the main road.
For me this location on the South West corner of the Island offers the best snorkeling. This sheltered turquoise lagoon is best visited 1hr either side of high tide. There is an abundance of fish and unique corals. Keep your eye out for, turtles, sea snakes, moray eels and giant clams!
For some pure relaxation spend the day at one of the secluded palm fringed beaches. Getting too hot? Just jump in the water and cool off. The view back towards the Islands lush volcanic peaks is one you wont forget.
If you are feeling more adventurous the Island offers numerous reef breaks. Hollow lefts and rights break over shallow reefs, perfect for the competent surfer or bodyboarder. All of the breaks can be paddled to within a matter of minutes and are best on a mid to high tide. One of the best breaks is a 15min walk from the airport! The locals are friendly and can offer some advice on where it will be pumping!
Having transport will give you the freedom to explore the Island at your own pace. The main coastal road circumnavigates the Island for 32km and offers plenty of photo opportunities. For a more adventurous route, explore the inland ring road (ancient road). This rugged palm fringed road will give you a real insight in to the locals way of life.
An inland town teeming with tourists, hawkers and vehicles, Central Ubud can at times be a little overwhelming. If buying a penis shaped bottle opener or toad kite isn’t your thing I would suggest hiring a scooter and exploring Ubud’s surrounds. A mere five minutes from the city and you will be amongst lush rainforest, terraced rice fields and historic temples. A much more authentic experience awaits…
The purifying springs of Tirta Empul Tempul built in 926 AD
Our beautiful hotel swimming pool at Puri Sunia
More Macaque monkeys at the Ubud Monkey forest
Local villager splitting bamboo shoots to sell as thatch
Lush rice terraces around Ubud
Balinese rice terrace worker
The Balinese woman often carry any number of items on their heads
…and in their arms
The infamous Luwak Coffee – The Luwak digests the beans and excretes them ready to roast!
Local villager working amongst the rainforest
This is the second part of a recent trip to Bali. After the bustling streets and hectic night life of Kuta, it was a nice change to arrive on the chilled Nusa Lembongan island. The next five days would be a mix of surfing, snorkeling, scootering, eating and relaxing…
The picturesque Nusa Lembongan Island
My Dad, Brother and girlfriend enjoying the relaxed pace
My beautiful partner Sophie ready for here awaiting limousine aka the 50cc scooter!
The welcoming locals
The local petrol station! The jungle juice bottles filled with fuel cost $2 and fill the scooter.
Hungry little guy
Rugged but beautiful coast of Nusa Ceningan
My favourite spot, Nusa Ceningan Point where we celebrated my 30th birthday
Nusa Lembongan by moonlight
From beautiful beaches to tropical rainforests, massive nightclubs to ancient temples, crowded streets to deserted rice terraces, Bali really is a place of contrasts. These contrasts and extremes all add to it’s attraction and make it a photographers dream.
I recently visited Bali with some family and friends and we all had an amazing experience. Whether you are into, surfing, shopping, diving, hiking, yoga, religion or just relaxing there is something for everyone. We only had two weeks there but really got a taste of what Bali is all about. I have plenty of photos from the trip and this is just part one of three! Enjoy : )
Arriving in Bali we were bombarded by hundreds of porters holding signs the question was where is ours!?
Although my partner thought our Villa may be a hoax due to its price, we arrived to find it was in fact real!
Hard to beat sunset drinks on Seminyak beach
Chilling on Seminyak
Lots of quirky alleyways weave their way amongst the main roads
Our local grocer
The picture perfect Dreamland beach, with some heavy surf
My brother making friends with the locals
Keep an eye out for our next stop, the surf Island of Nusa Lembongan