Rakahanga Island, Cook Islands
Rakahanga, part of the Cook Islands in the central-southern Pacific Ocean, is one of the most unspoiled places on earth. The atoll is 1,248 kilometres from the Cook Islands capital, Rarotonga and lies 1111 kilometres from the equator. Its nearest neighbour is Manihiki which is just 44 kilometres away.
There are two main islands and seven motus or islets in the Rakahanga lagoon. On the east these are: Akaro, Motu Ngangie, Huananui, Motu Mahuta and Motu Okakara; while on the southwest side the islet of Te Kainga guards the widest passage in to the lagoon. The village of Rakahanga, seat of Rakahanga Island Council, is located on the northwest side of the southern islet.
Rakahanga lagoon is unsuitable for pearl farming, however huge coconut crabs are plentiful in the lagoon, and fishing is good on the outer reef. Large sea turtles abound there too. Each January, a tuna fishing contest takes place and boats return with 200 or more fish a day. Vegetation is extensive, large breadfruit trees line village paths and coconut palms and pandanus trees thrive. Women weave fine rito hats, mats and baskets from the pandanus leaf fibres.
Things to See & Do
* Diving & snorkeling
Cruise Season – Jan - Dec
Currency - New Zealand dollar
(Cook Islands dollar also used) (NZD)
Language – English, Rakahanga-Manihiki
Land Area – 4 km²
Population - 130 approx
Electricity – 2 round pins European style, two parallel flat pins Japanese style
Time - GMT minus 10
International Country Telephone Code – + 682
Port Location – There is a tiny wharf and boat landing at the Matara settlement.
Transport Links – Rakahanga can be accessed by boat from Manihiki or the occasional inter-island boat.
There are weekly flights every Thursday to Manihiki from Rarotonga. Air New Zealand and Pacific Blue are the two international carriers that fly into the main island Rarotonga. Air New Zealand regularly flies in from Auckland, New Zealand and LA, USA (via Tahiti or Honolulu). Pacific Blue flies from Sydney via Auckland, New Zealand.