This tropical island, believed to be the oldest in the Pacific, is the southernmost of the Cook Islands with Antarctica as its only neighbour to the south. Mangaia is situated 22 deg South 157 Deg West and has a circumference of about 30 Km. It does not exactly look like what many imagine a south sea island should look. It is not high and covered with rain forest, nor is it an atoll with a lagoon in the middle. But there are of course beaches and coconut trees.
The outer rim of the island consists of ancient coral "Makatea". It is believed to have risen up from the ocean in stages during the last 2 million years and in the process formed terraces. The erosion of this old limestone has resulted in remarkable rock formations and numerous caves hundreds of metres in length or more, some of them below sea level. From the highest point in the middle on the island "Rangimotia" (169m above sea level) ridges covered with pine forest spread out radially. Between the ridges are valleys. Their lower parts are used for agriculture.
Ara Moana Bungalows are located on the eastern coast of Mangaia, a five-minute walk south of the village of Ivirua.
Ara Moana offers a wide variety of activities in a Polynesian atmosphere. Rock climbing, abseiling, trekking through virgin bush, diving in deep freshwater caves, diving or snorkelling outside Mangaia's spectacular reef, trail bike riding through the now forested hilly interior of the island or bareback horse riding.
If your tastes are more moderately adventurous you may take numerous hiking trips and, with a local guide, visit the caves that honeycomb the fossilised coral of the Makatea that rings the entire island. Or you can go fishing in a local "vaka" (outrigger canoe) or rent a motor bike for a trip around the island.
If you prefer calmer pursuits you can go to a tea party with the local chief or join the village ladies at their handcrafts.
Good Hotels Guide - Cook Islands
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