Guided Tours and other Activities
Atiu is a very versatile island and offers you a variety of quite diverse activities.
Filled with a wealth of information, an island tour shows you Atiu’s natural beauty and takes you to places of historical significance in the villages and elsewhere on the island. Finalizing the trip you will stop at one of Atiu's many beaches and be served some island refreshments.
Atiu’s most famous tour is a visit to AnaTakitaki, the cave in which the Kopeka nest. Also called Atiu Swiftlets (Aerodramus sawtelli), these small birds, unique to Atiu, hide their nests between the stalactites in the total darkness of this spacious cave and use echolocation to find their way by emitting short clicking sounds. It is imperative that you bring along good, solid shoes that enclose your feet, as you will be walking over the sharp fossilized coral rocks through the island’s rainforest. You may also want to carry some mosquito repellent, especially during our humid summer months (October to May).
Because our island is the only one in the Cook group that does not have the common ship rat (Rattus rattus), Atiu has become a sanctuary for birds that are threatened by extinction in their normal habitat, such as the Rarotonga Flycatcher (Pomarea dimiata) or Kakerori and the Rimatara Lorikeet ('Ura, Vini kuhlii') or Kura. On a special bird and nature tour you will be able to observe and photograph not only these threatened species, but also the many other land and sea birds that have given Atiu its name: Enuamanu, the island of the birds. You will also see a variety of native plants and learn about their uses as food, medicine, building materials, etc. At Taungaroro beach you will be served refreshments Atiu style.
Those of you who like rod fishing will enjoy a reef fishing trip. You will also learn about other creatures that live on the reef such as shells, sea cucumber, and edible sea weeds. If you’ve been lucky and caught fish, your tour guide will help you prepare your catch Atiu style.
On some islands, pre-missionary Polynesians used to bury their dead in caves. It is unclear whether Rimarau was used as a burial cave or whether the many skeletons that riddle its underground chambers got there as the result of a battle as some legends indicate. If you like old tales and have no problem with confined spaces, a tour to Rimarau this final resting place of Atiu’s ancestors will bring you in touch with the darkness of the past. It is worthwile to find out more about the traditions of past and present from your tour guide.
If exploring the underground is not for you, another tour shows you the witnesses of Atiu’s history on the island’s surface. From the pre-missionary marae (sacred site) to the country’s first and largest Cook Islands Christian Church and past chiefly palaces, much in daily life has remained unchanged since even before the arrival of the first Europeans. It is worthwhile to find out more about the traditions of past and present from your history tour guide.
With the foundation of the Atiu Coffee Factory in 1983, Atiu’s coffee industry was given a new chance. Follow Juergen or Andrea to the plantation and processing plant as part of a coffee tour and get more facts and information. Enjoy a coffee tasting session at the Atiu Fibre Arts Studio, where you can also buy coffee and Andrea’s textile art works.
Coffee is not the only interesting drink our island is famous for. You can also visit the Tumunu, a drinking hide-out in the bush where our local men will be happy to share their home-brew, their songs and their stories with you. The sessions are not an event that is organized to entertain our guests; but if you go there with your host, neighbour or tour guide, your short visit and your donation will be welcome.