One of the highlights of our visit to Rarotonga was a hike from the north to the south side across some quite rugged mountain terrain on muddy trails and through dense jungle-like vegetation. The highlight of this hike was reaching a huge rock perched on the top of the mountain ridge called “The Needle”. We could see the rock from 15 miles north of the island when we were sailing in. It has an amazing view of the island.
Along with Karen and I were Jason and Lara and a another boating guy we met at the wharf. Internet wasn’t working at the wharf, so I didn’t get to post photos of the visit to Rarotonga until later.
This hike had a very steep trail leading to the top – it was made up of the roots of trees on the side of the ridge and went up pretty much non-stop at a pace faster than stairs on a skyscraper – for the equivalent of 30 floors I think. We thought it would be easier going down on the other side, but it was actually even harder! It was so steep there were ropes with knots on it to help descend, and at times we would slip on the mud and get bruises on our butts falling on rocks and tree branches. It was one of the toughest hiking trails I’ve seen, and I was really proud of Karen for making it through. We were rewarded at the end with a very cool pond to swim in (although we were dodging mosquitoes getting in and out of the water).
At the start of the hike we used our rented scooters to ride to the trail head (which was about 1/3 of the way up). And on the way back we hitched a ride with a local on the back of a pickup truck at the beach road on the south side. He gave us a ride all the way back to the boat. Later we borrowed other boaters’ scooters to taxi our scooters back from the trailhead. Here you can see the GPS track of the hike and the route around the island:
The Google Earth link will show the track colorized by altitude. The terrain in Google Earth for Rarotonga does not show the really rugged detail of the hike though (it’s low resolution data).
You can see a few photos from the hike in this album:
View full-sized slideshow
Back in Octoboer I posted two 360 panormas – one from a tree on the trail, and the other from the side of “The Needle”. Definitely worth checking out!