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Cross Island Track Hiking in the Cook Islands

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The cross island track is possibly the hiking route most popular of the Cook Islands. We speak of a route that crosses the island from east to west along paths with stunning vegetation and rivers that will make you barefoot on more than one occasion. The Cross Island Track is like making a route on the island of Perdidos, since it is located in a rain forest with landscapes that can not leave anyone indifferent.


Cross Island Track

Cross island track, crossing the island of Rarotonga

Before leaving

To be able to do this route in the Rarotonga legislature you have to take into account the following:

  • To access the exit point you have to hire transportation. A taxi?. It would be the best, since you can work with the one who will look for you at the exit
  • Rarotonga is not a very big island and it is easy to travel it in half an hour by car, so the taxi is the best option to access both the entrance and the exit as it is not a circular route
  • The route is very poorly marked. We must follow the red landmarks (triangles in the trees), but they barely look and it's easy to get lost. We recommend carrying the track that we attach in the article
  • The route is not difficult although it requires a minimum of physical level
  • We emphasize that there are points with a lot of mud and water. Prepare to cross many rivers and become Indiana Jones
  • Be careful with time, it is easy to get wet. Besides, streams can grow a lot with a simple drizzle

Cross Island Track
Cook Islands - Rarotonga - Cross Island Track

The route

We started the route on a somewhat strange day. First we dive and later we did trekking. Although it seems incredible, we didn't have to get up early! :) A 50min dive, with the before and after, and then a 3h route to complete a most intense morning, right ?.

Shortly after the dive, from the same dive center, we left for the Cross Island Track, a route that the taxi driver took an hour to run. Actually, I saw something deep, but after seeing more than one person in other latitudes with a similar physique beating us in the mountains or playing football we assumed that it was true.

We had to go through the capital, Avarua, to take the road that goes inland in the direction Avatiu Tapere. Just when the road ends is when the route begins, about 4 km from the center of the capital. This point has no loss, since there is a very large sign informing of the crossing. There you can see a mailbox where you can leave your data both in order to calculate the number of visitors and to control the people who visit it.


Cross Island Track, with the red mark on the left
Cross Island Track

At the beginning of the route we walk along a wide path, where 4 × 4 pass to access small orchards or farms next to the thick jungle. From the beginning to the end of the route we didn't find anyone, something unusual, because we thought it was one of the busiest routes. True is that Rarotonga It is famous for its beaches and coral reef, but that there is no one ?.

At all times as a normyou have to follow the milestones / red marks, but the truth, sometimes they are not or are very hidden by the vegetation, so it is easy to get lost and have to turn around to verify that you are on the right path.


Cross Island Track

As we walked the streams and waterfalls They became commonplace in the landscape. Also the steep slopes, many of them very slippery being a very humid area. On more than one occasion we had to help each other with our hands or with some rope That they had put on purpose.


Earrings on the Cross Island Track

The rise and fall is constant on the route until you reach The needle, a large rock that is a reference both on the route and on the island. The rock can be seen from any height of the island. To access here you have to leave the main route, it has no loss, until you reach that large mole. Once there it is an ideal place to rest and see the amazing landscape of the Cross Island Track.


Cross Island Track - The Needle
Cross Island Track

From the The needle we went back down again to take the main road and travel the path along several ridges until the sea is seen again.

Shortly after the descent begins and the noise of the water begins to be heard. From here to the end of the route in the Papua waterfallWe had to cross no less than 10 streams and in more than one case we had to take off our shoes both by the current and by the amount of water there was. An adventure!


Cross Island Track - Papua Waterfall

Best of all, that the end comes with surprise, one of the highest waterfalls on the island. Ideal to take a good bath with the locals. Don't forget your swimsuit!

Travel insurance

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