The overriding allure of this island is its peaceful welcoming nature
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The garden island of Mauke, 40 minutes flight from Rarotonga, is only half the size of the capital with a total circumference of 18km compared with Rarotonga’s 32km. The islands other main difference is its typography, consisting of a central volcanic plateau, and similar to Mangaia, it is made up of a raised makatea fossilised coral reef, with a number of fresh water caves to explore with galleries reaching beneath the reef.

There are no rivers on the island and rainfall drains into inland swamps before seeping into the lagoon, creating a verdant fertile environment ideal for propagating the maire bush which grows wild on the islands interior regions. Exports of the sought after vine, woven into fragrant garlands, are shipped via Rarotonga on to Hawaii and have created a thriving local industry for the islands ‘mamas’ who do the work.

World's Largest Banyan Tree
Mauke’s other claim to fame has the island boasting the worlds largest Banyan Tree, covering an estimated one and a half acres. At the junction of Ngatiarua and Areora villages stands the unique Zion CICC church, affectionately referred to by the local people as the “divided church” due to its aspect being shared by the two villages. Separate entranceways allow access to the building, with a central pulpit demarcating the designated seating for the congregation.

In pre-European times the island was under repeated attack by raiding parties from nearby Atiu who dominated the island until the arrival of Christian missionaries, after which time it settled into a quiet peaceful existence, one of its main attractions for visitors today. The island has no sealed roads and no dogs, though does sport plenty of free-ranging pigs and roosters, as do most in the Cook Islands group. Accommodation is limited, and shops are few, so it is recommended that visitors stock up with anything beyond the basics before arriving.

The overriding allure of this island is its peaceful welcoming nature, and Maukeans cleave to the ancient customs of hospitality, – ui tupuna – making visitors to their island immediately feel at home. Mauke is a soothing tonic for those seeking a picturesque, unhurried, tranquil escape from fast paced city life.

Contact Tipani Tours for more information on travelling to Mauke.

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