The One Foot Island And The Lagoon

Posted On November 30, 2009 

Wether it’s the One Foot Island, snorkeling trips to the deserted Motu islet, diving to explore the life that lies beneath the water, discovering the rural back roads, enjoying a Sunday Church service at the oldest church around or of course cruising along the vast and beautiful lagoon which are the central attraction here, a visit to Aitutaki Island can be best described as simply magnificent.

After the Rarotong Island in the Cooks Islands group, Aitutaki Islands are the most sought after tourist destination. The Aitutaki Islands, to keep the tourists hooked, also have island nights that include the best of dance and music performances

The Aitutaki Lagoon was spotted by Captain William Bligh in 1789, a few weeks before the he was drifted off to Tonga after the mutiny of Bounty.

Aitutaki Islands


Approximately halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii, in the South Pacific Ocean, are the Cook Islands, comprising of 15 separate islands over an area of 2.2 square kilometers.

The Aitutaki Island belongs to the southern group of islands here. It is at a distance of about 225 kilometers north of Rarotonga Island, Capital of the Cook Islands.

This island’s like an atoll. The Maunga Pu is its northernmost points, standing 123 meters tall.

Reaching and getting around Aitutaki Islands

While there are no direct international flights to the Aitutaki Islands, it is well connected to Rarotonga Island by air, water and road. The Rarotonga International Airport has several flights connecting Cook Islands to cities as well as neighbouring countries.  There are weekly services from Los Angeles to Aitutaki Island by Air Rarotonga. Otherwise, there are daily trips from Rarotonga Island to the Aitutaki Islands.

For Yacht, Aitutaki is the official port of entry for the Cook Islands to explore Aitutaki Island; you can either rent a taxi or rent a scooter, bicycle or a bike to get going all by yourself. It will come cheaper too, if you opt for weekly rentals.

Taxis and buses too connect different parts of the Cook Islands. Boats and cruises of course are always an option in an island. Accessing Cook Islands and any of its islands is convenient as it has a thriving tourism industry on which much of its economy is dependent.

When to Visit

Both the main islands of the Cook Islands, the Rarotonga and the Aitutaki Islands enjoy a tropical climate, being south of the Equator. While the months of April, May, September and October are the peak tourist times here, Cook Island has a favourable climate throughout the year.

Attractions in Aitutaki Islands

The Aitutaki Lagoon brings tourist from all across the world. With crystal clear water against volcanic mountains helps you enjoy perhaps the most serene of lagoon cruises in the world. Water sports like scuba diving amidst unexplored coral reefs, paragliding and kayaking as well as the fishing adventure tours in the surroundings of the Lagoon leave you with some great moments.

Sunrise and sunset are of course views that you can afford to miss when you are here.

The Aruntanga is the capital town of the Aitatuki Islands and is a must for your itinerary here. It is the main wharf in the Aitutaki Island. It has a small airport and it is also popular among tourists as a shopping destination of the island. Here you can go for a number of water activities like fishing and other water sports.  The harbour to its west has boats Cooks Island Christian Churchthat take you for a fishing trail. The Cooks Island Christian or the CIC Church, dating back to 1828 is the oldest church of Cook Island built of Coral and limestone and it is located in Aruntanga.

There are plenty of areas around that you can go for an excursion too such as Akaiami, Manue, Maina, Rapota, Moturakau and other minor islands. Akaiami is 5 kilometers away to the east coast of the island of Aitutaki on the Coral Route which promises a quiet vacation. Another tranquil place is Manue which was first discovered by Captain Cook in 1773. The islet surrounding it is a major marine conservation area and is definitely a tourist’s delight.

Maina, another of the 22 islands at Aitutaki’s periphery is to its extreme southwest. Rapota, 6 kilometers south of the Aitutaki Islands is in the good books of the tourists. Moturakau that lies to the south east of Rapota too is worth a visit.

palm fringed beachThe palm fringed beaches which are yet to be affected by negative effects of tourism, are a breather for tourists. The One Foot Island, a small islet to the south east of the lagoon is a major attraction of Aitutaki Island.

There’s a history behind this name, The One Foot. An ancient chief had prohibited fishing here. Yet a man and his son were seen fishing here. They ran when they realized they had been seen while fishing. The son stepped in his father’s footsteps and then hid on a coconut tree. The father was caught and managed to convince the chief that he was the only one fishing. However, he was killed. Ever since then, the island has been called the One Foot Island or the Tapuaetai in the local dialect, where tapuae means footprint and tai means one.

Other activities

Recreation and sports like Rugby are part of this island in the South Pacific Ocean.  Fishing is not only a tourist activity here. Because of the Island’s location and position as a lagoon, it is a major occupation for its economy. Rare variety of fishes such as paara, cod, marlin, tuna and trevalli are found here. If you are interested, there are in fact chartered fishing trips and excursions organized for tourists, even for those of you who are immature in this art.

The reefs surround the Aitutaki which makes it apt for scuba diving. As the island is located in South Pacific, where there is a multitude of marine life like Manta Rays, Sharks and Baracudas, you will come across while diving, this activity will leave you feeling heavenly.  What make it all the more exciting are the wrecks beneath that you can explore while you are diving. North coast of the Aitutaki Island are the best sites for scuba diving.

The Aitatuki Island is a tourist friendly island and with all its facilities and conveniences for tourists, it attracts many of them all throughout the year. Among the 15 island in the Cook Islands, it has definitely managed to stand apart with a unique charm of its own. The Aitatuki Island has most certainly has left an impression of itself on the island and is one of the most popular in a southern hemisphere.

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