We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Etu Moana stay - getting to the motus

Salzburg, Austria
Level Contributor
166 posts
60 reviews
Save Topic
Etu Moana stay - getting to the motus

Hi guys,

we are off to the Cook Islands for our honeymoon at the end of May, as part of which we will be spending a few nights at Etu Moana. We have already decided we want to do a lagoon cruise and this forum and the reviews have helped us chose an operator.

What I am wondering now though is how we can make most of the little motus, given that EM is on the 'other' side of the island. I know they hire kayaks out for free, but that wont be of. much help to us probably. We like the idea of spending a few hours or an afternoon on one of them, maybe watch the sunset, or have a picnick... something romantic :)

I am aware that you can get water taxis to drop you off but we'd rather to it ourselves if we can.

Is there any other option?

This might sound like a stupid question, but can one walk across the island from the west to east coast?

Scooter?

I hope someone can help :)

Rarotonga, Cook...
Destination Expert
for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland Central
Level Contributor
15,560 posts
113 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Etu Moana stay - getting to the motus

Kia Orana Kornspitz, welcome to our forum.

You have chosen a beautiful place and island for your forthcoming honeymoon!

To gain access to any of the motu, it will be best to organise a water-taxi service to take you out to your chosen islet. If you decide upon heading for a motu in the morning to spend the day somewhere, it's likely that one of the scheduled tours could drop you off and arrange a pickup at a certain time.

A motu daytrip will be weather dependent, so before you commit to a time and date, it would be better to arrive Aituaki, seek advice from the staff at Etu Moana and then firm up an arrangement. Honeymoon island or Maina might be good destinations to consider.

I'm not sure that you could go it alone, so to speak, without some outside assistance to reach a motu. I dont know of anyone off the top of my head who provides a bare-boat charter. I recommend if kayaking then one of the motu close to the Aitutaki lagoon Resort is achievable. Puapii may know of other ways to reach a motu further afield in the absence of a water taxi. Are you staying all of the time at EM? There is a basic beach lodge for rent on One Foot island. Transfers are arrnged via the cruise vessels.

Etu Moana enjoys fabulous sunsets, since it's located on the west side of Aitutaki. if you want a picnic packed and a serene spot to enjoy peace and tranquility, Im sure the EM can offer guidance for where best to enjoy a romantic setting. The tip of Ootu around the Sailing Club is a magical spot also for sunset viewing.

Trails:-

1. You can walk from EM in the west, across the low hills to the east of Aitutaki. Several ways, the longest route would be to head for Paradise Cove (north), and follow the trail towards the water storage tanks on Maunga Pu, walk down this formed track due south and then vear towards the east along a formed road.

2. Otherwise, the easiest route is towards the airport, take the right fork for the Crusher bar, walk towards Vaipeka and reach the estuary.

3. There are various trails heading inland if you walk into Amuri.

Let EM know what your tramping plans are beforehand if heading up to Maunga Pu crater.. Obtain a good map of Aituaki to gain your bearings. There are several on the internet. i obtained a Lands and Survey map some years ago now, but I see them stocked in Bounty Bookshop in Avarua, Rarotonga for $10.00.

Hope this helps in some small way.

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
26 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Etu Moana stay - getting to the motus

We stayed at Etu Moana recently, and they store a couple of kayaks at the Sailing Club, by Samade's at the south end of the airport. All you need to do is make arrangements with Reception at Etu, and you can scooter over to the sailing club in about 10 minutes (I wouldn't be surprised if they would drive you over there if you have no vehicle). From there, it's a relatively short paddle to the three motu just south of the Lagoon Resort. We got to the far end of Ee in about 45 minutes, and we are NOT athletic at all. There was no-one else at all around while we were on any of the three islands, we literally had them all to ourselves. If you get to see Cecilia's coconut demonstration at Etu Moana, you'll be able to eat and drink lots on the motu! Koru Cafe also does great take-away food for this type of trip, and they even loaned us a nice big cooler bag to keep our sandwiches cold. Again, Reception can arrange all that.

If you go, make sure you let someone at the resort know your plans, and take plenty of water, sunscreen and hats, as it gets hot out on the water. It was windy the whole day when we went, be prepared for that, too. We were lucky and had the wind against us on the way out, so we had a very easy ride home with help from the breeze.

Aitutaki, Cook...
Destination Expert
for Aitutaki
Level Contributor
1,907 posts
40 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Etu Moana stay - getting to the motus

I can't add too much to what the previous posters said. Fawlty25 was right on about Etu Moana's kayaks and especially the picnic lunches that the Koru Cafe can pack for you.

There are places to stay on both One Foot Island and Akaiami if you want to spend a night or two on one of the motus. For Akaimai you could check out the web site www.ginasaitutaki.com/ginas-beach-lodge.html.

Also on Akaimai is http://www.ck/akaiami/index2.htm

One one Foot Island there is McBirney House islandhoppervacations.com/ViewServices/…

The last paragraph in Fawlty's posting is especially important when kayaking on the lagoon. In addition to the items mentioned to bring along don't forget bug repellent. The lagoon is very large and distances can be deceiving when out on the water. Kayaking to One Foot or even Akaiami would not be a relaxing paddle and would take hours for a round trip. The closer motus that Fawlty mentions are very doable.

As for scooters, Etu Moana has them available for rent. They also have free bicycles.

It will be a honeymoon to remember.

Rarotonga, Cook...
Destination Expert
for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland Central
Level Contributor
15,560 posts
113 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Etu Moana stay - getting to the motus

Another thought Kornspitz....

A divine spot to watch the sunset is at the end of Ootu peninsula (mentioned earlier), where the Samade and the sailing club are located. Some of the lagoon cruises depart from this point also

Depending on the tides especially, it is also possible to wade/swim across the Ootu channel over to the sandbanks alongside the western end of Akitua motu. Akitua is where the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa is situated. Casual diners are able to go across the channel on the resort's boat for a meal/dinner and show at the resort.

I'm not suggesting that you wade across the channel at dusk or in the dark to remain on the sandbanks for the glorious sunset display. Yet, this particular area is lovely to spend a length of time around, or over the course of a day even and be there in time for the sunset display - it may be possible that you are fortunate to witness the 'green flash' that appears on occassion to the naked eye immediately the sun slips over the horizon :-

Some ideas include -

- collecting your preordered picnic hamper from Koru Cafe

- OR arrange an organic platter from Tauono's Garden located right next to Etu Moana.

- enjoy the best shot of coffee on Aitutaki (at Koru Cafe), catch up with emails there

- wade/swim across to the sandbanks (low tide)

- swim/wade/kayak around Akitua motu to motu beyond Akitua

- kayak from Ootu peninsula

- stroll along the channel and roadside to reach the ocean side of the peninsula where Popoara Villas are situated

- relax/picnic at the end of Ootu (sailing club end),

- sip refreshments at Samade, OR at Popoara's Boat Shed bar

- take the resort boat to Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa to enjoy a casual meal. The Flying Boat Grill at the resort enjoys panoramic views of the lagoon and distant motu.

Endlless possibilities in paradise. It's a very special island.

Edited: 16 January 2012, 20:32
Salzburg, Austria
Level Contributor
166 posts
60 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Etu Moana stay - getting to the motus

Hi everyone and thank you for all your ideas, hints and tips! I really can't wait! But have to get married first before we can go on our honeymoon LOL

I didn't realise that Etu Moana stores a couple of kayaks at Samade's, that makes life a lot easier! I thought we live on the 'wrong' side of the island to get to the motus :)

I have jotted all this down in my little notebook and have already heard many good things about Koru Cafe!

Thanks again, you guys are great!

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
26 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Etu Moana stay - getting to the motus

Just one last thought from me, Etu Moana would most definitely give you a ride over to the Sailing Club to use the kayaks, as they keep the paddles at the resort and have to drive them over before you can use the kayays!

We've posted a couple of photos of the little motu you can kayak to at http://www.flickr.com/photos/fawlty25/. It is really amazing to be on the islands by yourself, and this excursion was one of the highlights of our trip. Have a great time!

Salzburg, Austria
Level Contributor
166 posts
60 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Etu Moana stay - getting to the motus

Oh my god faulty, these photos are breathtaking. I want to go now!!! :)

I especially liked the photo of villa 4 at EM, as this is the one we will be staying in, too! :)

So did you kayak from Samade to Ee? That sounds pretty doable and such a cool thing to do!

Thanks for the hint about the ride over, that is good to know! Although we are planning on hiring a scooter for a day, I'd rather not pay for a scooter when we're just out on the motus anyway. So that's good to know that they have to drive over anyway!

Thank you so much!

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
26 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Etu Moana stay - getting to the motus

Glad you liked the photos - we had fun taking them:). We did kayak from the Sailing Club beside Samades - you can stay in very shallow water (waist deep or less) for the entire trip except for where you cross the channel along the south side of Akitua (the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort). We actually had to get out and drag the kayaks through very shallow water in a couple of places.

We had only planned to rent scooter for a couple of days, but had so much fun motoring around the island we kept it for our entire stay. At $30NZ per day for a 125cc, it was cheap. If you'd like any more info about kayaking over to the motu, just send a PM.

Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
17 posts
1 review
Save Reply
9. Re: Etu Moana stay - getting to the motus

Hi Kornspitz,

Wet and wild offers motu drop off service. We did 2 with them last November: one to Maina and Honeymoon islands (1/2 day) and another one to One foot Islands (1 full day). It was incredible!! We paid 50 NZD $ per person.

Regards

Cannock, United...
Level Contributor
46 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Etu Moana stay - getting to the motus

I would definitely recommend a kayak trip along the north western motu, from samade or the lagoon resort. As a previous poster mentioned, its not a difficult paddle to reach Ee motu, which has a stunningly beautiful beach. These motu are not visited by lagoon cruises either, so the chances are you will have the motu to yourself. I would advise you take plenty of water and sunscreen.

Get answers to your questions about Aitutaki