Down The Rabbit Hole – Exploring Rarotonga

We spotted Rarotonga on the horizon long before we reached her harbor.  The island juts up out of the Pacific Ocean like a breaching whale, determined to be seen.

We made plans to scale those mountains long before we made landfall.  But, so goes the life of a sailor…the trick isn’t making our way to the top, it’s finding our way to the base.

Luckily for us, the Cook Islanders are putting up a fierce competition to win our “hospitality of the year” award.  We’ve never actually given out awards before but we’re starting to think we should.

If our last video didn’t have you adding Cook Islands to your ports of call, perhaps today’s adventure will do the trick.

A free car and new friends…if that isn’t hitting the jackpot, I don’t know what is!  Marcelle and Dion adopted us as family and hands down made our time in Rarotonga unforgettable.  If you find yourself in Rarotonga and see them on the street, make sure to run up waving your hands like maniacs and tell them The Wynn’s say hello.

family and friends at the harbor in rarotonga

These are our Pirate faces…you ready to give up the booty?

If you aren’t bringing your house with you and need a place to stay, check out their villa, Casa Del Sol.  We didn’t stay with them but the rooms are beautiful and we’ll totally vouch for the hosts. 😉 (they didn’t ask us to plug them, we just think they are “salt of the earth” kind of people)


Hiking In Rarotonga

I know a lot of people that don’t enjoy hiking because they think it’s just walking, and sometimes it is.  But the hikes in Rarotonga are…wait for it…legit!  (I didn’t know if we had said that word enough in the video, so I thought I would repeat it one more time.)  Ropes, rock climbing and views worth the trek!  Oh, and don’t forget the added bonus of QR codes.

nikki wynn hiking in rarotonga cook islands

nikki wynn hiking in rarotonga cook islands


view from the top of Raemaru in Rarotonga Cook Islands

While we’re at it, also don’t forget:

  • Bug spray (lemongrass, rosemary, lemon and eucalyptus essential oils in a blend of jojoba and coconut oil is my personal fave).
  • Water friendly hiking shoes (I love my Astral’s and Jason was wearing his trusty Techamphibian)
  • A really good 360 camera if you want to recreate our Rabbit Hole photo. Here is ours:



🎶AWESOME tunes:



To see our full map with interactive pins, click here:

  • Anchorage: Avarua Harbour, Rarotonga, Cook Islands
  • Date:  June 2019



Ups, downs and all arounds, we share them all.  We’re able to do so because people like you show up each week, read, watch, comment, share, shop our gear store and put tips in our production jar.  If you like what you see, there are lots of FREE ways you can show your support.  Thank you for being a part of the journey!

Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (31)

  • Deborah Kerr

    Beautiful views from the top!! And I breathed in deep thinking I could smell those pines on your way down from the hike!! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Judy Goodson

    That hike would not be for me! Two years ago I slipped getting into an Indian canoe down in Panama and broke both bones in my ankle. Our lovely trip came to an end with us having to fly back to the US, cutting our vacation 5 days short, to have surgery. After that I spent 2 months in a wheelchair. Now I avoid slippery rocks!

  • KC

    I love watching your videos of natural locations including all of the unique overhead shots you can get with a drone. After a recent hiking trip with my husband I had a question. While we were exploring in some beautiful mountain areas, the sounds of a drone flying overhead really took us out of the moment of listening to the birds and the wind, and there’s no way to block out the incessant buzzing. How do you take your footage without disturbing the quiet of nature that people travel so far to enjoy?

  • Jo

    Great to see your trek up Raemaru, which I did with a couple of friends a few months ago. It was a hard slog up hill, and we didn’t attempt the rock climbing. I slipped off the track on the way down and dislocated + fractured a finger requiring surgery back in NZ… I think it was worth it!

  • Ashley

    Hi! I absolutely loved your video, my family will be on the island in just a couple weeks! Were the mosquitos awful? We’re trying to decide how much but spray to bring for the 4 of us!😬

    Thank you for getting me even more excited for our trip!!

  • Phil .T

    How brave you’ve become! high adventure scramble up the mountain. May I ask some questions about your trip?
    I know how hard you worked to get that year long visa for French Polynesia. Was it just time to go then? Seems like
    the weather there didn’t really meet the level of ‘paradise’ ? on most days. So now what direction? Tonga/Fiji Australia ? or wait for a New Zealand window? How is the boat holding up, lots of systems to keep maintained? I sincerely wish you fair winds on these next legs as you know they can be a challenge. Do you carry a drogue ?
    I always look at the ‘windy’ weather map and try to guess what your planning? Stay Safe and Happy.

    • Curious Minion

      I’ll try to answer a few of your questions, but Nikki & Jason will see your comment & may still reply.
      FP visa – they stayed the full year, & talk about needing to be out by midnight in this video: So down to the wire even!
      Not sure what you mean about the weather. I does rain a lot in the summer & is very hot, but it’s the tropics and that’s just the way it is. Perfect winters make up for summer though!
      The Wynns did sail to the Cooks after FP and those videos are coming out now (remember that videos always lag behind “real time”). Right this minute, Curiosity is all buttoned up & on the hard in Tonga while the Wynns take a much-needed vacation back to the U.S.A. for long visits with friends & family (Don’t forget that you can follow them on Facebook or Instagram for real-time updates & news.).
      As for boat systems, the AC and the fridge are dead. Really dead. They tried having both repaired but they’re beyond hope. Nikki & Jason are researching & deciding whether replacements are in order or not. As for other boat systems, things are always going on the fritz and needing TLC. Salt water & air are incredibly destructive and things on boats are always breaking. When Nikki & Jason head back to Tonga they’ll have duffel bags stuffed with spare parts and boat repair bits. While she is hauled out Curiosity will get plenty of TLC and a fresh coat of bottom paint too. It never ends on boat.
      Hope this answers some of your questions.
      Curious Minion

    • Phil Thum

      Discovered your frustrating map feature, it has a anti- New Zealand feature . Along with
      that stupid icon supposedly showing your location. Which doesn’t really tell you anything other than to watch another video which has nothing to do with your location. You would think being travelers, that showing your location would be important, your plans,
      the distance to the next location? (New Zealand) what your dealing with so far as being sailors go, the preparation for the next voyage? Weather planning? gear repair updates.
      I guess that doesn’t sell youtube videos? to boring. Don’t worry I assume this will never be read, anyway

      • Curious Minion

        Surprise! Read your comment.

        The map page on the blog is meant to show where their adventures have been and to provide an easy to see if there’s a video adventure about a certain place you’re interested in learning about. There is a map feature after the intro on each video that shows their location.

        There’s only so much info you can put into each video to keep them a watchable link. Nikki & Jason have often said that this is a “lifestyle” channel – it’s content about their lives. It’s not a “learn how to sail” channel or a “boat repair” channel (although sometimes that kind of content is included because it’s what’s going on in their lives at the moment). Sorry it’s not meeting your expectations but it looks like you might be looking for a different kind of channel than this anyway?
        Curious Minion

  • Joseph Fitzpatrick

    The people of Rarotonga, are amazing, my four times spent in paradise was like being in the Garden of Eden, you never want to leave the Cook Islands.

  • Alan Solomon

    When you experienced that wind at the top of the mountain, I watched you experience it and I could sense the warm, full pace of the breeze. I have felt that breeze before and I was reminded of that time, here.


  • jim

    Beautiful! Glad you are consistently wearing something to hike in other than Thongs. (no, I am not a podiatrist.) Hah!
    How big are the mosquitos??

  • Roger B

    I froze the screen on the first bar code that you took a picture of and snapped the image of the bar code using my cell phone so I was able to read “The rest of the story” as you began your hike up the mountain. Beautiful scenery.

  • Brenda Jones

    Great hike on slippery wet rocks. I would like to know more about your hiking shoes. When I click the link many Astrals show up. Do your shoes have good grip in those conditions?


    Tried hanging a 360 camera from our DJI drone.

    Carried it just fine. Only trick was hanging it so it war right-side up.

  • Keith Carlton

    Those Pirate Faces are too scary for me… I would NOT been able to get away from those marauders fast enough. 😉

    • Keith Carlton

      Oh, by-the-way, I am only able to watch this, or any of your videos, on the Monday after the release of your great films. 😥

  • Jeanette Brennan

    Fantastic video! Wow, what amazing scenery and thanks for all the history tips. Glad you made some friends too – that always adds to the fun. Looking forward to next week’s video! 💗

  • Todd Tsukushi

    Sweet vid, Nicki & Jason. I could feel and hear the awe in your experience of such a beautiful and diverse hike. Nice story line with the QR code series. If they have so few visitors, who maintains the rope/climb aids? Is it a state/national park? Blew out my Achilles Tendon so not hiking, or even driving, much for the next (too long) period of time. Thankfully I have your vids to help with my cabin fever!

  • Barb Marik

    Hi, can you tell me what camera backpack Jason was using when you both scaled up the mountain?


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