Aitutaki Island
Useful Links

Local Time

Wednesday, 17th August  2022 11:13:pm

Islands in the LagoonIslands in the LagoonAitutaki island is a combination of high island and coral atoll formed from a volcanic eruption on the sea bed, 5 kilometres below the surface of the South Pacific ocean. It is a similar type toBora Bora in French Polynesia.

It has a maximum elevation of approximately 123 metres with the hill known as Maunga Pu close to its northernmost point. The land area of the atoll is 18.05 km2 (6.97 sq mi), of which the main island occupies 16.8 km2 (6.5 sq mi)

After Aitutaki rose above the ocean surface, coral formed on the shores of this "high island" (Like Rarotonga is today). Weathering eroded much of the basalt rock but the reef kept building vertically from it's original position, leaving the Aitutaki lagoon between the reef and the remaining basaltic parts of the main island of Aitutaki.

The barrier reef that forms the basis of Aitutaki is roughly the shape of an equilateral triangle with sides 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) in length. The southern edge of the triangle is almost totally below the surface of the ocean, and the eastern side is composed of a string of small islands including Mangere, Akaiami, and Tekopua.

Aitutaki LagoonAitutaki LagoonThe western side of the atoll contains many of Aitutaki's important features including a boat passage through the barrier reef allowing for anchorage close to shore at Arutanga. Towards the south of the side is a small break in the barrier reef, allowing access for small boats to the lagoon which covers most of the southern part of the triangle. Further to the north is the bulk of the main island. Its fertile volcanic soil provide tropical fruits and vegetables. Two of Aitutaki's 15 islets (motus) are also volcanic. The rest are made of coral.

Aitutaki Airport is located close to the triangle's northern point. There is an area suitable to land flying boats in the southeastern part of the lagoon.

The islets of Motu Rapota and Motu Rakau which lie inside the Aitutaki lagoon are blow holes from the main volcano – Maungapu - and lava tunnels run from this mountain underneath the lagoon to those small islands.

Aitutaki IslandAitutaki Island

Offering an alluring escape, Aitutaki provides visitors with a superb secluded and tranquil atmosphere to relax in. Just 18.3 sq km in size, this ‘almost atoll’ is a fantastic vacation destination with its gorgeous blue lagoon and magnificent sunsets. The second most populated of the Cook Islands, Aitutaki is considered to be one of the most beautiful places in the Pacific Ocean.

Located 265km north of Rarotonga in the Southern Pacific, this beautiful island sits in a triangular shaped lagoon, with the lagoon’s outer reef dotted with a dozen or so picturesque motu or small islands. Made up of one major isle and 20 or so islets, Aitutaki for many is the idyllic beach paradise. The snorkelling and diving in the lagoon is simply breathtaking, with the ‘island nights’ performances here rated as the best in the Cooks.

Historically, Aitutaki has had an impressive past, with the island first being discovered by Captain William Bligh and the ill-fated HMS Bounty in April 1789. The first island to accept Christianity, Aitutaki was also a key base for John Williams and the London Missionary Society.  What is also impressive about Aitutaki’s past are the many marae or ancient religious meeting grounds found on the island. Historians believe that the Polynesians discovered Aitutaki around 900 AD, with the first settler here being Ru and his family, who named the island Utataki Enua O Ru Ki Te Moana. Another famous visitor to this island was Charles Darwin traveling aboard the HMS Beagle in 1835.

What is so wonderful about Aitutaki is that life here moves at its own pace. Laidback and unhurried, the island is the perfect escape for many who want nothing more than to enjoy the natural beauty found all over the place. Simply go out for a paddle in a sea kayak and explore the lagoon, or take a dive and see the wealth of coral and fish found below. The fishing is also quite good out here, while exploring the many nearby motu is a superb way to spend an afternoon. One Foot Island or Tapuaeta’i is a fabulous motu to visit with its spectacular white sand beach and clear turquoise waters.

Another great attraction to visit is the Secret Garden of Bill Tschan where one can find over 200 varieties of rare, tropical Fruit- and Flowering trees, Vines and bushes. A forest of ultra tropical Fruit-trees and rarely seen Flowers from all over the world.

oceania map 2

Aitutaki Lagoon