A Self-Guided Day Trip Around Mitiaro: One Day Itinerary© Daniel Fisher - Cook Islands Tourism
A Self-Guided Day Trip Around Mitiaro: One Day Itinerary

A Self-Guided Day Trip Around Mitiaro: One Day Itinerary

© Daniel Fisher – Cook Islands Tourism

A Self-Drive Day Tour of Mitiaro

Have a day to spend on Mitiaro and don’t know what to do with it? This one-day itinerary of Mitiaro will ensure you make the most of it! Rent a car or scooter and hit the quiet coastal and inland roads of the coral atoll as you explore secluded beaches, majestic cave pools, huge lakes, tranquil plantations and more. You don’t need to hire a guide, as this self-guided day trip around Mitiaro lays out the top sights and attractions on an easy-to-follow route complete with maps.

How to Get Around Mitiaro Using This Self-Guided Itinerary

This self-guided one-day itinerary of Mitiaro has you exploring the island independently. To get around, you will either need to rent a car or scooter from your accommodation provider – see The 4 Best Mitiaro Accommodations. For more transport options, check out our Mitiaro Transport Guide: 6 Ways to Get to (& Around) Mitiaro.

Note that our itinerary starts in Mangarei, as this is where most of Mitiaro’s accommodations are located.

A Self-Guided Day Trip Around Mitiaro - One Day Itinerary© Google Maps

Mangarei to Te Unu Beach

Distance: 4.4km (2.7 miles), Drive time: 8 minutes

Start your journey in Mangarei village where you’ll take the southern inland road for only 200m (656ft) before reaching your first wonderful natural attraction on Mitiaro. Vai Marere is the Cook Islands’ only sulphur pool, which is accessible via a short path with a concrete platform leading into the mineral waters. Have a swim then make your way back on the inland road.

Cross the island and take in the sights of the plantation landscape and the historical sites of the island’s original village locations. Takero Marae (ancient meeting grounds) is one of the easier marae to find on the island. Approximately 2.5km (1.6 miles) down the cross-island road from Mangarei and beneath an ancient chestnut tree are some large stones, one of which was the seat of the “ariki” (chief) while others are graves. Find out more about the site in the 15 Best Things to Do on Mitiaro.

At the end of the inland road where it meets the coast, you’ll find access to Te Unu Beach, the start of a series of glorious beaches speckling the east coast.

A Self-Guided Day Trip Around Mitiaro - One Day Itinerary© Google Maps

Te Unu Beach to Vai Nauri (via Te Rotonui)

Distance: 4.6km (2.9 miles), Drive time: 12 minutes

As you make your way up the east coast, you’ll be steadily venturing uphill alongside a grassy landscape sloping to the makatea cliffs that divide the sandy coves. After Te Unu Beach, you’ll reach one of Mitiaro’s best swimming beaches at high tide, Nanamaru. Just a few hundred metres further north is the sign and white commemorative stone marking the beginning of the trail to Vai Tamaroa. Follow the walking trail over grassy makatea for approximately 20 minutes until you reach a cave pool with an open top and plenty of space to jump in from several metres high! Learn more about the cave in 5 Best Caves on Mitiaro.

Back on the main road, head north until you reach the turn-off toward Te Rotonui lakes. Opposite the turnoff is Parava Beach which is worth checking out before you drive toward the lake.

The drive inland to Te Rotonui is less than a kilometre, taking you to the shores of the island’s largest lake. Soak in the views across the lake with its trees dangling over the water and find where locals have set up nets to catch the endemic eel “itiki” and milkfish “ava”.

Head back out onto the main road and continue north for only a few hundred metres until you find another inland turnoff leading to Vai Nauri, the largest and most popular cave pool on Mitiaro. There is a set of concrete steps leading into the cave with crystal clear water and stalactites.

A Self-Guided Day Trip Around Mitiaro - One Day Itinerary© Google Maps

Vai Nauri to Mangarei

Distance: 7.9km (4.9 miles), Drive time: 15 minutes

After you’re done cooling off at Vai Nauri, get back on the coastal road and continue your road trip north to approximately 1.5km (0.9 miles) to Omapere Beach, another large but likely secluded beach for you to enjoy all to yourself.

As you corner the northern coast, you’ll reach a couple of more beach access points at the eastern end of the runway. Okore and Okarava beaches have short trails leading to them. Take the road on the northern side of the runway to access more beaches before the coastal road comes back down the west side of the island and returns to Mangarei.

More About Planning a Self-Guided Day Trip Around Mitiaro

That’s it for our self-guided day trip around Mitiaro. If the sights visited on this one-day itinerary of Mitiaro weren’t enough, these other articles should give you more ideas!

Finally, don’t miss a thing on the atoll with The Complete Travel Guide to Mitiaro.


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Cook Islands Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as the Cook Islands. She knows the islands inside out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Raro’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also the editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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