The Best Things to Do on Atiu for Foodies
Spoiler alert: most of the things to do on Atiu are ideal for foodies, well, at least all of the cultural tours anyway! With two coffee roasters and plantations on the island, as well as traditions surrounding food and potent beverages, Atiu certainly provides a gastronomical journey. Discover the best food tours and activities, right here, in the best foodie experiences on Atiu.
Need more help planning your trip to this isolated island? Check out The Complete Travel Guide to Atiu, as well as all of your dining options in The Food Guide to Atiu: Places to Eat & Food Tours.
1. Take a Coffee Tour with Mata Arai
Who would have thought that this tiny South Pacific island was the best place to go in the Cook Islands for a cuppa?! Join Mata Arai from Atiu Island Coffee who resumed her family’s arabica coffee plantation in the 1990s and has been going strong since. Her delightful coffee tour allows you to learn about the coffee bean growing process, what makes Atiu perfect for growing arabica beans and how to hand roast the beans on a tour of the Atiu Island Coffee plantation and roastery, and the secret ingredient that makes Atiu’s coffee unique! The tour concludes with a taste of the good stuff along with yummy pikelets and coconut cream! Note that a minimum of two people are needed for the tour to go ahead.
Location: Mapumai, north of the Air Rarotonga office and Centre Store and south of Akai Bakery.
2. Join a Tumunu Bush Beer Session
A true cultural experience that unofficially welcomes you into the Atiu club, tumunu are shabby beer huts located on the outskirts of Atiu’s villages, usually on the edge of a forest or plantation. You’ll be sat on a tree stump and passed around home-brewed orange or banana beer (or “bush beer”), and some sessions are even accompanied by music played by a local string band. Be warned, the tumunu bush beer is strong stuff!
Location: All over Atiu! Ask your accommodation or tour guides about the nearby tumunu. Some popular ones are Tepooni Tumunu, Aretou Tumunu and Vanilla Tumunu – find out more in The Food Guide to Atiu: Places to Eat & Food Tours. Tumunu tours are also available with Atiu Safari & Fishing Tours.
3. Fish for Dinner
Nothing beats the rewarding experience of gathering your own dinner. On Atiu, that usually means fishing on the reef! Ask at your accommodation for reef fishing tours with Andrew Matapakia. He’ll take you out during the day to catch a variety of reef fish. Even octopus or crayfish could be on the cards. Alternatively, night fishing allows the exciting opportunity to catch flying fish!
For deep sea fishing, Timau from Atiu Safari & Fishing Tours offers fishing charters either around Atiu or around Takutea, a small island 23km (14 miles) northwest of Atiu. Fishing trips also include a tropical lunch.
Location: Ask your accommodation or the Atiu Visitor Centre (Main road, Teenui) to arrange an experience with Andrew or Timau.
4. Join a Local Hunting Tour
When you’re not fishing for your dinner on Atiu, you’re hunting on land, which Joshua from Punarea Culture Tours is eager to show you. The three-hour traditional hunting tour takes you deep into the rainforest of Atiu (wear decent tramping shoes) where you’ll learn how to set traditional traps to catch wild pigs. With (or without) your success, the experience will conclude with an “umu” feast – a Polynesian style of cooking where food is slow-cooked in an underground oven. But hey, if you’ve made it to Atiu, you probably already knew that. The hunting experience is available all year round and is best suited to adults.
Location: Transfers are included.
5. See a Tuki Poi Demonstration and Indulge in an Umu Feast
The team from Punarea Culture Tours are back again, this time with a cultural experience suitable for all ages. Their signature “Culture Tour” not only offers fascinating historical context and crafting demonstrations, but a significant portion of the tour is dedicated to traditional Atiuan cuisine. This isn’t the “coconut demonstration” that you’ve probably seen a thousand times across the Pacific; you’ll see how “Tuki Poi” is prepared, as well as help your host plate up the umu which has been slowly cooking local meat and vegetables while you have been enjoying your tour.
Location: Transfers are included.
6. Dine at Atiu’s Only Restaurant
Aside from the fish and chips takeaway at Super Brown, which, don’t get us wrong, is still a viable hunger-buster, the only real evening dine-in experience on Atiu is Kura’s Kitchen. Located on the grounds of Atiu Villas, the restaurant is open to visitors across the island, just make sure to book before 3pm. A set two-course menu or buffet is served at 7pm under the thatched restaurant and bar area adorned in flags, while the occasional “island night” is sometimes arranged. Learn more about the Cook Islands’ cultural shows in the 7 Best Island Nights in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
Location: Atiu Villas, on the road between the villages and Matai Landing. Atiu Villas can usually arrange transfers to their restaurant.
More Foodie Experiences on Atiu
That’s it for the best foodie experiences on Atiu, but if you want more, note that some eco-tours on the island also include food, while there are some stellar spots to take a picnic. Find out more in the following guides:
Finally, if there’s any part of the Cook Islands excursion that you haven’t planned, you’re likely to find all the advice you need in The Best Cook Islands Travel Guide and 30 Tips for Travelling in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.