Wednesday, February 4
Members of the Cook Islands search and rescue organisation have just placed new markers along Rarotonga’s cross-island track. The track leads from the Avatiu valley, up to the Needle, about 350 metres above sea level, then down through the Papua valley to Wigmore’s Waterfall.
Heading up from the Avatiu side the track is reasonably clear but from the base of the needle there are two ways down, one goes along a ridge and the other through the valley. The route crosses the Papua stream in several places and there are also other tracks leading off the main path. It’s often difficult to see where you are supposed to be going.
In fact two female tourists lost their way in early January and spent a night in the bush.
Even in dry weather the steep slopes can be slippery and the head of Rescue Cook Islands, Charles Carlson, says the cross-island track isn’t a walk in the park! Especially after rain, the ground and stream crossings can be treacherous. On one rescue mission a tourist with a broken leg had to be carried out.
Carlson says that if it’s raining you shouldn’t go.
As the video (filmed several years ago) shows, there are some fantastic views on the track over both sides of the island but in wet weather it wouldn’t look nearly so impressive.
The two tracks leading down from the Needle to Wigmore’s Waterfall are now marked with green steel plates nailed to the trees.