Manihiki Island, Cook Islands

Manihiki is an island in the Cook Islands known as the Island of Pearls. It is a triangular atoll 1160 km north of Rarotonga, and is said to be one of the group’s loveliest islands. There are two villages. The main village, seat of Manihiki Island Council, is Tauhunu, on Tauhunu Islet on the western rim of the atoll. The second village, Tukou, is at the northern tip of Ngake Islet, which is also the northern tip of the atoll.

Manihiki sits atop an underwater mountain rising 4000 m above the ocean floor. Its stunning 4 km-wide lagoon is laced with 40 tiny motu (islets), which are strung along the reef. The reef provides excellent swimming and snorkelling, with colourful tropical fish to view. There is good fishing in the open waters beyond the reef, including catches of Yellow-fin Tuna (bonito).

The island is renowned for its black pearls and there are pearl farms dotted around the lagoon. The largest farm maintains some 250,000 oysters for pearl production. Tours can be arranged to the farms. Tauhunu, on the western coast, is known for its pearl carvers and the Fare Ariki – one of the old houses still standing after Cyclone Martin, which struck the island in November 1997.

Things to See & Do

* Pearl farm tour
* Tauhunu
* Diving & snorkeling
* Fishing
* Beaches

General information

Cruise Season – Jan - Dec
Currency - New Zealand dollar
(Cook Islands dollar also used) (NZD)
Language – English, Rakahanga-Manihiki
Land Area – 5.4 km²
Population – 355 approx
Electricity – 2 round pins European style, two parallel flat pins Japanese style
Time - GMT minus 10
International Country Telephone Code – + 682

Port Location - There is a landing area for passengers at Tauhunu, but port facilities are lacking.

Transport Links – Air New Zealand and Pacific Blue are the two international carriers that fly into the main island Rarotonga. Air New Zealand regularly flies in from Auckland, New Zealand and LA, USA (via Tahiti or Honolulu). Pacific Blue flies from Sydney via Auckland, New Zealand.

Flying time to the island is about four hours, and there is a weekly flight every Thursday from Rarotonga.

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