Set amongst the lush tropical landscape of Rarotonga, The Cross-Island Track is a rewarding and challenging hike in the Cook Islands. Winding through rainforests and stunning natural scenery, the 3-4-hour hike from the north to south coast is simply breathtaking.
On your journey you can expect to see local wildlife such as chickens, goats, cows and birds. Prepare to be wowed by tangled tree roots, meandering steams, cascading waterfalls, spectacular rock formations and the iconic Te Rua Manga (The Needle). The Needle is a 413m high volcanic plug sitting in the very centre of the island. It is the highest rock formation on the trek and offers unbeatable views of Rarotonga. Although the descent to the top of The Needle is recommended for experienced climbers (at their own risk), the rest of the Cross-Island Track is suitable for hikers above the age of four with average fitness levels.
The hike begins at the edge of a thick dense forest where you will find steep inclines and stairs formed out of tree roots. Passing through cascading streams, follow the orange track markers to the plateau where you will get your first glimpse of The Needle. From here, continue along the path to find a series of ropes and chains to assist with the steep ascent to the base of The Needle, where you will find magnificent 360-degree views of Rarotonga. After this, hikers can choose to make their way back or hike the path to the south coast. This path is known to be slippery so take care when descending. You will complete the Cross-Island Track at the iconic Wigmore's Waterfall where you can join locals for a refreshing dip in the swimming hole.
It is recommended that hikers pack plenty of water, bathing suits, mosquito repellent and wear adequate shoes as some parts of the track can be quite slippery after rainfall. Although many hikers choose to do the track on their own. Several companies offer guided tours for Cross-Island Track Monday to Saturdays, weather permitting,