Tracey Bond is a travel and lifestyle writer based in Auckland.

Bar review: Tik-e Tours Happy Hour, Rarotonga

Tracey Bond tags along with a group of bar hoppers for a Tik-e Tour of Rarotonga's best watering holes.

Jump aboard a tuk tuk for a bar crawl with a difference in the Cook Islands. Photo / Tik-e Tours Rarotonga
Jump aboard a tuk tuk for a bar crawl with a difference in the Cook Islands. Photo / Tik-e Tours Rarotonga

Flying along Rarotonga's coastal road in the back of a bright-orange electric tuk-tuk is a lot of fun and the perfect way to try out some of the best bars on the island without worrying how you will get back to your accommodation at the end of the night.

The Tik-e Tours Happy Hour trip is a combination of sightseeing and bar-hopping.

Karl Jackson, who owns the company with his wife Tania Farman, pick me up from outside my hotel just after 4.30pm.

Tik-e Tours prides itself on its eco-friendly transport around the island; the fleet of five bright-orange tuk-tuks (and one white one for weddings) with white interiors, were custom-made in Thailand and shipped over to the island.

Karl explains that he likes to personalise each tour depending on what his passengers are up for, so no two tours are the same.

Fancy some quiet drinks? He'll make it happen. Want to find out where the locals hang out or keen for some live music? Karl will show you the best spots.

After a quick stop at the Pacific Resort in Muri Beach to pick up some fellow bar-hoppers we're off, with my two Australian passengers happily informing me they'd already had a few cocktails and I would need to catch up.

First stop is the Little Polynesian Resort, where our host Karl explains how the tour works: one drink at each stop (drinks are extra on top of the tour). There would be time for snacks, as well.

We take our seats looking out over a beautiful blue infinity pool and the reef beyond and grab our menus.

First round (at happy-hour prices) is a delicious chardonnay. My companions also choose a glass of wine and an espresso martini (declared to be the best on the island, so far).

There is time to visit a viewing point to see Te Rua Manga, or "The Needle", one of the most recognisable peaks on the island and a gorgeous little beach for a quick paddle before our next stop.

Next up on the tour is Vaianas on the Beach, a great beach bar to kick back and relax, where families commandeer picnic tables and kids play at the edge of the water.

There is local music here to add to the chilled vibe and volleyball nets if you feel the need for a bit of physical activity.

This round I go for an ice-cold Corona (while my companions choose another glass of wine and an espresso martini).

Then, we get back on board our trusty steed to head off to our next stop.

We are a bit concerned that we won't make the happy hour at each place, but Karl soon puts our minds at rest by explaining that so long as we we're with him, happy hour is all night.

We head down to Wilson's Bar at Castaway Villas as the sun begins to set, and snag some seats with a view of the horizon.

The place has a great beach bar vibe with fairy lights strung along the beachfront, and live music.

On round three everyone decides to really get into the swing of things and it's time for cocktails.

We all opt for a Crazy Wilson (melon liqueur, coconut rum, vodka, orange and pineapple juice).

A Crazy Wilson cocktail at Wilson's Bar, Castaway Village. Photo / Tracey Bond
A Crazy Wilson cocktail at Wilson's Bar, Castaway Village. Photo / Tracey Bond

It's also time for a bit of a snack, and Karl recommends the yakitori skewers, which the Australians declare to be delicious.

Wilson's is the only place on the island to have a dedicated cigar menu.

This is the perfect place to watch the sun go down.

Our final stop of the tour is Manuia Beach Bar. Night has set in as we make our way to seats around a pool, with the sound of waves crashing on the reef and tropical island tunes playing in the background. Bean bag loungers around the pool add to the Palm Springs vibe.

More cocktails are in order, and By the Pool (Midori, peach Schnapps, Malibu and pineapple juice) seems like a good choice considering our location.

After supping our drinks and putting the world to rights it is sadly time for Karl to return us to our hotels.

This tour is a great way to see the island, experience some of the nightlife on offer and meet new people, without having to worry about drinking and driving.

CHECKLIST

Getting there: Jetstar flies Auckland to Rarotonga three times a week.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 12 Dec 2016 03:44:47 Processing Time: 989ms