A small, spacious, stylish and practical self-catering guest-house, nestled into a gentle slope above family plantation lands. Built by artists to complement their main long-house 'Are Roa', this timber pole-house - 'Are Pou' - is an ideal space for a couple, 2 friends, or a solo traveller who might like to be self sufficient yet have 'family' to call on next door. We are 200m from Muri's main Rd, not far from the beach and all the hustle that Muri village has to offer.
'Are Pou is a small private guest-house next to our own larger home ('Are Roa). Your main access is up a set of fairly easy outdoor stairs found next to our shared driveway & carport. There is also more direct access through a road-side gate alongside 'Are Pou which makes initially dropping your bags to the front door much easier on your arrival & departure. NB: 'Are Pou may not be suitable for people who could find these steps a physical challenge.
Once inside, the space is 'open plan' with a range of fixed walls and in-built furniture of varying heights that cleverly divide the kitchen-dining-lounge with the bedroom & shower-toilet-vanity. There is privacy where needed, opportunities to chat across the comfy spots in the house, and enjoy lovely surrounding garden views. There are two private exterior deck spaces that alternatively catch the sun & shade. 'Are Pou faces East, so sunrises are the best way to start the day. On dull or rainy days 'Are Pou is still warm, light and airy, with well-placed skylights set in the high pitched roof, and glass louvre windows to set the airflow ..
As well as supplying you with Eco Store (NZ) soap, shampoo and cleaning products, we have installed an amazing eco-friendly (yet still conventionally classy!) composting toilet. We felt this was an important way we could make a positive difference to help re-balance our coast & our lagoon health. The 'urine diverter' part of this toilet could be a minor challenge for those men not keen on sitting down when peeing - but it is a necessary part of keeping our 'Nature Loo' working to its effective best. Therefore, in accepting you as our guests - we need to make sure that you agree to use this special toilet in the correct way it is intended. We'll show you how to EASILY look after the loo while you are with us (just a quick spray of enzymes with a little water bottle into the urine diverter and throw a bit of dry organic mulch into the main chamber to help break the solids down) .. yep thats it .. its SUPER EASY ;)
Please ~ check out the 'Nature Loo' company website if theres any chance you think this issue is a 'deal-breaker' for you. Really, we rather hope you are as excited by helping our island environment as we are.
If you are saying with us for more than a week - we can give the guest house a swift cleaning service on the 7th day for you. Bedding and towels can also be refreshed every 4th day on request.
There is a commercial laundry nearby SNOWBIRD Laundry - just down the hill from us - $12 minimum small load, but we can offer to do your personal washing in our machine (cold wash and line dry) for $10 small load / $15 med-large load. We use Eco Store (NZ) laundry and cleaning products to help with the health of our septic system. Please be sure to shake out sand from your swimwear and any clothes first. Doing your laundry in the morning should see it dry by the mid to late afternoon.
Credit codes for WIFI access - here at home and at 'Hotspots' or roaming around the island - can be bought online or at the local BLUESKY COOK ISLANDS office in Muri, or in Avarua. It is a user-pays system as internet and smartphone charges can be VERY expensive. So do use smartphones wisely - check that you aren't unintentionally spending hundreds of dollars by making sure you switch off your access to 'auto updating' programs & apps.
Directly across the road from us are two of the island's favourite restaurants - The Rickshaw (Vietnamese-style cafe), and La Casita (Mexican). The delicious 'Muri Night Markets' is also open from 5:30- 8:30pm Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday & Sunday, and is about a 6-10 minute walk away from us. Across from that is the famous mouthwatering Vili's Burger Joint! Nearby on the beach is Sails Restaurant at the Rarotonga Sailing Club with restaurant and bar. Back on the main Rd and walking 2 minutes further South and you will reach 'LBV' (Le Bon Vivant) and The Delilicious Cafe, then 2 minutes further you will be at the Te Ara Museum Cafe. A short drive South in nearby village Tikioki are the Matutu Brewery, Charlie's Beach Cafe, Maire Nui Gardens, The Little Polynesian Hotel, and a new restaurant at Moana Sands - Moana. Head North from home and its a 10-15 minute walk around Aroko to The Mooring Cafe at Avana Passage for their tasty fish sandwiches. All local beach-side resorts have a range of restaurants and bars that are also open to the public.
Muri beach is a just a quick 5 min walk away - (or a leisurely 10 mins). Just cross the main road and follow the public access road (next to La Casita) down to the netball courts, rugby field and past the Muri Clubhouse, where you will find easy access to the beach and Motu Koromiri - the small island that you can either walk/swim/snorkle or paddle over to. Book a lagoon cruise with either Captain Tama's or Koka Lagoon Tours to have a special BBQ lunch there for the final part of your day tour. Reef shoes when swimming are recommended as there are sometimes 'stonefish' disguised amongst the lumps of coral rock. We have some snorkel gear you can borrow, but most water sports are covered down at the many operators along the beach where you can also find a variety of equipment for hire. Take care to leave valuables at home.
SHOPS / RESORTS
There are three small local 'grocery stores' selling mostly everything you might urgently need (open 6:30am until 9:30pm), souvenir shops, a hairdresser, spas, the 'BLUESKY' office for wifi & communications, a doctors office, pharmacy, lagoon & kite surfing tour operators, rental car & bike companies, artist studios, a large new museum 'Te Ara' - with a handful of roadside cafés - as well as three large resorts - with dining options - along the 'main road' of Muri. For this reason - we affectionately call it 'Muri Town' - as its all just 'down the road'. The best part of having all of this hustle and bustle so handy - is that you can just disappear back into home base - a few steps up the driveway and behind the safety of our family garden and our large surprisingly sound-proof trees!
As artists ourselves, we are more than happy to share our local knowledge to help you appreciate and source great local art & crafts in support of our wider creative community. Being based the north-end of Muri we are very close to almost everything on offer in our village. Directly across the road from us is the Te Vara Nui Cultural Village, so each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evening we hear the drums and singing from their dinner and show between 8:30 - 9:30pm. Around us are planters and crafts people who often sell their fruits food and flower 'ei outside the Ngatangiia Community Hall in the mornings. Nearby in Avana is Ngatangiia Passage, where the Cook Islands Voyaging Society's Vaka - Marumaru Atua (an ocean voyaging canoe) is moored. Every Saturday from midday the vaka goes out for a day sail and visitors are welcome to book to go along (unless the Vaka is away on a voyage or if there is bad weather). Ngatangiia Cook Islands Christian Church (also in Avana), is the local church to hear beautiful hymn singing and the local Cook Islands Maori language in all its glory on Sundays.
Finally, we, your creative hosts are:
Ani O'Neill // (BFA Sculpture) from Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland University, NZ. I make artworks utilising Pacific techniques such as weaving, sewing tivaivai, and crochet, as well as enjoy drawing, painting and printmaking. I have taught art at all levels - in schools and universities, in private & public workshops, and have exhibited large installation works both locally and internationally since the mid 1990's.
Croc Tatau // My husband Croc - who has lovingly built 'Are Pou - also makes traditional pacific tatau / tattoo. He makes his own hand-crafted bone tools based on traditional uhi / ivi, with great skill. He has learnt this traditional form through his teacher Inia Taylor of Moko Ink in NZ, and makes tatau works after personal consultation and by appointment only.
Interaction with guests
Although you will have your own private space, we live in the main house right next door - so you can ask us for help with anything at anytime. You can pop down to use our home phone to make local phone calls (book restaurants etc), and even use it to make an international toll call by buying a 'Kia Orana Card' first at BLUESKY - if you need to. We promise not to annoy you, UNLESS you are the kind of people who might LIKE some of the local treats - like excess fresh fruit that turns up with neighbours - or if we think you would want to know about 'whats happening' - and maybe even like to join us for local event, a movie in town, or share a dinner? Although we are artists who work from home, and enjoy our own regular visitors. However, we aren't the 'party animals' we used to be - and will do our best to make sure you are comfortable (without getting too much in your face). Don't be at all shy to let us know if you prefer not to be disturbed.
RECYCLING - RUBBISH / FOOD SCRAPS
FOOD // Our Uncle Ina lives in the house at the end of the access-way - he also owns the pigs that we feed our scraps to - so we encourage you to use the pig bucket we provide for ALL your food scraps. We can help you with the pig feeding routine if you are unable to feed 'Blondie' yourself!
RECYCLING // Rinsing all tins, glass and plastic bottles before you place them into the baskets provided for recycling will keep smells and flies, potential bugs, and animals away. Rubbish and recycling collection days in Muri are on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. In respecting our small island environment we ask for your help in our efforts to keep up with our island's recycling program. We will let you know in advance when we need your trash by a certain time to put out with ours. Clean, dry paper and cardboard (with no plastic lining) can also be separated for recycling.
Our very sweet guard dog Krusty is a good friend and feisty caretaker. She welcomes most cars, bikes & people who enter our zone (or even just walk past) with a bunch of ferocious barking! Not to worry she is not a biter - she will most just likely want to be your best friend when she knows you are staying with us. Let us know if you definitely don't want her visiting you up at 'Are Pou - and note she is a 'snack addict' - so please don't feed her! The same goes for our very affectionate 'stray' cat Crackers - who loves snuggling up if you let her - again, let us know if you are happy to have them around - if you are allergic we can definitely keep them well away from you.
Other things to note
General check in 2am and check out 10am
Special check in:
If you require early check-in (OR late checkout) this can be arranged so long as you let us know when you book with us. You will need to send your flight details through - it makes all this so much easier!
Ie: If you DO land here on an very early morning flight - like after midnight - we don't mind as this is common. For us your check in starts that 'night' with us. However - any major miscommunication or understanding on your part in regards to your arrival-departure dates & times may incur the extra cost of that nights stay.
Please just send us you flight details when you send a request and we can work it out.
- We prefer no shoes in the house as is the custom in the islands. Please wash feet of sand after beach trips to keep sand out of the guesthouse.
- We have installed a conventional looking, eco-friendly waterless composting toilet which has a 'urine-diverter'. Our guests need to agree to follow a simple process in order to run this 'Nature Loo' effectively.
I am Ani O'Neill, an artist, born in NZ with my mother's family bloodlines from here in the Cook Islands and my father's hailing from Ireland. My awesome husband Croc Tatau is a traditional tattooist, originally from the UK. Since marrying here in 2007, and moving 'home' to settle down after lots of life experience & world travel - we were honoured to have built our own home here on my grandmother's family land in Nukupure, Muri - a 'long house' we call 'Are Roa'. Fast forward 10 years to 2017 - and we are now proud to have also made a super cute rental unit, a 'pole-house' we call 'Are Pou' - for our extended friends, family & visitors to stay with us - with privacy - right next to our main homestead. We are nestled into our family plantation lands, on small slope just 200 meters from the main rd in Muri, and all this small village has to offer: restaurants & cafes, Te Vara Nui, Muri beach & the Motu Koromiri with water sports - and resort cocktails galore!
We love art, local culture, caring for our environment, good food, friends and family. We have a very friendly girl-guard-dog 'krusty' and an affectionate wild-girl-cat called 'crackers'. We love our home and we love to look after our guests.
We look forward to meeting you!