Rarotonga: Boiler Swim

Little Polynesian

As New Zealand’s triathlon season finished I needed motivation to continue my workouts and increase my comfort with open water swimming. The Boiler Swim proved a successful incentive and an excuse to return to the Cook Islands. In the weeks leading up to the trip we continued training in the Waitemata Harbour even as the water temperature required wetsuits.

The Boiler Swim is the only Rarotonga International Triathlon Festival event we took part in. We arrived the day before the swim. Unless you are a participant in the triathlon there is no way to register for the Boiler Swim in advance. We showed up 40 minutes before the race and wrote our names on the whiteboard. I loved how laid back it was.

The race starts and finishes from the shoreline at Trader Jacks. Swimmers proceed counterclockwise around the sunken wreck of SS Maitai. Total distance is 800 metres. The water was calm along the beach and became rougher once we crossed the reef.

There were about 70 participants in this year’s race. It was great fun and a beautiful location for celebrating a successful finish with a mai tai while watching the sun set.

Other than the boiler swim we had no plans. We spent most of our time on the beach with a bit of sightseeing. Although the beach at Little Polynesian looked idyllic, it was too windy to lay out. Instead we went to the beaches on the northeast side of the island.

On Saturday we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at Little Poly before riding the island bus to Punanga Nui Market. From there we went to the airport for our afternoon flight. This was the perfect amount of time for a relaxing getaway.

Dates: 11-14 May 2017. The Cook Islands are a day behind Auckland so local dates were 10-13 May 2017.
Travel with: Allen
Weather: south side of the island was windy with mix of sun and clouds; 70s. northeast beaches were sunnier with slight breeze, 80s
Accommodation: Little Polynesian Resort in Titikaveka on the southeast coast

Boiler Swim
  • Boiler Swim
  • black rock beach
  • shopping in Avarua
  • Maire Nui botanical gardens
  • Matutu brewery
  • Muri Lagoon
  • Raui marine reserve & beach
  • Punanga Nui Market

Food & Drink:

  • Trader Jacks
  • Bite Time Cafe
  • Subs & Treats
  • Little Polynesian
  • LBV Bakery & Cafe, Muri
  • Mal’s Bar at Edgewater Resort & Spa
  • Waffle Shack at Punanga Nui Market
  • Bodyfuel

Transportation: Air NZ, Cook Islands bus, shuttle from airport to accommodation arranged by Little Poly