Te Manga is the highest point in Rarotonga, and the Cook Islands, standing at 653 meters high. The climb starts in the backroads, on a path situated between two houses. With a temperature of about 35 degrees, narrow paths and dodgy ropes, our trek was a bit harder than we had expected. Halfway through, some wild dogs joined us, and to our surprise, disappeared and reappeared after every climb, even the vertical ones. We ended up walking for two-and-a-half hours up to the peak, walking through bush and vines, until we reached a bit of a hiccup. The last hour of the hike was already more dangerous than we cared for, we ended up having to trust old ropes with our lives and climb through uneven dirt and rocks with a lethal drop on each side. So when we reached the last small plateau before the peak, and met a guy who had just given up on the climb, we looked past him and took about 10 minutes to decide whether we wanted to risk it all. Ahead of us were openings in the path where climbers would be forced to walk with their back to the mountain, even more dodgy ropes and unsteady rocks. It’s hard to describe how dangerous it looked, and we couldn’t take a picture of it without it being blurry, but it wasn’t worth risking our lives for. After all, we are pretty clumsy. So we climbed back down, bit by bit (until I got us lost twice ha) and finally reached the bottom, just before nightfall. Te Manga, even though it would take the average person a full half-day, is definitely a must-do, as the view from the top is just gorgeous, and it was pretty rewarding to be able to see the entire island, even if we didn’t reach the absolute top.