Among several interesting caves in Atiu, Anatakitaki Cave is renowned for its unusual natural beauty, a candle-lit freshwater swimming hole and the unique kopeka birds that make clicking sounds to navigate their way through the dark. Walk with a knowledgeable guide through the thick, tropical forest to the cave, while learning about the history of the Atiuans and listening to legends of Tangaroa, the god of the sea.
The jungle creeps into the opening of Anatakitaki Cave, with vines twisting around the mouth and roots tangled in the layers of rock. Carefully walk over the ragged makatea, the rough coral limestone that makes the island and surrounding reef. Then explore the 15 limestone chambers and corridors.
Notice the unique patterns of the flowstones formed by water running down the sides of the cave. See colorful speleothems and walk between the eerie white stalactites and stalagmites throughout the cavern. Huge banyan roots creep through the roof of the cave, fall to the floor and even work through the mineral deposits.
Farther into the darkness are the sounds of the kopeka chattering, clicking and chirping. These birds are not found anywhere else in the world. They nest in the cavern and navigate through the dark using a series of clicks. As you watch these fascinating birds dart about, note that it is very rare to see kopekas rest or land when they are hunting.
Amble down the shallow rocky cliffs to the bottom of the cave to a stunning freshwater lake. Slip into crystal clear waters and enjoy a candle-lit swim.
Anatakitaki Cave is considered a must-see attraction among Atiu’s several limestone caves and grottos. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes to walk through thick jungle and over rocky ground. The cave is located in eastern Atiu, an area known for its rugged beauty.
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