Atiu is over eight million years old and the third largest island in the Cooks. This island is an ecologist s dream and a magnet for the adventurer. A volcanic mass which has risen up out of the sea to be surrounded by a raised coral limestone reef named makatea. Its utter peace and harmony with nature certainly belay the island s reputation of having harboured some of the fiercest warriors of the Southern Cooks , who constantly laid siege on their smaller neighbours in Mitiaro and Mauke. Sandy beaches on Atiu are scattered and secluded - but there are many to discover tucked like little secrets into the coast. Unspoiled and lush with dense rainforest and an unexpected central plateau according to legend when the Polynesians landed on Atiu s white crested shores, birds and insects were its only life.