EASTER ISLAND

This page contains some photographs from a trip I did to Easter Island in March 2008. I spent four days on the island and visited most of the major sights, including Hanga Roa, Rano Kau crater and the ruins at Orongo, the moai quarry at Rano Raraku, the fifteen moai at Ahu Tongariki, and Anakena Beach. Click on the thumbnails to see larger images:



Coastline at Hanga Roa
Hanga Roa is the main settlement on the island, and has a population of about 4000 people. The island is very volcanic and rocky, and beyond the township there are many small volcanic cones and lavas flows scattered over the island. Most of the island is grassland but there was more vegetation than I expected. 40% of the island is within Rapa Nui National Park.


Moai at Tahai Complex
The Tahai Complex is located close to Hanga Roa and contains three separate ahu with restored moai, and the remains of a village. The site was restored in 1968. Ahu Ko Te Riku is the only moai on the island with eyes.


Sunset at Tahai Complex
Great sunset shots can be obtained at the Tahai Complex, especially with the sun behind the Ahu Vai Uri, and it is a popular place with photographers at the end of each day.


Ana Kai Tangata
Ana Kai Tangata is a cave located on the outskirts of Hanga Roa that contains some paintings of manutara birds on the cave walls.


Rano Kau crater
Rano Kau is a volcanic caldera located at the south-western tip of the island. The crater contains a lake that is covered by mats of dense, floating vegetation.


Houses at Orongo
Restored houses in the ceremonial village of Orongo, located on the edge of Rano Kau crater. These elliptical stone houses overlooking the ocean cliffs were restored in the early 1970's.


Petroglyphs at Orongo
Petroglyphs on rocks at Orongo, overlooking the islands of Motu Nui, Motu Iti and Motu Kau Kao. The petroglyphs were made in commemoration to the Birdman competition, which was designed to determine the island's leader for the next year. This competition continued until the mid 19th century, and involved contestants descending the 300m cliffs, swimming out to Motu Nui island, retrieving a Sooty Tern egg, climbing the cliffs and bringing it back intact to place in the hand of his sponsor. The sponsor who received the first returned egg would become the Birdman.


Orongo
The Orongo village is located in a spectacular setting on a narrow ridge between the Rano Kau crater and the ocean cliffs, 300m above the sea.


Toppled Moai
Toppled moai at Akahanga. Most of the moai on the island are still toppled and only a small number have been raised back onto their original ahus. Akahanga is a large site on the south coast containing four ahu, twelve moai, and well preserved ceremonial villages.


Moai at Rano Raraku
Moai on the outer slopes of Rano Raraku crater, which was used as the quarry to carve the moai. Many moai are still there in various stages of completion.


Crater at Rano Raraku
Wild horses in the inner crater at Rano Raraku. The crater interior contains a freshwater lake covered in reeds.


Moai in Inner Crater
There are many moai on the slopes of the inner crater at Rano Raraku. Many of these statues are becoming covered in lichen, which is one of many causes of their deterioration.


Ahu Tongariki
Ahu Tongariki is the largest reconstructed ahu on the island, with 15 standing moai. It is located on the south coast close to Rano Raraku quarry. The site was destroyed by a tsunami in 1960, with waves hurling the toppled moai up to 650m inland. The moai were re-erected in the early 1990's.


Moai at Ahu Tongariki
Moai at Ahu Tongariki. The tallest moai is 10m high and the average weight of each is about 40 tonnes.


Anakena Beach
Anakena Beach is situated on the north-east coast and is one of only a few sandy beaches on the island, and is a popular swimming and picnic place for the islanders. The white sand, turquoise water and grove of palm trees is very beautiful.


Anakena Beach
Anakena Beach is the site where, according to legend, the king Hotu Matu'a first landed on the island. At the edge of the beach is Ahu Nau Nau, an ahu with five moai and two moai fragments. The ahu was restored in 1978.


Ahu Akivi
The seven moai at Ahu Akivi are located 2.5km inland and face towards the ocean, while most other ahu moai were located on the coast and faced inland towards the villages.



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Page last modified on Monday 6 January 2014