Gareth at Rapa Nui

I’m Gareth, the Unusual Duck-Billed Playtypus, on another adventure around the world. This time I’m off to Rapa Nui, or as it’s also known: Easter Island! This tiny and remote island has a fascinating history. Oh, and there’s these big stone heads called moai all over the place!

Landing at Mataveri Airport. It’s pretty much the farthest place you can fly to from anywhere.

Landing at Mataveri Airport. It’s pretty much the farthest place you can fly to from anywhere.

Here is me at a cafe with a map of Easter Island. Wow, it’s even smaller than I thought!

Here is me at a cafe with a map of Easter Island. Wow, it’s even smaller than I thought!

This is Ahu Tongariki. Many of the moai were found tipped over and have been restored to a standing position.

This is Ahu Tongariki. Many of the moai were found tipped over and have been restored to a standing position.

Rano Raraku. This is the quarry where all the moai were made.

Rano Raraku. This is the quarry where all the moai were made.

This moai was left unrestored to show how many were originally found by modern archeologists.

Hey! I’m over here! This moai behind me was left unrestored to show how many were originally found by modern archeologists.

Check out that fine stone hat! I gotta see if I can get one of those. Remember, it is made of red volcanic rock.

Check out that fine stone hat! I gotta see if I can get one of those. Remember, it is made of red volcanic rock.

Here’s a pretty spot in Hanga Roa, the only town on the island.

Here’s a pretty spot in Hanga Roa, the only town on the island.

This is the tiny islet called Moto Nui where the swimmers from the ‘Birdman Race’ would go to find an egg!

This is the tiny islet called Moto Nui where the swimmers from the ‘Birdman Race’ would go to find an egg!


Fun Facts about Easter Island

  • When Dutch ships first landed at Rapa Nui in 1722, the explorers called it Easter Island because they arrived on Easter Sunday!
  • ‘Rapa Nui’ is the original name for Easter Island, and also the name of the original inhabitants and their descendants.
  • At Rano Raraku is where all these majestic (and very heavy) stone moai were made. No one knows how they moved across the island… Legend says they walked!
  • The stone hat you see is called a pukao! It is made of red volcanic rock and represents the hairstyle of high-ranking ancestors back in the day.
  • The ancestors of the people living on Rapa Nui would hold races to Moto Nui as part of the ‘Birdman’ ceremonies. Every September, each clan would select one member to swim through shark-infested waters to find an egg on a small nearby islet, and bring it back (uncracked) to the clan!
  • Easter Island is one of the most remote inhabited islands on Earth. Chile, the closest mainland, is over 2,174 miles away!