“ Address: Easter Island / Chile „
Rano Raraku , Easter Island
I think of all the sites we visited on Easter Island that this was my favourite. This was the main quarry from which the huge Moai head statues were carved and then transported to the various Ahu ( platforms) in the different places on the island.
This was the only place we had to actually show our National Park ticket which you can buy at the airport as you come into the island. There was actually an entrance gate and then you followed a path through into a courtyard sort of area with toilet block, shops and a path leading up the hillside. The quarry is actually an extinct volcano and the stone used for the Moai was volcanic. The Moais were actually carved from the hillside and until they were completed when they were stood upright.
The walk up the hillside is quite steep but there is a path. Along the way either side you see these huge heads abandoned in various positions. Some are upright, others toppled on their sides, some part buried and others lying back. They are everywhere you look, all slightly different, sometime in groups and other standing alone. It is as though a giant has thrown all his toy heads around in a fit of temper on the hillside.
As you walk up there are different paths you can take. One led to a very special kneeling down Moai which had a wooden fence around it. You could just make out his hands and his feet behind him. This is the only Moai found in this kneeling position. From here you get a fabulous view over Ahu Tongariki and the Pacific ocean too which is a real picture opportunity.
Going back to the junction you can then follow the steep path and steps upwards to the largest Moai ever found. This is actually unfinished and still attached to the rock it was being carved from. It would have been an impressive sight on an Ahu had it ever been completed. I cannot begin to imagine how they planned on transporting it to the Ahu though as it was huge.
Also along this path you can see another fairly large Moai which is unfinished but it gives you a very good idea as to how they were carved from the hillside rocks.
We made our way back down to find the other path which led up to the crater lake of this volcano. Again the path is steep but manageable for anyone fit enough to walk any distance. The crater lake is quite beautiful with trees and green grass, surrounding it, horses grazing and again Moai on the hillsides. It was peaceful and scenic and well worth the climb up there.
This was where we were having our lunch so after walking to the crater lake we made our way down to one of a number of roofed picnic areas. Our tour group leader was there with a number of cool boxes. They asked us what lunch we had ordered and then handed us a hot dinner in a polystyrene base with tin foil lid. The food was excellent, a hot fish dinner which was totally unexpected. I thought we would get sandwiches or something cold. They also gave us a bottle of soft drink and some fruit for dessert.
After eating we went for a wander to look at the souvenir shops,and find the toilet. The shops had the same stuff as everywhere else on the island and everything was expensive so we ought nothing. We did find a bird of prey in a tree which posed for us and some interesting fruit on the tree.
The toilets were clean but basic but they charged $1 US each to use them . This was the only site with a toilet on our day trip around the island. Personally I think that they need to consider building a few more and to charge $1 each is daylight robbery. We had no choice and had to pay up as we had not been to anywhere with a toilet since we left the hotel at 9 am and it was now ell past 1pm. I think that is far too long to expect people to go without a toilet stop especially as it was not that hot but we had walked a lot and drank a lot of water.
I loved this quarry as the Moai were just so randomly found around the site and they were all so different. It was also a chance to eat, drink and toilet which I was getting fairly desperate for.
This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.