Atiu is the third largest and third most visited of the Cook Islands. That doesn't mean it's busy though...typically there are around 50 visitors a week. The island is about half the size of Rarotonga. Surrounding the plateau is a ring of taro water gardens and then the jungle-clad makatea (fossil coral reef). Notched into the cliffs of makatea are over 28 beaches which, albeit small, are untouched and almost unvisited.
Legend says Tangaroa, the divine god of the sea, was the first inhabitant. Scientists from the UK believe the first human habitation was around 900AD. Captain Cook was the first European to sight the island on 31 March, 1777.