Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, is only 32 kilometres in circumference. That makes it the ideal place for exploring. And you can discover this magical island in so many ways. Hopping on a scooter is a big favourite for tourists. But you can also ride on the ‘island bus’, in a car or a jeep.
Avarua is the capital of the Cook Islands and is the main port for the Cook Islands. Here, you will be guaranteed of finding a tropical town bursting with energy. From shops, restaurants and cute cafes, there will be a style to suit you. And if you really love the nightlife, there will be so many bars to choose from.
Your choice, will largely depend on whether you like live bands, dance music or soft background jazz. But, there’s more! You will have so many options for water or land based activities. What this travel trip advisor Rarotonga blog will do, is to your key questions about this wonderful travel destination.
Important & travel trip advisor on Rarotonga
Day tours on Rarotonga
- Storytellers Eco Cycle Tours: You can discover the real Rarotonga by taking a relaxing bike ride through the local villages. Also, cycling is a great way of seeing more with frequent stops. You will hear some enchanting legends and personal stories from the Cook Islanders themselves – they are such great storytellers. At the same time, you will be passing by magnificent. Indulge your passion for foraging – the tropical fruits of the island are ‘delish’. Bike your way through plantations. Departs: Mon, Wed, Fri at 8am Duration: 4 hours.
- Sunset Cocktail Happy Hour Hop: This option is so much fun. As the sun begins to go down, just hop in the back of an electric tuk tuk and make your way to a beachside bar. There will be a local guide to give you handy hints on some of the best happy hour specials on offer. Grab an ice cold beer, sip a Seabreeze or find out what goes into a Daiquiri. Departs: Daily from 4.30pm. Duration: 3 hours and 30 minutes
View some travel package suggestions for Cook Islands.
Must see and do on Rarotonga
- Explore Rarotonga – if you are looking for an authentic local vibe, then you will find it on Rarotonga. And the good thing is, you are able to discover so much by yourself.
- Relax and unwind at the beach – Rarotonga has beautiful white sand beaches and there are plenty of them. You will find it hard to make a choice!
- Visit the Saturday Market – the bustling market at Avarua is bound to thrill. Here, you can stock up on souvenirs, handcrafts and local produce.
- Take a Lagoon Cruise – Rarotonga is well known for its crystal-clear lagoons. And these lagoons are literally teeming with colourful sea life.
- Speaking of lagoons, there is so much snorkelling and swimming that you can do. Spend at least a day out on the water.
- See a Cultural Show – these cultural shows are magic! Listen to the drums of the Cook Islands, then tuck in to a delicious traditional feast.
- We guarantee you will not be able to resist the beat of the drums. Participation is definitely encourages. Who knows, you may even be invited to the stage.
Travel tips for Rarotonga
- Climate – A tropical maritime climate is typical of Rarotonga. Temperatures are very warm pretty much all year round. But because Rarotonga is made up of a group of islands, the weather can be changeable. However any showers that occur, are generally followed by clear blue skies.
- Visa – A visa is not required by passport holders for stays up to 31 days. However, visitors must be able to produce a return or onward ticket.
- Currency – The currency is in New Zealand Dollars. ANZ and Westpac Banks are located on Rarotonga – Wespac also has a branch in Aitutaki. There are 10 ATM’s dotted around Rarotonga plus 2 in Aitutaki.
- Language – The local language is Cook Islands Maori. English is very widely spoken.
- Clothing – No problem here. The dress code is definitely ‘island style’. However do bear in mind that brief clothing is only suitable for the beach. You will need to cover up a little more if you visit the town or villages. Do take a light sweater. It may in handy for cooler evenings for July and August.
- Transport – Air Rarotonga flies regularly to the Northern and Southern group of the Cook Islands, with daily services to Aitutaki. On Rarotonga, a bus services operates around the island daily and is a good way to get around the island if you don’t want to drive. As another option, you can rent a car.
- Dateline – If you arrive in Rarotonga from Auckland or Sydney, please note that you will be crossing the international dateline. That means you gain time for more fun!
Wine & Dine on Rarotonga
- The Mooring: Dine on fresh fish that is caught daily. Enjoy homemade sauces to go with it. The Mooring is a popular café overlooking the stunningly beautiful Avana Harbour. You will have no problem recognizing the vibrant blue shipping container.
- Vaima Restaurant and Bar: It will be best to make a reservation at this one. Enjoy dining out on the beach. Vaima is known for its pacific cuisine. Can you think of anything better than watching the calm waves roll onto the beach!
Trader Jacks: Bar and restaurant provides great food, service, and drinks. You will be overlooking the Avarua Harbour and have a beautiful view while you dine.
Sails Restaurant and Bar: This restaurant is right in the heart of Muri Beach.
Summary travel trip advisor Rarotonga
Rarotonga gives the feeling of being one big holiday island. It offers such a relaxed atmosphere with everything switched to ‘Cook Islands time’. As the island is only 32 kms (about 20 miles) in circumference, you will find the journey along the main road (Ara Tapu) really easy. The maximum speed limit is 50kms/hr!
And you are never far from the purest blue lagoons. In fact, taking a journey around the island, is a pleasant experience. Therefore, to cover the whole island by scooter or car, will take you less than an hour. If you cycle around, it will take you around four hours – going at a leisurely pace with breaks.
Going inland, the volcanic peaks of Rarotonga are as high as 653 metres (2142ft). They do provide such a beautiful backdrop, being covered with lush tropical vegetation. Rarotonga’s dense interior is mainly uninhabited and hilly. Most of the population actually lives near the coast. For hikers, this is truly paradise. You can enjoy escorted cross-island treks. And if climbing is your thing, you can add that to your list of things-to-do.
Activities on Rarotonga are endless. Apart from snorkelling, you can also scuba dive, kite surf and paddle board. And let us not forget Mountain biking, game fishing, quad and buggy tours. Also at certain times of the year, you can go whale watching. Check out more options and information on the offical Cook Island tourism website.
Nightlife and dining is abundant and varied. There are many restaurants, cafés and bars around the island – all in locations that are very easy to access.
Helpful travel links for the South Pacific
- Best Time to visit the South Pacific
- Travel Planning Fiji Islands
- Tahiti Accommodation options
- Tahiti Border Opening
Happy travelling the South Pacific Islands!