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Things to see & do in Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Cook Islands
Cook Islands
Cook Islands
Cook Islands

Things to see & do in Rarotonga, Cook Islands

story by: Inspire Cook Islands

The main island of the Cooks, Rarotonga, is not only a holiday destination in itself but the gateway to more far-flung isles. Not that you have to leave its sandy shores. Sink into island time and never leave your resort, but if you want to venture out, Rarotonga has plenty to offer. Take the local bus around the island, or hire a motor scooter or bike and stop at your choice of idyllic beach or watch the sun set over the reef. Rarotonga is almost completely encircled by a lagoon, so water-based activities are on offer everywhere. On land join an island tour or tackle the cross-island trek. Don’t miss the Saturday market in Avarua where you’ll find pareus (sarongs), handmade quilts, tropical fruit and black pearls. Evenings bring an island feast and cultural night.

Our Favourite Things to see & do

• ISLAND NIGHT – This is a great way to experience the vibrant local culture. The major hotels put on an Island Night at least once a week, with traditional song and dance and an island-style feast known as an umukai.

• DINING OUT – Book your table on the grand verandah at Tamarind House and sit back and enjoy some of the finest food on Rarotonga. The atmosphere is elegant and classically South Seas.

• LOCAL NIGHTLIFE – Perched on a wooden sea-view platform at Avarua, the Whatever Bar & Grill is a trendy place for the young and young at heart – it can get lively on a Friday night and the winding stairs down to the ground can be rather a challenge if you’ve enjoyed yourself a little too much!

• TRADER JACKS – No trip to Raro is complete without a visit to this old favourite bar and restaurant. Gentleman Jack himself can often be found propping up the bar.

• FRUITS OF RAROTONGA – Homemade jams and tropical flavoured chutneys are divine at this little shop opposite Tikioki Beach, but it’s good for smoothies, cakes and fruit juices too, and the snorkelling in the lagoon opposite the café is sensational!

• PUNANGA NUI MARKET – Head to these markets on Saturday morning for handicrafts, colourful clothing and black pearls – you’re sure to pick up a souvenir or two!

• WIGMORE’S WATERFALL – On the eastern side of the island, a dirt road leads inland to Wigmore’s Waterfall, a lovely cascade dropping into a fresh, cool swimming pool.


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