The Cook Islands’ largest and most populated island, Rarotonga, is a relaxed, beautiful, down to earth tropical island. Its people are welcoming, relaxed and they genuinely love young children.
Because the time is the same as New Zealand, the flight from Auckland is only 3 hours and the currency is the New Zealand dollar, it is a popular destination for Kiwis.
Things you must see & do
There are a bunch of great places to eat on Rarotonga, from cheap roadside stalls to those at the higher end of cuisine and price. A couple of favourites include Sails restaurant overlooking Muri Lagoon and the stunning colonial Tamarind House, not far from the main town of Avarua.
Go snorkelling just south of Muri at Tititaveka and see the gorgeous underwater life. Nearby are the lovely Maire Nui tropical gardens, which are well worth a visit.
Jump on the round the island bus that comes every half hour or so, or hire a car or motorbike and head into the markets in town. Music, food and crafts make this a great place to stock up on supplies and take in the local colour.
If possible stay around or near Muri Beach. It has a beautiful lagoon with islands, lovely beaches, a variety of restaurants, a dairy and lovely resorts. You can rent private houses as well as stay at resorts.
Some of the food is quite limited, but you can freely bring snacks, packaged food and milk (and even meat in a chilly bin if you will have access to a BBQ) with you to Rarotonga with you as long as it’s sealed.
Take mosquito repellent if you kayak or swim to any offshore islands – they often haven’t been sprayed and you will be eaten alive!
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