Rarotonga Travel Guide

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Rarotonga Travel Guide

Rarotonga Local History

With its varied and interesting history, the people of Rarotonga still keep a keen interest in their Polynesian past. Considered very much a back-water for many years, that all started to change in 1965 when the Cook Islands became self governing, enlarged their tiny airport and started building holiday resorts. Today it is an international tourist destination.

Rarotonga Attractions

Rarotonga Shopping

Island Crafts - The best place to find handcrafts since 1943, they stock a wide choice of wooden carvings, black pearls, pendants and earrings.

Bergman and Sons - This pearl shop carries the largest selection of natural and cultured pearls, whether loose or incorporated into jewellery. They also carry small pearls still attached to their gold-trimmed shells and sold as necklaces.

Punanga Nui Market - The vendors here stock tie-dyed bedspreads and tablecloths, as well as a huge selection of T shirts.

Rarotonga Activities

Aroa Pony Trek - Adults and children will enjoy the gentle rides along the beach and up to Wigmore's Waterfall. The rides last for 21/2 hours and are relatively inexpensive.

Captain Tama's Aquasports Muri Beach. The glass bottomed boat excursions on the lagoon include fish-feeding, snorkelling and lunch.

Rarotonga Parks & Gardens

Takitumu Conservation Area - Situated above the village of Titikaveka, a part of the mountain has been preserved in its natural state and is home to the unique and endangered kakerori. This is a yellow sparrow like bird that is native to Rarotonga. There are also several other unique bird species and rare orchids. Rangers lead nature walks through the forest.

Matavera Village - Notable for its Cook Islands Christian Church and graveyard on the mountain side of the road, it is worth a stop before continuing on to the villages beyond.

Cross Island Trek - From the city centre this guided tour offers some excellent hiking trails including a visit to Te Rua Manga, and ancient ruin.

Rarotonga Beaches

Muri Beach - The beach stretches 8 miles from Ngatangiia around the south east corner of Rarotonga. Lie on the beautiful white sands while watching the sailboats glide across the crystal clear lagoon.

Ngatangiia Passage - Situated between the mainland and Motutapu, is home to a low island. The shore is one of the most beautiful parts of Rarotonga.

Rarotonga Restaurants and Bars

The islanders still adhere to their traditional way of cooking, which is to parcel their food in banana leaves, placed in an underground oven, covered with hot coals and left to cook.

Rarotonga Restaurants

Ambala Gardens - The menu is extensive and interesting, all served wonderfully fresh and with attention to detail. Try their pecan veggie burgers with yoghurt mint sauce, pumpkin and mushrooms with tomato basil sauce, seafood kabobs or authentic Indian curries. All well worth a visit.

Right on the Beach Restaurant - For an island night buffet try this sand floored beachside eatery for Fijian style curried, seared tuna, lamb shanks and the catch of the day. The low thatched covered roof will have you stooping low to get inside.

Tumanu Tropical Restaurant and Bar - The owner of this delightful restaurant spends his days diving, so in order to make a booking, just place your name on the reservations sheet outside the door, and arrive on time at night. Serving mainly seafood with various sauces, they have a few steak and chicken dishes as well.

Rarotonga Bars & Clubs

Trader Jacks Avarua Harbour. The best known pub in the town is noisy, always packed with locals and tourists and a fun place to spend an evening.

Ronnie's Main Road. Another popular drinking hole, where the people are friendly and the atmosphere buzzing.

The Cafe - For a more relaxed and less frenetic evening, The Cafe serves the best coffee in town along with the usual booze.

Rarotonga children's activities

Aroa Pony Trek - Adults and children will enjoy the gentle rides along the beach and up to Wigmore's Waterfall. The rides last for 21/2 hours and are relatively inexpensive.

Captain Tama's Aquasports Muri Beach. The glass bottomed boat excursions on the lagoon include fish-feeding, snorkelling and lunch.

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