After much deliberation and help from our very patient travel agent Ellen Lee, my husband and I decided on and booked our holiday to Rarotonga. The four-hour plane trip from Auckland went by quickly and when we landed at Rarotonga International Airport in the Avarua district it was bring on paradise!

Our coach picked us up and after a fairly brief trip (Rarotonga has a circumference of only 32km), we arrived at Palm Grove Resort on the southern side of the island and directly across the road from a stunning beach. We received a very warm welcome and found this to be the case with everyone we encountered throughout our stay on the Island.

Although there is a great bus service on Rarotonga and car hire is readily available, a good majority of locals and tourists travel around the Island on scooters. A scooter licence is fairly easily obtained at the police station in Avarua and takes only a few hours to be issued, so that was us.

It proved a great way to cruise around the Island and check out some of the stunning scenery both on and off the beaten track. Personally, I think scooters are a must-use means of transport when holidaying here: it’s part of the overall island experience.

The beach across from Palm Grove was a magical place to snorkel and we found ourselves out in the lagoon for several hours every day.

The fish were colourful and plentiful and we saw different species every time. After our time in the water the sun loungers on the white sandy beach were a great way to chill out and contemplate the next move, which was usually food and cocktails!

Which were delicious! Basically, you can relax at a beach front café with a spectacular view and devour the most divine fresh fish sandwich, or order a three-course meal at an expensive restaurant right on the beach while watching a stunning sunset, or have your lunch or dinner at a seaside pub with a good chance of spotting a whale or two. You can also taste some of the local cuisine at the Muri night markets. Whatever suits your budget or takes your fancy, you can find it all here. There are plenty of little cafés too so a decent coffee isn’t hard to find.

Our days were busy, with plenty to see and do, whether it was a glass-bottom boat cruise on the Muri lagoon or snorkelling on the marine reserve or a BBQ lunch. There were also cultural village tours, overwater night shows and Island/Western buffet dinners. Off-road buggy tours through hills and plantations. A wander around the Punanga Nui Saturday markets or just kicking back on the beach. Rarotonga really has something for everyone. In a nutshell, we loved Rarotonga and its friendly people and beautiful beaches and chilledout, laid-back vibe. We will be sure to venture back.

Dog sitting on the beach at sunset in Rarotonga