Get ready to enjoy amazing sights, wonderful hospitality, local food, stunning beaches and world class snorkeling.
You can travel year-round to the Cook Islands, with June to August being around a warm 25 degrees, and the periods April-May and September-October to be usually warm and dry. You can expect the December–March period to be hotter, with average highs of 29 degrees and potentially some rainy periods.
There is a wide variety of accommodation in Rarotonga from the high-end resorts, to modest motel style units. There are also Villas for larger family groups and home rentals for those who prefer to be self-sufficient during their stay.
Their locations and facilities vary and are scattered around the island as you will see when you travel around the 32 km perimeter road. For Families, there are a number of resorts with Kid’s Club facilities, and there are also adults only properties.
There are also options to travel to some of the other islands that make up the Cook Islands. The most popular is Aitutaki where the lagoon has some of the best snorkeling in the world and the resorts are designed for an absolute leisurely escape.
A tip if you are unsure of where would best suit your style is to book with a travel agent who can give you a run down on all of the options.
Once you have settled in to your accommodation, it is time to explore – shops, markets, bikes, motor scooters (you will need to get a Cook Islands Drivers license for these, so make sure you book in early for this), off-roading, snorkeling and much more.
There is a great variety of amazing activities on the Island that you can do, and here are some suggestions:
- Take a local bus ride around the island – there are 2 buses one goes clockwise and the other anti-clockwise. Take a stop along the way at the main town of Avarua to check out the shops, bars and restaurants such as the famous Trader Jacks
- Kayak in Muri Lagoon and explore some of the small islands that sit inside the protection of the off-shore reef. Or take a glass-bottom boat tour with an option to snorkel, and have a barbeque on one of the islands
- Visit the Punanga Nui Markets in Avarua on a Saturday morning, with plenty of entertainment and organic coffee. Shop alongside the locals for locally grown fruit and vegetables, and authentic souvenirs like pearls, artwork, crafts and hats made of coconut frond. The Punanga Nui Market also features a night market on Wednesdays from 5pm to 9pm, offering a wide range of cuisine options. Helpful tip - remember to bring your New Zealand Dollars or Cook Islands coins as most vendors are cash only.
- The Muri night markets in the Muri Beach Village are a great way to choose your own dinner from the selection of food trucks, stalls and stands all while mixing with tourists and locals alike. Open Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 5pm, the night markets offer a variety of food from local BBQ meals, seafood, fresh drinking coconuts, chicken curries, wok-fried noodles, pizza, desserts and more.
- Hiking - Reconnect with nature by exploring Rarotonga’s mountainous interior on a variety of guided and self-guided hiking trails. From being surrounded by native birds and butterflies to capturing incredible views of the island and surrounding lagoon and finding hidden waterfalls, hiking in Rarotonga is a must-do activity.
- Quad Bike, Buggies, Motor Scooters and Bikes / e-Bikes – plenty of options for you to explore inland Rarotonga – some are more adventurous than others, but make sure you book early as they are very popular.
And finally when it is time to say “Aere Ra” to the Cook Islands, you will be rested, relaxed, and full of happy memories of your time spent there.