Cook Islands Journals

Rarotonga - sun, sand and fun on a pacific island

A September 2002 trip to Cook Islands by C_Wheel

Quote: Rarotonga is the main island in the Cook Islands and also the capital. The main (only) town is Avarua and has only one street. And thats the point. You come to Rarotonga for the coral reef beach, mountains and rainforest and to have the most chilled out time.

Rarotonga - sun, sand and fun on a pacific island

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Overview

Quote:
Rarotonga is all about chilling out. Take the time to walk along the coral beaches - the water is crystal clear and so shallow you can walk on numerous little atolls and make like Robinson Caruso. The colors of the water are so fantastic, clearly divided by the reef into a lucent pale blue by the shore, the white of the waves crashing on the reef and then the dark blue of the ocean. Quick Tips: The water on Rarotonga hasn't been treated. This means it's drinkable and is drunk by all the locals who are used to it. It's up to you whether to chance it. Some people aren't affected, some are. If you do drink the local water and start to get stomach cramps, switch to bottled water right away...Read More
Quote:
Vara's Beach House is actually right on the Muri Lagoon. And that's its main attraction as the beaches around this area are the best in the island. The accomodation itself is basic but fairly decent. Generally 6 single beds in a room, shower block across the way depending which room you're in. Warning: the showers are solar heated, the best time is about 3.30 - 5 pm. There are single rooms and units for rent as well. The kitchen in one of blocks is pretty crap - ancient and dodgy cooker with few untensils but the accomodation block next to the beach has a much better kitchen if you can be bothered to cook. There's a l...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 4, 2002

Vara's Beach House
On Muri Beach
Cook Islands, Cook Islands
21156

Mai Tai Cafe

Restaurant

Quote:
Mai Tai is one of the cafes in the main town of Avarua. Its got a little courtyard where you can sit and watch the world or at least everyone in Rarotonga walk by.



The food is your usual cafe type and pretty good, although a little pricey for what it is. I do reccommend the ice cream and the smoothies though.



Mai Tai cafe is open daily, closed evenings.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 9, 2002

Mai Tai Cafe
Avarua
Cook Islands, Cook Islands

Cross Island Trek

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Attraction

Quote:
The cross island trek takes you straight across the interior through rainforest, mountains, river and all the tricky bits inbetween. Make sure your footwear has good traction otherwise you'll be slipping all over the place. Also remember to take water. Its easiest if you start off at the end near Avarua. The start is signposted and we asked the bus driver to drop us off. The path started off fairly steep and just kept on getting steeper as we climbed up the mountain using tree roots as steps. Everytime we thought we must have levelled out it just got worse. Our aching legs were justifed by the view up the top. You can see all the way out to the ocean, even over the...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 4, 2002

Cross Island Trek
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Cook Islands, Cook Islands

Muri Beach

Attraction

Quote:
Rarotonga island is enclosed by a coral lagoon creating shallow protected beaches all along the coast. The best of the beaches is Muri Beach. The water here is crystal clear and extremely shallow with white golden sand and palm trees. There are a few small atolls in the lagoon. Captain Tamas' boats ferry people over there for a barbecue but its easy enough just to wade over there to explore. Wear beach sandals though as there are enough pieces of coral to cut your feet to shreds. There are a few fish in the lagoon but if you want to go snorkelling try further up the coast where there's more to see. The conditions of the beach make it a great place to try wind surfing and you can hire a...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 6, 2002

Muri Beach
Rarotonga
Cook Islands, Cook Islands

Cook Islands Museum

Attraction

Quote:
The Cook Islands museum is attached to the Library and you pay here first to enter. Opening hours same as the library. Its not particularly big or organized. Just a large room filled with various bits and pieces. The exhibition includes a variety of items - types of sealife, mainly shellfish found here, the old treaty documents, European pictures, and accounts of the islanders. It's all a hodge podge really, but the museum also displays several large pieces of sculpture by local artists and some of these are rather lovely. The museum does give you a bit of insight into the Cook Islands and at $2 doesn't exactly break the bank. I would recommend a visit, probably on...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on October 9, 2002

Cook Islands Museum
Avarua
Cook Islands, Cook Islands

Quote:
A bike ride around the island only takes a few hours - Rarotonga just isn't that big. Just follow the main road along - you'd have to work very hard to get lost. And although it is the main road, it's not too busy. It's a good way to see more of the island and you can take your time, stop off at a beach and a little cafe for lunch. You'll get the chance to see what the local houses are like (and count the number of graves in the backgardens - Rarotongans often bury their relatives at home). One thing I'd really reccomend, make sure you get a comfortable bike. A lot of the rentals are old bone rattlers and after a few hours in the saddle you'll really feel it. ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 9, 2002

Bike ride around the island
Rarotonga
Cook Islands, Cook Islands

Island Pub Crawl

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Attraction

Quote:
We purchased our tickets for the pub crawl from the Muri beach internet cafe. And the minibus showed up at 8pm on a Friday night to ferry us around to the varous clubs and bars. The minibus was packed and we all got to know each other quite well by having to sit on people's laps to fit everyone in. Predictably, the drunken singing started off right away and only increased as the night continued. The pub crawl took in 7 pub/clubs, which is probably most of the ones on Rarotonga. They ranged from quiet local hangouts like the Fisherman, to definate tourist places like Ronnies - a karaoke bar where boys and girls are encouraged to get up on the tables and attempt isla...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 7, 2002

Island Pub Crawl
All over Rarotonga
Cook Islands, Cook Islands

Shopping in Rarotonga

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Attraction

Quote:
If you have a desparate urge to go shopping, your choices are pretty limited on Rarotonga. Apart from the odd souvenir shop along the main round, the only other shops are all centred in Avarua. The souvenir shops sell all the same sort of thing - shell jewellery, black pearls, grass skirts, sarongs, floral shirts and of course coconut bras. If you're tempted by the pearls, check the quality - basically you get what you pay for and if its cheap its likely to be flawed. There are some nice carved shell pendants as an alternative. There's a local market worth checking out on Saturday mornings in Avarua. It sells the usual souvenirs sometimes a bit cheaper, fresh fruit,...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 7, 2002

Shopping in Rarotonga
Avarua
Cook Islands, Cook Islands

Island Night

Attraction

Quote:
There are various island nights to choose from, a lot of the big resorts put them on as well. The Staircase island night is one of the cheaper options. It includes transportation there and back and there is the option to have dinner there as well. Apparently the dinner is quite good, but not traditional food. The show started about 9 o'clock giving us time to grab a drink and table. The dancers bounded into the bar, swinging their hips to the traditional beat of the drum. The first group were all girls, dressed in, I'm not kidding, coconut bras and grass skirts. Lets just say they had the attention of all the guys in the room. They were followed by a three young guys wearing not much m...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 5, 2002

Island Night
The Staircase
Cook Islands, Cook Islands