Cook Islands Journals

A Week in Rarotonga

A June 2004 trip to Cook Islands by brianestadt

Muri Beachcomber Photo, Cook Islands, South Pacific More Photos
Quote: As part of a 4-week vacation in the South Pacific, we spent a week in Rarotonga.

A Week in Rarotonga

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Overview

Church Photo, Cook Islands, South Pacific
Quote:
Sharp, craggy mountains covered in lush tropical plant life. Well-protected lagoons of the clearest turquoise water. Black pearls. Beautiful dancers. Tangaroa, the well-endowed and circumcised god of fertility. Mountain hiking. Friendly English-speaking people. With all that and more, Rarotonga is a great--albeit pricey--tropical vacation destination.Quick Tips: Though our luck wasn't good with weather (it was cool and had constant strong winds when we visited in July 2004), Rarotonga still served as a great start for our month in the South Pacific. A few of the highlights for us: having breakfast at the Maire Nui botanical gardens, an island night South Pacific dancers at the Rarotongan R...Read More

Muri Beachcomber

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Hotel | "Muri Beachcomber Bungalows"

Muri Beachcomber Photo, Cook Islands, South Pacific
Quote:
My wife and I stayed for a week in a sea-view bungalow at the Beachcomber. This isn't a resort, so this property is best suited for those who plan NOT to spend their days at their accommodation: the Beachcomber is best for those who want to get out and explore. That described us to a T, so it was a very nice fit--especially since island public transportation (an excellent way around the island) stops right out front of the property.There is no restaurant on the premises, but there is a small (very small--smaller than a US convenience store) grocery next door that has some basic supplies. Also, there's a restaurant next door, though to us it seemed overpriced and the food didn't impress....Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 25, 2006

Muri Beachcomber
Muri Beach
Cook Islands, Cook Islands
682 21022

Flame Tree Restaurant

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Restaurant | "Flametree Restaurant"

Quote:
The Flametree is always mentioned when talk turns to the best of Rarotonga's restaurants, and we were very satisfied with the food and the service. Little lizards scampered along the walls and ceilings, giving us some entertainment with our meals. The meals were very good, but we left raving about the blackberry tart dessert--start with an incredible chocolate crust, then add a tasty cheesecake. Top with a layer of chocolate and then a deliciously tart blackberry sauce and you have perhaps the finest dessert on the island. It was so good that upon returning home, I tracked down an email address for the restaurant and sheepishly asked for the recipe--and they sent it to me. I've been stunning family...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 25, 2006

Flame Tree Restaurant
Muri, Rarotonga
Rarotonga, Cook Islands
682 25 123

Chillis Sports Bar

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Hotel | "Chili's"

Quote:
A nice-enough place to grab a drink and catch a rugby game on the television, or maybe to hang out and relax on the comfy furniture in the lower level, Chili's is decorated on the outside with paintings of chili peppers. As Americans, we couldn't help but laugh at the name and think that it was a rip-off of the American restaurant franchise of the same name. This strikes me as a place were the local come to hang out.Chili's is located along the outer road that circles the island. If Avarua is at 12 on a clock face, Chili's would be around 3, I think. Since it's not in a city, it's hard to pinpoint exactly where it is, but, like everywhere on this island, it's easy enough to find....Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 26, 2006

Chillis Sports Bar
The Outer Road
Avarua, Rarotonga, Cook Islands
682-26240

Wigmore's Waterfall/Papua Waterfall

Hotel | "Hiking above Wigmore's Waterfall"

Wigmore's Waterfall/Papua Waterfall Photo, Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Quote:
Disappointed by the waterfall itself, we decided to head up into the hills (well, mountains) to see what they held. What they held was our attention for the next several hours, as the panoramic scenes from the mountaintops took our breath away. Or maybe that was the steep climb itself, but it was certainly worthwhile.

You may have heard that a picture is worth a thousand words. Both pictures and words fail when trying to capture the beautiful scene. Be sure to hike it yourself.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 25, 2006

Wigmore's Waterfall/Papua Waterfall
Southern Coast of Rarotonga
Rarotonga, Southern Cook Islands

Maire Nui Gardens and Cafe

Hotel | "The Gardens of Maire Nui"

Maire Nui Gardens and Cafe Photo, Cook Islands, South Pacific
Quote:
Showcasing the beautiful tropical plants of the South Pacific, the gardens of Maire Nui are a must for anyone who appreciates nature. The grounds are uncluttered and feature a variety of plants, from palm trees with vibrant red and green nuts to the bright-orange bird of paradise plants to so many more we didn't even bother to identify; instead, we admired the gardens and shot dozens upon dozens of photos of the beautiful flowers. Maire Nui features an open-air dining facility that served REALLY good gourmet muffins and tasty breakfasts. In this setting, the good food tastes even better.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 25, 2006

Maire Nui Gardens and Cafe
Village of Titikaveka
Cook Islands, South Pacific

Rarotongan Resort

Attraction | "Island Night at The Rarotongan resort"

Rarotongan Resort Photo, Cook Islands, South Pacific
Quote:
It started with a tall, layered, frozen drink that looked like a rainbow had been poured into a glass. From there it went to unearthing food that had been buried in the ground beneath a tarp and palm leaves. Then the dancers hit the stage.The dancers were beautiful, animated, colorful, and a whirlwind of motion. Dances ranged from slow solo performances to energetic group choreography to an exhibition of high-speed hip shaking from a solo female dancer. Cook Islands dance is similar to Tahitian dance -- the technical difference between the two styles, I've learned, is that Cook Island female dancers sway their hips side-to-side with their feet firmly planted whereas Tahitian female dancers do ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 25, 2006

Rarotongan Resort

Cook Islands, Cook Islands
+682 25800

Tuki's Pareu

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Attraction

Tuki's Pareu Photo, Cook Islands, South Pacific
Quote:
If you could look down on a busy street (busy being a relative term) in Avarua, undoubtedly you would feel like you were staring into a kaleidoscope as the colors shifted and rotated.The clothes in Rarotonga are vivid and multi-hued. So of course one of the souvenirs you're going to want to head home with is either a tropical shirt, or a parau (sarong). The best place to shop for one, in my opinion, is Tuki's Pareu. This clothing store features an array of souvenir shirt options. I chose an over-sized shirt that featured drawings of sea turtles and stick figures in various scenes with a boat. It has become one of my favorite summer shirts.Prices were somewhat expensive (I don't rec...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 26, 2006

Tuki's Pareu
Ara Tapu
Avarua, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Some interesting keepsakes

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Story/Tip

No my best photo, by far Photo, Cook Islands, South Pacific
Quote:
If you're looking to take home something other than photographs and memories, here are a couple ideas that you might find interesting.1. A Cook Islands drivers license. You are not allowed to drive a vehicle in the Cook Islands unless you have a CI government issued license. But don't worry about a time-consuming driver exam, even a blind 4-year-old can get one... as long as he's willing to pay 10 bucks. All that is required of you is to provide the name of where you're staying, stand in front of the camera, and smile. Oh, and hand in your money.The process essentially is a moneymaker for the government, but, hey, let's be honest, if you're going to deal with government extortion, ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 26, 2006