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Need to Know About Rarotonga
The Cook Islands have long been a favourite among travellers from New Zealand. Rarotonga is the most populous of the Cook Islands and offers a true paradise to visitors. As a small island in the South Pacific, Rarotonga is full of beautiful beaches, coral reefs, lush green jungle, and warm and welcoming locals. Rarotonga has a Polynesian culture, which is so fascinating to learn about and experience first-hand from locals. Another draw for travellers from New Zealand is that the Cook Islands use the New Zealand dollar. Rarotonga is a great value for travellers, offering a luxurious tropical experience with plenty of budget options.
It’s easy to find cheap airfares to Rarotonga from New Zealand. Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia, and Jetstar all offer flights to Rarotonga. Direct flights to Rarotonga are available throughout the year from Auckland and seasonally from Christchurch, getting you into Rarotonga in about 4 hours.
When Is The Best Time to Book Flights to Rarotonga?
In terms of weather, there’s really no bad to visit Rarotonga. In terms of prices, you can definitely save money on your trip by booking outside of high season. High season in Rarotonga is the winter, when temperatures are nice, and rainfall is minimal. Many tourists visit Rarotonga from Australia and New Zealand during the winter to escape the chilly weather back home, causing prices to go up.
Booking flights to Rarotonga in spring, summer, or autumn can save you money. Summer is hot and humid, with regular rainstorms. Spring and autumn are the perfect time to visit, when rain levels and prices are both low.
What Are The Top Things To Do In Rarotonga?
Relax on the Beach
It’s no surprise that Rarotonga is home to some pretty incredible beaches. The beaches of Rarotonga offer a serene, tropical atmosphere. Each one is made up of beautiful palm trees, soft white sand, and bright blue water. Some of the top beaches to have on your radar for your visit to Rarotonga include Titikaveka Beach, Muri Beach, Aroa Beach, and Nikao Beach.
Experience Local Culture
Rarotonga has such an exciting Polynesian culture. One of the best ways to learn about the culture is to attend an Island Nights show. At the show, you’ll experience Polynesian dancing, music, and a feast of local foods. These Island Nights shows are full of energy and are a favourite among visitors to Rarotonga.
Go Snorkelling or Diving
Rarotonga is surrounded by a barrier reef and coral atolls. These reefs keep the water on the beaches relatively calm and provides visitors with some great snorkelling and diving. Snorkelling in Rarotonga, you’ll get to see some beautiful coral, lots of colourful fish, and even the occasional turtle. The top spots to go snorkelling during your trip to Rarotonga are Aroa Beach, Tikioki Beach, and Blackrock Beach. If you want to try diving, you may also see some white tip reef sharks. Lots of dive centres are available to take you to the best diving spots around Rarotonga.
Hike the Cross-Island Track
To witness some beautiful Rarotonga nature outside of its beaches, head inland and take a hike through the jungle. The Cross-Island Track stretches from the north to south coast of Rarotonga and takes between three to four hours to complete. Throughout the hike, you’ll see lots of amazing sights, including the Needle (a tall rock rising above the jungle), Wigmore’s Waterfall, and Papua Stream.
How To Get Around Rarotonga
Rarotonga operates a public bus that runs in a circular route around the island. The bus operates in both directions. Buses depart every half hour throughout the morning and afternoon and stop at many hotels and attractions throughout Rarotonga. For the freedom to explore Rarotonga at your own pace, the island offers a variety of rental car services as well as motorised scooter rentals. If you do decide to rent a car or scooter, be careful, as traffic rules may be different than what you are used to. Several companies also offer organised tours that can take you to attractions all over Rarotonga and the Cook Islands.
Travelling to Rarotonga Airport Rarotonga International Airport (RAR) Rarotonga Airport is the largest airport in the Cook Islands and the main gateway to the islands for international visitors. For an affordable journey from the airport, you can catch the public bus. Cook’s Buses pick up passengers from the airport and operate on a clockwise and anti-clockwise route throughout Rarotonga. The bus makes several stops around the perimeter of the island, including many hotels and guesthouses. Taxis are also available from Rarotonga Airport, and if you want to experience the island like a local while you’re visiting, you can even rent a motorised scooter from the airport.