The Cook Islands

The Cook Islands

Located to the west of Tahiti and approximately 850,000 square miles of many scattered islands the Cook Islands are made up of two main groups of islands, the Northern Group and the Southern Group, Rarotonga is located in the Southern Group.

All five properties are less than a minutes walk to a gas station, convenience store and takeaways. Our properties are well away from the road ensuring you have total privacy and seclusion. A 3-4 minute walk further will take you to a fabulous Deli serving fresh baked bread and pastries, a internet café, car and scooter hire and the hotels and resorts for dining and happy hour. You can also reach most of these places by stepping off the lawn on to the famous Muri Beach. We are a short stroll to the increasingly popular Muri Night Market

The island was once a volcano and stands 4500 metres above the ocean floor. The main island of Rarotonga is 20 miles or 32km in circumference. The island is surrounded by a lagoon which extends several hundred metres to a reef which slopes steeply into deep ocean. The Lagoon is protected by Raui which in traditional Cook Islands law forbids sea and marine life from being taken from the beaches and waters. The interior of the island is made up of eroded volcanic peaks covered in dense vegetation. The inner island is largely unpopulated due to its innaccessibility and rugged terrain.

Two main roads circle the island, the main road or Ara Tapu is a sealed road and the back road or Te Ara o Toi which winds through paw paw and taro plantations as well as local farmlands.

Avarua is the main town on the island and the commercial centre of the Cook Islands. The Visitors Centre is located in downtown Avarua and open during normal trading hours.

Rarotonga operates Monday to Friday like any other city or town in the world. On Saturdays the shops open 9am – 12 noon and will not open on Sunday. Sundays are traditionally a day of worship and rest on the island and visitors to the island are welcome at most of the local church services on Sundays.

On Saturday mornings the Punanga Nui Cultural Market is the place to be. Buy fresh local food and produce from the stalls and chat to the friendly locals.

Getting around the island is easy work. A bus circles the island clock and anti clockwise and will drop you off wherever you wish. Cars and Scooters are available to hire. A temporary licence is issued for you to drive or ride and a test must be completed to obtain a Cook Islands licence. In Rarotonga drivers keep to the left of the road. Electric bikes are also available to hire and of course walking is free!

Locals speak Cook Island Maori there native language and most also speak English. The Cook Islands use the New Zealand Dollar for currency and many goods and food items are imported from there.

Cook Islanders are naturally athletic and you’ll find many play some form of sport year round and there is fierce rivalry between the villages.

Weather is hard to predict in the Cook Islands due to the expansive Pacific Ocean and small size of the island. If you ask a local what the weather will be like the reply will usually be ‘beautiful’!

Generally from May – October is dry and sunny, from November – April it will rain more and be humid especially from December- February. Temperatures rarely fall below 19 degress celcius overnight and can reach the mid 30’s over the summer months.

Rarotonga is one day behind NZ and there is no daylight savings. It will get dark between six and seven pm year round.

There is some animal and wildlife on the island. Dogs roam freely during the day and are well fed by the tourists, they are not strays though as they return home in the evening. Mokos are a type of lizard that live above walls and roofs, they are harmless and will stay away from you. Mosqitoes are prevelant during the summer months and it is advised you bring insect repellent with you. There are no predators whatsoever in the lagoon and reef shoes are recommended on your feet when in the lagoon as the coral can be sharp.