Rarotonga

The Best Kept Secret of Polynesia

home main art3The keyword for visitors to the Cook Islands is tranquillity. There are no high-rise hotels to be found, and very little fuss. It’s an ideal destination for travellers seeking more than the usual clichés associated with the Pacific, with every island offering its unique qualities for a truly unique holiday experience.

Rarotonga is the main island of the Cooks, a beautiful and tropical paradise, surrounded by a reef that shelters the lagoon. Come, enjoy, and just relax, or take part in some of the great activities on offer

on the island. Go scuba diving or snorkelling, swim in the clear blue waters or learn from the locals how to open a coconut.

When you get enough of the beach for awhile, learn Rarotongan traditional dancing or how to make and ‘Ei’ (traditional flower garland), you can visit the Cultural Village or the National Museum, or browse around the local food market on Saturday morning.

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To See & Do

Diving is a very popular pastime in the Cook Islands, given they are the home of the famous black pearls. Many top quality dive operations are available for tourists, although it does pay to remember the closest decompression chamber is in Auckland New Zealand.

The amazing clear waters give an underwater visibility up to 200 feet, with spectacular canyons, caves and wrecks. Fishing is another huge sport and tours range from night fishing with the locals to serious game fishing.

The lagoon, no matter where you are, is perfect for snorkeling, even if you have never done this before. The area is a protected marine reserve, so it means fish are plentiful and easily found in the areas where reef rocks are close by. If you want to spear fish, you may be better heading out to one of the outer islands such as Aitutaki.

Humpback whales visit the Cook Islands (mostly Rarotonga and Atiu) from July to October and come right up to the reef which in places is just 10 metres from shore. The best place to view the whales is on the west coast of Rarotonga at Black Rock and on the north coast of Rarotonga.

Shopping is relaxed in the Cook Islands, with plenty of variety and great bargains to be had. The main shopping area is in Rarotonga, located in downtown Avarua. There are also a number of restaurants, clubs and bars overlooking the beach where you can relax and enjoy the scenery.

 

Pacific Culture

cultrepg pic2Three concepts are particularly vital to the Pacific people, tapu, mana and custom. Tapu is generally given the term forbidden or evil, and every day life involves understanding what is tapu and how to avoid it and remove its effectiveness.

Mana refers to spiritual power - it is a quality possessed by all people, part hereditary and part achievement. Custom is a key element of traditional life. Custom evolves around the extended family and village, of sharing wealth, status and knowledge. The lack of personal property and personal space is a concept foreign to people from the Western world, and it has caused difficulties from early European exploration to modern day tourism and business.

Islanders hold on to a strict hierarchical system headed by hereditary chiefs (known as ariki in Cook Islands) and with commoners serving the good of the village. What unifies all cultures today is their strong belief in Christianity which plays an important part in the village community and national politics.

Another tradition widely maintained by all Pacific cultures is that of traditional dance, from hip-swaying erotic dances of the Polynesians to the more powerful war dances performed by Melanesians. Most dances are based on stories of bygone years, down through the generations.

How to get here

The airlines that have flights to the Cook Islands are Air New Zealand and Viring Australia. There are direct flights from Auckland, Sydney and Los Angeles with Air New Zealand and direct flights from Auckland with Virgin Australia. For more information on arrival and departures, please refer to the Air New Zealand or Virgin Australia websites and choose Cook Islands.

We spent seven very restful nights here in a two bedroom bungalow. Dave and Sheryl were really good hosts, helping us with booking a fishing charter and a hire car. The bungalows all have ceiling fans - a lot quieter...
Carrie - Cambridge, New Zealand
Wow... Amazing place to stay, clean fresh and so much comfort! Felt super relaxed and the host and hostess were so friendly welcoming and made our stay stress free, brand new pool and the gardens were truly beautiful...
Olivia
First visit to Rarotonga and couldn't have found a better place to stay. Well equipped, clean and the garden studio gave us privacy. Grounds are beautifully kept and very relaxing. Village easily within walking distance...
Alan - Wellington, New Zealand
We had a great family Rarotongan Beach Holiday staying at the Daydreamer. Dave and Sheryl are the best hosts you could hope to have, can't wait to return!
Lisa Wood - Auckland, NZ
We have already booked our next stay with Daydreamer!!  Thank you for a most memorable stay and we are looking forward to seeing you all soon.
John Smith - Marlborough, NZ
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