Unless you have a Vodafone New Zealand or T-Mobile USA phone, you can turn off your mobile for the duration of your visit as these are the only roaming partners of Telecom Cook Islands.
If you are really desperate to have your mobile phone on, you need to buy a local prepay SIM card - see http://www.telecom.co.ck for details
Finding a coconut on the beach.
If you have never been before, hire a bike and cycle around the island. If you do it on a Sunday morning there will be no traffic, and you can go to one of the hotels for lunch, or a cafe that has Friday or Saturday as its closed day.
Once you have done the whole loop at this pace, you will know were you want to go for the rest of the trip and you can hop on the bus. I loved just sitting and watching the sea gently lap on the shore, and watching the hermit crabs going about their business.
The day we found a coconut on the beach, and my husband spent an hour getting in. It tasted fantastic though.
Flowers and LETTUCE in Your Hair!
One of the local customs in the Cook Islands is for women to wear a wreath consisting of flowers and lettuce (yes, lettuce!) around their head. Despite its vegetal quality, it actually looks quite attractive and has the extra bonus that. if you got hungry without warning, you could start picking at your headgear (though I'm sure their must be some Polynesian etiquette rules frowning on that).
Lets go Fishing
Whilst on the Island, we did some rock fishing when the tide was out, we had to wade right out to the reef edge where it would just drop 20 or 40 feet away at the mouth of a entrance to the lagoon. Along the way we would gather our own bait or if we where lucky a local would be out collecting octopuss from the rocks and he would cut us a tentical, fresh bait.
The fishing was good and i think that if we put more time into it the catch would have been bigger, but we where there for fun, so we enjoyed catching anything big or small. We took all our own fishing gear with us to Rarotonga,
Burgers in Avarua
Palace One Takeaway is located besides Avatiu boat harbour in Rarotonga's capital, Avarua.
Arriving at Avarua's Cook's Corner bus terminal, head west through Punanga Nui market place and you'll see Palace One located on the opposite side of the road to a large "Raro Fried Chicken" fast food restaurant.
Palace One is basically a glorified burger van.....in fact it isn't even *that* glorified! ;-) It does have a handful of wooden tables outside - some under a canopy and others on the grass amongst the wandering hens (don't stray over the road to Raro Fried Chicken, guys!!!). You can sit in the sunshine looking out across the harbour.....but don't expect too much action, it's not the world's busiest harbour!
I visited Palace One for a morning snack during my visit to Avarua in April 2006. Although the menu lists toasted sandwiches, calamari rings, mussels, fish, eggs and bacon amongst its meals.....at the time of my visit only burgers and hot dogs were available. Admittedly, the selection of burgers was fairly extensive (plain, steakburgers, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, a "Palace Special", burgers with eggs.....). There were also various cakes and puddings on offer. I opted for:
Cheeseburger - Cost: 4.50 NZD (approx 2 GBP)
It wasn't particularly big or filling, but the burger was well cooked and the meat was very good. There wasn't much cheese on it, but it too was very well cooked (to the extent that it had ceased to be melted and had achieved crispiness!). Also filled with grated lettuce, carrots, tomato and ketchup
Bottle of Fanta orange - Cost: 2.50 NZD (approx 1 GBP)