Cook Islands Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by pure1942
  • Things to Do
    by pure1942
  • Things to Do
    by pure1942

Cook Islands Things to Do

  • Quad-biking on Rarotonga.

    On my 2011 trip to Rarotonga, my friend and I decided to follow her brother's recommendation to try quad-biking. Coconut Tours, a subsidary of Te Vara Nui Village, in Muri, on the eastern side of Rarotonga, operate a range of motorised vehicle based 'adventure' style activities. Holiday makers can choose from taking a sedate 'safari' tour in the...

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  • Experience a cultural show and dinner at...

    In Muri, a new cultural centre has opened. In April 2011, I experienced the excellent dinner and cultural show at Te Vara Nui Village. This proudly family-built centre showcases Cook Islands dancing and cuisine in an impressive purpose built setting. The centre is built around a small lake with a central stage. Diners sit around this for dinner and...

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  • An alternative to Aitutaki on...

    If you can't fit in a trip to Aitutaki, you can experience the next best thing (and in my opinion, it's still a long way off), by spending a day, or staying in accommodation at, Muri Beach on Rarotonga.Muri is a lagoon with four islands. The lagoon is situated on the eastern side of the island. There is a lot of backpacker accommodation here, as...

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  • Aitutaki Marine Research Centre

    The Aitutaki Marine Research Centre is a small research centre partially funded by the Australian and New Zealand governments. They currently work on giant clam repopulation efforts and house some green sea turtles as well. Max (pictured) is from Manihiki and works there. The green sea turtles are available to be picked up by visitors. Nice place...

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  • Enjoy a holiday with the locals

    Although only 1 of these people are real "locals," the rest have been living on the island and are really cool like locals. In my case, we (me and people from Pacific Divers) celebrated St. Patrick's Day at the dive shop and ended the night at The Staircase. Woohoo!

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  • Go scuba diving!

    I did additional scuba dive training (night diving and underwater digital photography specialties) while in Rarotonga. Most of my diving was done at a site called Edna's Anchor just north from Avarua Harbor. I did my diving with Pacific Divers (located in Muri Beach) and Steve has an excellent dive shop. Highly recommended!

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  • Watching Netball

    I watched some school kids practice netball, which appears to be like basketball minus the backboard.

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  • Fruits of Rarotonga

    Go snorkeling (or practice using new scuba gear as I did) at the Fruits of Rarotonga area of the lagoon. It has the best snorkeling and gets the deepest here as well.

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  • Get a Polynesian Tattoo

    T's Tattoos is a small shop located next to his home. While I wanted a small, Polynesian tattoo made in the old-fashioned way, he only uses an electric needle and creates large designs that "tell a story."

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  • Swimming and Getting Around

    IF you plan on swimming, be sure to have coral reef safe shoes as the ocean floor is covered in coral. Also, you have to rent a scooter - it's fun. But do note you'll need to take a test on your motorscooter and obtain a driver licence!

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  • Watch the fishermen

    At the edge of the reef ...where the waves crash we would see the fishermen with there nets. They would cast out to the deep water and pull in the fish for the evening meal. The waves were often so huge . I wondered how they kept their footing ....somehow they always seemed to.

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  • where the departed souls left for the...

    Black rock is a beautiful coastal area a the west side of Rarotonga. It's easy to spot the huge black rock that rises out of the ocean . It was believed that this spot is where soul's leapt off and journeyed to the fatherland. It's a beautiful and peaceful area.

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  • See the flowers

    There are beautiful blooming shrubs and trees wvery where. You could keep busy just taking pictures of the different Hibuscus....so many colours. It is hard to leave it and go back to ice and snow. Here are pictures of a few!!

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  • Sat morning market

    IN town there is a markey called Punanga Nui Market. I was a little disappointed in that many of the crafts are the same as in the stores and for the same price. There is good local produce though food and baked goods . Loved the coconut buns. There is music too and good people watching!!

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  • Look at the sunset

    I'm a sucker for sunsets anyway. Since we were on the east coast we had to catch it as we went to dinner in the evenings at the other sside of the island. In Rarotonga...that's minutes away!!

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  • Kayaking

    Kayaking is fun around Rarotonga. There are four little islands inside the reef that are quite easy to kayak to. Many of the hotels have kayaks available but its also possible to rent them quite cheaply.We had fun in a two person one.

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  • Arai-Te-Tonga Koutu-nui-Ariki

    Located not far from town there are some ruins of a royal court of an ancient reigning High Chief.This would have been the area where tribal feasts were held. There's a 10 foot platform and a stone pillar quite visible . The area is quite overgrown and you have to use your imagination.

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  • Visit CICC Church

    There are several of these churches around the island .The one in Ngatangiia is built with coral and lime .Inside is very plain with beautiful wood and a balcony that goes all the way around . The music on Sunday is worth rising early for.

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  • Papua Waterfall

    There's a pretty waterfall that you can hike to called Papua Waterfall . YOu can also drive to it if you're lazy like we were in the heat .It's a water intake area and there are signs posted saying " no swimming" . Funny thing is its mentioned in the tourist brochures as a great place for a refreshing swim!! Hummm we didn't drink the water anyway....

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  • Go to Island night

    Island night is a feast with dancing , drums , and good foord. There is a umu ...which is where various meats are roasted in a sand pit!! They roast pork , lamb, beef , chicken , and vegtables. They have a huge buffet set up...desserts are amazing too!!WE ate so much that night!! There are several different island nights to choose from but one of...

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  • Explore Motu Taakoka

    There are little islands near Rarotonga that you can easily kayak to . The first one we went to was Motu Taakoka. In reality you can walk to it as it's so shallow in low tide. It is such a pretty island complete with tall coconut trees. Looks like something from one of those old post cards. I took so many pictures of it . On the far side of the...

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  • Swim at Muri Beach

    The Muri area is on the east coast and is the most popular spot for swimming . There are a few beach resorts and restautants along the beach . Don't get me wrong this isn't Hawaii. It's pretty unspoiled. The sand is pure white and there are times when we didn't see anyone when we swam....oh to be there now!! The reef around the is island makes a...

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  • Go Snorkeling !!

    The whole island of Raratonga is circled by a reef. It's amazing for snorkeling . We saw fish here we had never seen before with amazing colours!! The water is so warm you can just float along and be entertained by the spectacular reef fish . We drove to a bunch of different sites and found we really liked directly infront of a place called The...

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  • SPORTS DAY

    Friday afternoons, business shuts down and the island's attention focus upon the rugby pitches. The main sports field is by the small wharf in Arutanga. Even if you are not a rugby fan, it is well worth your time to watch how the island comes together in the afternoon sun. Watch how sports could be before television money and megamillion salaries...

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  • Beaches and More Beaches

    The beaches are beautiful and usually almoste deserted except at the resorts. Long stretches of beach are great for a nice morning or evening walk. All along the southern part of the island the beaches are sandy and you can watch the surf crashing on the reef out in the distance. On the northern part of the island the beaches are rocky and great...

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  • Watching the World Go By

    Sitting on the deck at Sails on Muri Beach having a nice cold one is a great way to pass a lazy afternoon. There's usually something going on .... sometimes you'll see a team of rowers practicing with their kavaka (I have no idea how to spell it but it's a long boat), maybe the lagoon cruiser will be taking a wedding party over to one of the motos...

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  • Dancing is a way of Life

    The Cook Islanders dance like no other Polynesian people. They are amazing, from the yougest to the oldest - just about everybody dances or has been part of a dance troup. The drumming and singing that accompanies the dancers is also amazing and complete the package. I would recommend and "Island Night" at one of the resorts which includes a buffet...

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  • Go to the market while you're on...

    Punanga Nui Market in Avarua, Rarotonga, is a great place to go early on a Saturday morning. This is the day when there is a fruit and vegetable market out on the roadside and all the craft stalls are open in the inner part of the market. As well, there are freshly baked, delicious looking cakes, BBQs, and herb stalls. The fresh produce on sale at...

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  • Hire a kayak and explore Aitutaki...

    A great way to spend the day (and get some exercise) when you're on Aitutaki, is to hire a kayak and paddle around the lagoon. Three of us hired kayaks from Ranginui's Retreat on O'otu Beach for $15 for as long as we wanted them. Samade also hire kayaks, but they said we couldn't have any as their accommodation was full and they gave their guests...

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  • Snorkelling in the Cook Islands.

    If you take one of the Aitutaki Lagoon cruises, you will get a chance to go snorkelling in some amazingly clear waters. All the cruise companies provide snorkelling gear and towels. If you are staying on Rarotonga, the south coast and areas along the west coast are reputed to have fine sites for snorkelling around coral. Muri lagoon, on the east...

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  • Enjoy a day on Aitutaki Lagoon.

    When in Aitutaki, you must spend as much time as possible on or in the lagoon. The waters there are stunning. The sparkling clear waters dazzle and the picturesque palm fringed islands offer peeks of gleaming white coral sand beaches.Bishop's Cruises is one of several companies offering lagoon cruises. All the companies I rang charged $65 for a day...

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  • Maire Nui Gardens & Cafe

    And then there are the OTHER gardens, also quite lovely, with bridges and pathways down which you can wander.Located in Titikaveka, this cafe offers breakfast, lunch, snacks, expresso, and a view that overlooks the lush botanical gardens towards the mountains.

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  • And while you're there anyway....

    ...don't pass up a cool fruit drink and a delicious lunch at the Ambala Gardens Cafe. They offer a nice assortment of local specialties, and some delicious iced drinks to relieve the heat of the day.There's also a nice selection of artwork created by island residents displayed on the walls, mostly for sale at very reasonable prices.

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  • Ambala Gardens

    Off the beaten track (of which there's only one anyway), beautiful gardens filled with the scent of floral perfumes...jasmine, gardenia, frangipani...I've created a Travelogue for the flowers, all unique, all so lovely.

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  • Lagoon Cruises, Aitutaki

    We took the Bishop Lagoon Cruise. It is basically all day and well worth the time and money. You get to visits some small motos, snorkel and have a great fish BBQ on One Foot Island. You spend a fair amount of time there to enjoy the food and walk around the island. They use small boats, we had eight people on our trip.Take Wet and Wild's Lagoon...

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  • Aitutaki Lagoon Cruise

    A cruise on Aitutaki Lagoon really shouldn't be missed! Usually all cruises are full day and include lunch. You'll get to see some motus (small lagoon islets), like One-Foot-Island and have enough time for snorkelling (gear is provided). There are several operators, but the programs are similar. I did mine with Bishop's and was very satisfied.

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  • Island of Romance & Dreams....

    Aitutaki is the 2nd most popular in the Cook Islands group - but that still doesn't mean there are a lot of people going there!If you can get there, don't miss it. The link listed below will probably answer most of your questions about getting there, history, activites, etc. far better than any of us can. It's a very handy page, put together by the...

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  • Best Sunsets

    The South Pacific is known for its magnificent sunsets. To date, Rarotonga takes first prize for most consistantly beautiful sunsets. Grab a drink, plant your bunns on the beach at 5:30 facing west and enjoy the show.

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  • OTHER BOATS ON THE LAGOON

    You can always use other means to get out on the lagoon besides the lagoon cruise packages. If you brought your folding kayak, you might visit the fringing motus ala Paul Theroux, whose experiences are intelligently elucidated upon in his great book, 'Paddling the Islands of Oceania'. Folding kayaks are indeed a grand way toexpand your horizon here...

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  • PLANE VIEWS OVER THE LAGOON

    The view of the languid waters of the lagoon with white beached motus sprinkled about the coralled fringes is one that will stay with you for many years.

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  • AIRPORT

    Arrival will be on one of the planes of Air Rarotonga which make the 259 km flight north from Rarotonga. The airfield is on the north end of the island and was built like many of the other fields in this region by SeeBees of the US Navy during WWII.There is a small golf course here as well, though it can get quite warm during the afternoon.

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  • BEACHES - REVISITED

    Did I tell you about the wonderous beaches of Aitutaki? Sit out under the Southern Cross and a million other stars in the evening and gaze a skies you can only dream of at home.

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  • CHURCH

    Here on Aitutaki, as throughout the Cooks, the London Missionary Society was successful at converting the population. Aitutaki was the first landfall for missionaries in the Cooks - 1821. There is a small catholic church in Arutanga, but center of predominance falls tothe Cook Islands Christian Church lying just to the south with its white walls of...

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  • TAPUAETAI - ONE FOOT ISLAND

    Turquoise bath waters, dazzling white beaches, this small motu - visited by most lagoon cruises - is the epitome of a beach vacation. This will truly spoil you for other beaches. Tupaetai will become your gold standard.

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  • LAGOON CRUISE

    Even better beaches are visited by the lagoon cruises. Here you spedn a day on the lagoon - a triangular reef of 45 km enscribed a broad lagoon. Snorkelling and lunching on some of the whitest beaches you will ever see.

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Cook Islands Hotels

  • Manuia Beach Boutique Hotel

    PO Box 700, Avarua, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Business

    Hotel Class 3.5 out of 5 stars

  • Etu Moana

    This place is amazing! The service is top notch. The resort is very nice. We were greeted by...

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  • Sea Change Villas

    Main Road, Rarotonga, Titikaveka, Cook Islands

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Families

    Hotel Class 4.5 out of 5 stars

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Cook Islands Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Cook Islands things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Cook Islands sightseeing.
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