Planning a trip for the school break? Or a quick winter getaway? Well, there is plenty of fun things to do on the Cook Islands. Flights go direct between New Zealand and Rarotonga frequently. So, here are 14 of the best things to do in the Rarotonga area while visiting the Cook Islands this year.
1. Muri Lagoon
As one of the most beautiful places on Earth, you can visit the scenic lagoon for a day of swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and chilling out on stunning beaches. Likewise, Muri Beach is an epic experience for families because there is lots of activities. Indeed, one of the greatest things to do in Rarotonga.
2. Captain Tamas Cruises
Why not take an enjoyable cruise on the glass bottom boat to the marine reserve for snorkeling in crystal clear with clams and tropical fish? If you’d rather not get wet, you’ll see the marine life from the boat. This cruise offers an open fire BBQ lunch, coconut husking show and much more to keep you entertained.
3. The Needle
Te Rua Manga or The Needle is a mountain on Rarotonga and one of the best known landmarks on the island. The hike begins on the south of the Harbour, following plenty of sign posts, along a walking track and finishing at the base of the spire. Certainly, it makes a challenging but rewarding hike offering breathtaking views.
4. Night Markets
Discover Cook Islands culture by appeasing your tastebuds at Muri Night Market. Explore various food trucks and stalls while listening to live music. This market displays a diverse collection of food from seafood to BBQ, curries, pizza, dessert and much more. Definitely, some of the best cheap eats on the Cook Islands.
📍 Ngatangiia District, Cook Islands
5. The Aitutaki Lagoon
This popular island hop from Rarotonga is unmissable. With white sandy beaches, aqua blue clear waters, barrier reefs and more…it is totally worth the short 45 minute flight from Rarotonga. Boasting total Maldives vibes, you could do a day trip and be back in your hotel in Rarotonga by nightfall. Otherwise, for some extra glamour, stay at Aitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort in a hut along the sea.
6. Snorkeling at Aroa Marine Reserve
This place is a safe space to snorkel because it is within a coral reef border, so you are protected against any large marine life such as sharks. Consequently, if you are as scared of sharks as myself, now is the perfect time to embrace the snorkeling culture. Enjoy sea life from the surface and expect to see hundreds of species of coloured fish like butterflyfish, parrotfish and plenty more. .
If you like history and culture, you will love the museums on Rarotonga. For example, Cook Islands National Museum has a very informative visual display that parents and kids can enjoy for just $5. Or else, opt to appreciate contemporary artworks at the Kay George Design Gallery.
8. Black Rock Beach
Another fantastic spot to visit on the Cook Islands. When the tide is in, you can dive from the black rocks into the rock pools below. Equally, it is a popular place to watch a majestic sunset. Totally instagrammable! Excitingly, Black Rock is home to a tennis centre, beach volleyball courts and Rarotonga’s only golf course…so you won’t get bored.
9. Wigmores Waterfall
If you plan to trek up to The Needle, pop this swimming attraction on your agenda as it is on the same route. Perhaps, you can visit on the way back from The Needle to cool off after your hike. Chill on the cliff as the water cascades down around you into the swimming hole. How relaxing!
📍 Takitumu District, Cook Islands
10. Raro Buggy Tours
This buggy in the mud experience is perfect for adults looking for adventure. Drive wildly for two hours off the beaten track through mud and prepare to get very dirty. A different kind of experience you would rarely find elsewhere.
11. Titikaveke Beach
This tranquil paradise is a popular place to stay among holiday goers. Surrounded by stunning beaches and ocean views, the water is so clear you can see all the fish swimming. Additionally, there is an array of watersports on offer such as scrub diving, paddle boarding and much more. Sunset presents the most beautiful photo opportunities ever.
12. Night Paddle Lagoon Tours
For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, splash some extra cash on a SUP lagoon tour. Take a paddleboard with coloured neon lights at the bottom, glide across the ocean and take in the epic scenery, awesome sunset and stunning sea life at night. Book your experience via Ariki Adventures.
13. Little Polynesian Resort
This resort might be a little over budget, but you should try to visit for a day. For all those Instagram lovers, it is a fabulous spot for incredible shots from the canapes in the trees on the beach to the infinity pool and legendary sunsets. Additionally, adults can delight in a romantic meal, on the beach, under the stars. This is a must-visit resort in Rarotonga.
📍 Main Road – Titikaveka, Rarotonga, Cook Islands
14. OTB Restaurant & Bar
This award-winning beachfront restaurant provides the ultimate dining experience on the beach. Relax in an amazing atmosphere while chowing down on some of the finest island cuisine. For the most pleasure, pair your meal with some great cocktails. Certainly, one of the best things to do in Rarotonga.
📍 Manuia Beach Resort Main Road, Arorangi District, Cook Islands