Rarotonga regional information. Rarotonga is the main island in the Cook Islands, located in the South Pacific Ocean. Rarotonga tourism information provides you with everything you need to know to come and holiday in Rarotonga. Rarotonga travel information includes accommodation, popular activities and attractions, climate, transport and much more.

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Rarotonga, Cook IslandsRarotonga - Regional Information

Rarotonga | Regional Information | Activity Highlights | Scenic Highlights | History | Dining

Rarotonga is the capital island of the Cook Islands, located in the South Pacific Ocean. Avarua is the main town of Rarotonga.

Rarotonga Overview

The Cook Islands lie north-east of New Zealand, between French Polynesia and Fiji and were first settled in the 6th century AD by Polynesian people, who migrated from Tahiti. Nowadays, the population is just under 20,000, although many more Cook Islanders live in New Zealand.

Rarotonga is a popular holiday destination, and the main island in the Cook Islands. Avarua is the Capital of the Cook Islands, located on Rarotonga.

The Islands of the Cook Islands

There are fifteen major islands in the Cook Islands, which are divided into two distinct groups of coral atolls: the Southern Cook Islands and the Northern Cook Islands. The islands were formed by volcanic activity; the northern group is older and consists of six atolls (sunken volcanoes topped by coral growth).

Southern Cook Islands

The southern group of islands is made up of:

  • Aitutaki (Araura Enua)
  • Atiu (Enua Manu or Island of Birds)
  • Mangaia (Auau Enua)
  • Manuae
  • Ma'uke (Akatokamanava)
  • Mitiaro (Nukuroa)
  • Nga-pu-Toru (Three Roots, the group name for the easternmost islands of the Southern Cook Islands)
  • Palmerston Island (Pamati)
  • Rarotonga (Tumutevarovaro)
  • Takutea
  • Winslow Reef (submerged)

Northern Cook Islands

The northern group of islands is made up of:

  • Manihiki (Te Fuinga O niva)
  • Nassau
  • Penrhyn Island (Tongareva or Mangarongaro)
  • Pukapuka (Te ulu o te watu)
  • Rakahanga (Tapuahua)
  • Suwarrow also called Suvorov
  • Tema Reef (submerged)

The Cook Islands enjoy a moderate to tropical climate and as severe weather is seldom experienced, this makes the Cook Islands a great all-year round destination. The rainy season is between November and March (average temperature 28°C). The dryer, cooler season is between April and October (average temperature 20°C).

Rarotonga generally experiences a slightly cooler climate than its neighbouring Cook Islands.

Rarotonga provides visitors with a safe and relaxing destination, but care should be taken on the roads, particularly at night

There are limited ATM and medical facilities on Rarotonga. Water is untreated, so bottled water is advisable.

Mobile phone coverage is available in Rarotonga. Travellers from New Zealand, Australia and Samoa can arrange roaming with their mobile phone networks or a Cook Islands' SIM card and top-up cards can be purchased.

Rarotonga Highlights

The Cook Islands are truly a beautiful haven of calm and a great place to enjoy 'island time' when you need to escape from the pressures of every day life. Although Cook Islanders have access to 'modern' life, cable television and DVDs, their traditions and culture have not been swamped. Far from it, as traditional dance, music, song and crafts remain very important to most Cook Islanders.

A few Rarotongan highlights for visitors include:

  • Enjoying a island night dance show
  • Exploring Rarotonga by bike or four-wheel drive
  • Swimming in the Muri Lagoon
  • Hiking to the Needle on the Cross-Island Track
  • Snorkelling is at Titikaveka on the southeast side of Rarotonga
  • Visiting the picture postcard, Aitutaki Lagoon for a day or an extended trip
  • Joining a Sunday service at the Cook Islands Christian Church

Main Centres on Rarotonga Island

  • Avarua - Capital of the Cook Islands

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