The Cook Islands offer a range of attractions and activities for the whole family. From snorkelling, to boat charters, fishing, walking trails, art studios and more. You will never be bored in the Cook Islands, whether you're looking for adventure or simply a quiet beach to relax on.

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About Cook Islands

Things to do in the Cook Islands

Visit the Cook Islands Whale and Wildlife Centre

The Cook Islands Whale and Wildlife Centre is open 10am to 4pm Sunday through to Friday (only closed Saturdays) and is located on Back Road, Atupa opposite Mike Tavioni Carving. Heading to town, from Avatiu Harbour, turn right into Avatiu Road (cross Island Trek Road) and after 400 metres at the T junction turn right again and you will find the centre 500 metres on left. It is less than 1km from town.

The Centre renovation has been a team effort by people passionate about whales and wildlife to share the wonders of the Cook Islands biodiversity and leave all the visitors to Rarotonga with a part of the magic that happens here especially when the Humpback Whales visit. You'll be amazed by how much you see and learn. Everyone loves to watch the eels, freshwater prawns and coconut crabs – don't get too close, they're pretty big! Children can also pick up a small hermit crab.

Feel shark skin, listen to whales singing, use a microscope, feel a whale fin, find a stone fish, touch shark teeth, see dinosaur teeth, sit on a whale bone, find out what a cookie cutter shark is, look at the most dangerous creature in the ocean... A BIG screen shows whale footage around Rarotonga and there are many other awesome documentaries to choose from. There's a coffee shop and souvenir shop attached so it's a one stop shop. Plenty of toys and activities for children while parents relax with a herbal tea or coffee, there is something for everyone!

Visit the Dive Rarotonga 5 Star Centre

We are the only multi-agency certifying dive centre in the country, so we are able to offer the widest range of internationally recognised diving courses and qualifications in the Cook Islands. We also have the highest qualified instructors available in the country for the top two international diver training agencies.

At Dive Rarotonga we offer quality diving in a fun and friendly atmosphere – so whether these are your first bubbles, you are already qualified and you are diving for fun, or you want to progress your professional diving career, we have dives to suit you!

For more information and to book online visit www.diverarotonga.com.

Visit the Marlin Queen Fishing Charters

Fishing aboard Marlin Queen is the ultimate game fishing experience in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. A successful blend of Rarotonga's best known and most trusted Captain (Junior) with a purpose built deep sea boat means a day out on the ocean doesn't get any better! We work extra hard to make sure your fishing trip is and unforgettable experience! Rain, hail or shine – we go fishing!

If it's your dream to catch big fish, you will not find a more dedicated team to help you do it! As soon as you leave the Avatiu Harbour the water gets very deep, very quickly so no time is wasted in getting those lures into the water to find the "Big Ones"! Within minutes of leaving the harbour you are fishing. Sit back, relax and enjoy the spectacular view of the island in a safe and relaxed atmosphere – unless of course you are on our "early bird" trip which leaves at 5.30am.

The fishing in Rarotonga is great all year round and our well equipped boat has everything you will need! Whether you're a novice or experience angler your enjoyment is guaranteed. We provide refreshments, snacks, comprehensive safety equipment, flush toilet and use the latest Shimano fishing gear! Captain Junior is famous for making his own lures – guaranteed to attract the Big Ones!

Shared and private charters are available and you can choose whether you want to fish for a half day or full day! Our minimum is one person and for larger groups (over 10) we can even organize your own "inter-boat" fishing competition, loads of fun for the competitive at heart! We will even organize prizes and a trophy if you wish. Why not make it an annual event!

Take the Takitumu Nature Walk

The Takitumu Conservation Area (TCA) is a 155-hectare (385 acre) forested area consisting of three main valleys (Turoa, Totokoitu and Avana) on the interior of the island's south-east side. In addition to being home to the Kakerori (Rarotonga flycatcher), an endangered endemic bird species, the TCA's ecosystems also include about 70 percent of all plant species found in inland Rarotonga.

The TCA is also home to the other three land birds native to the island – the Rupe (Pacific Pigeon), the Kukupa (Fruit Dove), and the I'oi (Rarotonga Starling). So keep a look out for them as you stroll through the brilliant scenery.

Situated within the Takitumu district, it is a non-government community-based project to conserve plants and animals, with a strong emphasis on participation by local people. The area is owned and managed by the landowners (Ngati Kainuku, Karika and Manavaroa) and consists of a coordinating committee with representatives from the three landowning groups.

Take a trip on Tropicbird Sailing Tours

Experience our friendly and informative introduction to Rarotonga – to the marine ecology and history of the 'jewel in the crown' of the Cook Islands as we chart our way around the outer reef, using the Pacific tradewinds on our eco-friendly and classic sailing vessel, a 36 foot trimaran; the modern day equivalent of the traditional Polynesian Vaka.

Sea life includes huge varieties of fish, turtles and migratory humpback whales that visit Rarotonga from July to October on their route through the Cook Islands. The whales love to swim very close to this unthreatening sailing vessel, although we ensure we keep a respectful distance.

You will be looked after by our friendly local crew who will endeavor to make your time aboard as memorable as possible!

Take a hike on Pa's Trek

Join Pa as he takes a guided walking and hiking tour of the interiors of Rarotonga. Learn about the local medicine plants used by his ancestors. Referred to by many publications as the South Pacific's most famous experienced guide, Pa will recite stories of wars, famines and great migrations as passed to him by his forefathers. The Nature Walk is a lot less strenuous and suitable for all. Again Pa will provide a running commentary on the many uses for the local fauna and flora as well as a brief insight into the history and culture of his people.

Join him at the summit of the needle and enjoy the views from this vantage point, then trek down to the waterfall and trek through to the western coast. This is a great all day excursion. Pa's nature walk is ideal for those who can negotiate some rugged terrain. There is no climbing involved. On the Nature Walk, Pa will explain the culture of his ancestors as well as some practical applications for the many fauna and flora found along the walk.

Take a cruise with Koka Lagoon Cruises

Don't miss an awesome day out with Koka Lagoon Cruises. Cruise on their glass bottom boat through Muri lagoon to the marine reserve. Swim and snorkel through the coral gardens viewing tropical fish, giant clams and the stonefish enclosures. Relax to onboard ukulele playing and singalong by the talented crew. Enjoy a delicious fish bbq on Koromiri island. Be treated to a spectacular coconut tree climbing show and cultural demonstration. A fantastic experience for visitors of all ages. A percentage of all sales is donated to marine conservation.

Koka Lagoon Cruises Operates: Sunday - Friday 10am (approx for 3.5 hours) Saturday cruises available subject to numbers. The Cruise includes: hotel transfers, snorkeling equipment and BBQ lunch. Please bring your own : beach towels, swimwear, sunscreen, camera.

Visit Moana Gems Jewelery Shop

Moana Gems takes pride in being a company owned and staffed by Cook Islanders helping to sustain Cook Islands pearl farming families. Moana Gems is an accredited retailer of the AVAIKI Cook Islands Pearl Brand selling the best quality of black pearls cultured in the remote and pristine lagoon of Manihiki in our Northern Group islands, an island with a population of approximately 400 people for whom pearl farming is their lifeblood.

AVAIKI Cook Islands pearls are entirely free of any chemical enhancements and the colors variations are naturally occurring. As well as black, you'll find AVAIKI Cook Islands pearls come in grey, blue, brown, black green, green and peacock – a reflection of the colors of the Polynesian lagoons. While some cultured pearls are treated or irradiated or dyed to achieve a more desirable color, all the colors of AVAIKI Cook Islands Pearls are naturally occurring.

Every purchase of a Cook Islands Black Pearl from Moana Gems is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity guaranteeing the origin and quality of the pearl piece purchased.

Pearls and jewelery grace the jewelery cabinets of Moana Gems and artwork by Judith Kunzle and Glenn Miller grace the walls. Judith's work is inspired by movement bringing alive the energy and grace of Cook Islands dance. Glenn is inspired by nature and the blending of motifs of both Cook Islands Maori and New Zealand Maori culture.

As well Moana Gems is the exclusive outlet for intricately hand carved, traditionally designed Mangaian ceremonial adzes carved by Allan Tuara from the island of Mangaia, the southern most island of the Cooks. Stylish Pearl Jewelery and Cook Islands art – a combination of artistic creativity.

Take a Fishing Trip with Delano's Adventure Fishing

Our Game Fishing boats "Delano"; 12m Jim Young Vindex and "Mee Laydee"; 6m Haines Hunter, are equipped to provide your Game Fishing experience in comfort. Both boats are recent to the Cook Islands waters operating under local owner; with crew, quickly establishing a reputable Cook Islands Game Fishing status.

No lengthy transit to the fishing ground setting lines on departure from the wharf. On its day the Cook Islands waters are second to none providing action filled fishing with a tropical island backdrop. Be in with a chance to catch (in season) Billfish, Mai-mai, Tuna and Wahoo. Any catch belongs to the boat; clients will receive fillets on departure.

Our services include:

  • 5 hour mixed Game Fishing and Private Charters (full day available), light lunch included.
  • Coastal Cruises suitable for Whale Watching (in season), on water family island tours, group functions (Stag/Hen/work parties), charters tailored to suit your needs.
  • Boat hire for clients providing their own fishing tackle such as Spearfishing.
  • Minimum/Maximum Operating Numbers-– Mee Laydee 2 - 4pax; Delano 4 - 12pax.
  • Catering available on request.

Take a Raro Safari 4WD Tour

Over a decade of quality and professional service with a smile and best value for your dollar. Get off the beaten track and visit places where only a 4WD can go. Raro Safari Tours is Rarotonga's premium soft adventure tour for all ages and those with disabilities. Visit mountain tops and enjoy fantastic panoramic views of the lagoon and sweeping valleys. Head inland and see how our ancestors lived. Stop for a refreshing tropical lunch while enjoying the breathtaking lagoon view.

Some of the tours include:

  • Our ancient road, the Are metua, built and paved with volcanic slabs by our ancestors Toi and Atonga.
  • Papua Waterfall, also known as Wigmore's Waterfall.
  • The sacred site Te Arai-Te-Tonga Marae.
  • The interior of the beautiful green Avatiu Valley leading to a close-up view of the Needle (Te Rua Manga).

Take a Green Fingers Garden Tour

Enjoy the tropical foliage and vegetation of Rarotonga with an experienced gardener. Visit some of the islands loveliest gardens of orchids, anthodiums, palms and local herbs. Learn about our agriculture and planting methods at the market garden, walk through carefully landscaped gardens filled with tropical plants and enjoy the many different scents of Polynesia. The Green Fingers Garden tour includes a light lunch.

Visit Te Vara Nui Village

The Cook Islands greeting Kia Orana, "may you live on" reflects the beauty not only of our islands but also of our Cook Islands people. At Te Vara Nui Village you will meet local Maori people who will share their stories, knowledge and heritage with you during the Cultural Village Tour.

Finish with Rarotonga's finest dancers and musicians as they perform by flaming torchlight on the floating and fixed stages of our waterfall garden. You will enjoy our delicious Umu buffet. This stunning show reflects the experience of our village delivering an electric and authentic cultural performance like no other on the island!

Te Vara Nui Village has something for everyone; inspiring fun, authentic entertainment, activity and wonder. It is your Cook Islands number one experience and not to be missed! Quite simply, the Te Vara Nui cultural experience will capture your soul and heart, leaving you awed from its dazzling backdrop and dramatic performance.

This special place of tribute to our distinctive culture and its breathtaking setting will remain in your memory long after you return home.

Visit Atiu Fibre Arts Studio

Since 1986, Atiu Fibre Arts Studio has promoted traditional and contemporary Cook Islands textile art. The studio has been famous for its exquisite bed and wall tivaivai (traditional patchwork coverlets). Today you will find in the studio gallery unique works that unite Polynesian and European cultures, skillfully blend locally-found natural and man-made materials, such as tapa (bark cloth), bark fibre or shells, and combine art with exquisite craftsmanship.

Textile enthusiasts, who like to experience the peace and quiet of island life, can book custom-designed tuition in traditional and contemporary Cook Islands and European textile techniques. These classes can be requested either individually or in small groups, and can be held in Spanish, English, or German language at the studio's spacious workshop.

Visit Atiu Coffee Factory

Atiu Coffee Factory was established in 1984. The company manages two plantations of a total of 32 acres. We produce pure, organically grown, 100% sun-dried and hand sorted Arabica coffee processed in the factory on Atiu. We also offer a blend of 50% locally grown and 50% imported Arabica coffees of the highest quality. Atiu Coffee Factory roasts freshly only on incoming orders and sells Atiu Coffee™ exclusively in high quality sealed bags with a one-way valve for preservation of freshness. We supply whole beans and ground coffee as dark or medium roasts.

On special request, we also produce a delicious espresso roast. We also provide mail-order service to our national and international customers overseas. On request, tours can be provided to the plantation and factory. The tour is full of interesting facts about the drink that so many of us take for granted but know so little about.

The tour ends at the Atiu Fibre Arts Studio with a coffee tasting session and the chance to browse around the gallery's exquisite traditional and contemporary textile art.

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