Welcome to Rarotonga
The largest of the Cook Islands, Rarotonga is home to nearly
three quarters of the archipelago's 20,000 citizens, most of whom
live in settlements along the coast. Home of the capital, Avarua,
the island is also the most popular tourist destination in the Cook
Avarua is the only major town, and with a population of only
5,000 even that is small and contains a few restaurants, bars and
shops. Rarotonga's attractions are not urban ones, however, but lie
in the spectacular natural beauty of the island. The interior of
Rarotonga is a stunning mixture of jagged mountains and lush green
jungles that give way to the sparkling white sand beaches before
meeting the clear blue waters of the South Pacific.
Snorkelling and scuba diving, along with other watersports, are
the most popular activities in Rarotonga. The circular island is
nearly surrounded by coral reefs that contain tropical fish,
octopi, eels, and other colourful marine life. Aroa Lagoon, Fruits
of Rarotonga Beach, and Black Rock are popular areas for
snorkelling and scuba diving. The reefs and lagoons make Rarotonga
less than ideal for surfing, but creates perfectly calm areas for
swimming, like the idyllic Muri Lagoon.
Information & Facts
Cook Island Maori is widely spoken by locals, but English
is in common use.
The currency of the Cook Islands is the New Zealand Dollar
(NZD). Foreign currency exchange is available at the airport and
two banks in Avarua, ATMs are also available in Avarua and are
slowly becoming more widespread. American Express, Visa and
MasterCard are accepted at restaurants and hotels in the main
towns, and travellers cheques in small denominations as well as
major foreign currencies can be exchanged at larger shops and
hotels. Banks are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 3pm. Australian
dollars are the preferred currency for travellers cheques.
Local time is GMT -10.