Life is laid back on Rarotonga, the most populous of the Cook Islands, but the residents are still an active bunch. Though there are plenty of white sandy beaches on which to laze—and people do, with plenty of napping— locals love to get out and move. Join them in snorkeling, diving, riding—bikes, horses, scooters—fishing, bush walking, and playing squash and tennis. Another popular, if odd, and favorite activity is lining up along the sea wall adjacent to the airport's runway to be jetblasted.
Experience the splendid beauty, culture and history of the Cook Islands during this picturesque excursion through Rarotonga and its environs.
Avarua Sightseeing Drive
Depart the pier for a scenic orientation drive through the main township of Avarua. Along the way, see the historic Banana Court and CITC Department Store, the Empire Theatre, Avatiu & Avarua wharves, National Police Headquarters, the wreck of the SS Matai, coconut trees, the Civic Centre, and the Perfume Factory. From here, continue past the Muri Beachcomber Resort, Avarua Cook Islands Christian Church, Takamoa Theological College, National Auditorium, and Cook Islands Library and Museum before turning onto Ara Metua.
Ara Metua, Avana Passage & Papaaroa Beach
Built in 1050 A.D., Ara Metua is also known as the 'Road of Toi'. Pass by ancient maraes and ceremonial sites that include Arai Te Tonga, as well as old church buildings and verdant plantations. Next, a photo stop is made at the Avana Passage before driving past the Sailing Club, 'Fruits of Raro' marine conservation area and the Maire-Nui Botanical Gardens. Following a brief photo stop at the Titikaveka Cook Islands Christian Church, proceed to Papaaroa Beach for a coconut demonstration and spectacular panoramic views.
Needle Lookout & Arorangi
Leaving Papaaroa Beach, take in breath-taking views from the Needle Lookout in the mountains and pass by the Rarotongan Beach Resort and Spa. Your tour concludes with a drive through the district of Arorangi. Here, learn about the legend of Raemaru Mountain, pass by the Arorangi Cook Islands Christian Church and Primary School, Tinomana Palace, the Village Hall and Prison, then head to the Black Rock ancient burial site.
After a photo stop here, re-board your coach and pass by the Weather Office and Parliament buildings en route to the pier.
Please note: Due to local insurance limitations, we are only able to offer these select three tours in our programme in Rarotonga. The cost of providing a tour programme in Rarotonga is proportionately more expensive than in neighbouring nations. Unfortunately this is reflected in the proices of the tours and we thank you for your understanding. This tour involves a minimal amount of walking for approximately 50 yards (about 46 metres), with a few steps to negotiate to get on/off the coach. This tour is suitable for guests with limited mobility, but is not wheelchair-accessible. Lightweight, comfortable clothing, flat, sturdy walking shoes and sun protection are recommended. The tour sequence may vary.
Experience a side of Rarotonga not typically seen by most visitors to the island during this picturesque, off-road sightseeing excursion.
Depart the pier in a Jeep with your guide for the scenic drive up towards the Avatiu Valley. En route, receive your safety and tour briefing, and take in stunning vistas of the terrain valleys, lush, tropical lagoons, inland villages and secluded areas. At a height of approximately 984 feet (about 300 metres) above sea level, a breath-taking panoramic views of the rainforest unfolds.
Island Sightseeing & Wigmore's Waterfall
Next, traverse the rugged, steep back roads, and stop off at the top of a hill for more stunning views. From here, ride back down the hill towards the west side of the island. En route, travel inland to Wigmore's Waterfall and stop for photos before making a comfort stop at Papaaroa Beach.
Avana & Maraes
Your drive continues on towards Seven Rocks and the vaka-canoe departure point. Afterward, proceed for a photo stop at Avana, then turn inland to Arai Te Tonga. Here, see and learn about 'maraes', and take in spectacular views of your surroundings.
Following your visit, re-board your coach and commence the scenic, approximately 35-minute drive back to the pier.
Please note: Due to local insurance limitations, we are only able to offer these select three tours in our programme in Rarotonga. The cost of providing a tour programme in Rarotonga is proportionately more expensive than in neighbouring nations. Unfortunately this is reflected in the proices of the tours and we thank you for your understanding. This tour involves an extensive amount of off-road travel and a moderate amount of walking over bumpy, uneven terrain, with four steps to negotiate to get on/off the Jeep. This tour is not suitable for guests requiring a wheelchair, those with back and/or neck problems, limited mobility or pregnant women. Lightweight, comfortable clothing, sturdy, closed-toe walking shoes and sunscreen are recommended.
Explore the unique culture, traditions and beauty of Rarotonga through the eyes of a traditional medicine man during this memorable eco-tour.
Avarua Township & Pa's Residence
Depart the pier with your guide, Pa, a renowned local medicine man, for a narrated sightseeing drive to his residence on the eastern side of the island. En route, Pa takes you through Avarua Township and discusses the history of the area whilst passing by old Colonial churches, plantations and graveyards. Upon arrival at Pa's residence, he leads you on a guided tour of his residence and gardens. View the medicinal plants, learn about their health benefits and observe a demonstration of medicinal solutions using a variety of natural remedies.
Nature Hike & Scenic Island Drive
Next, relax with a platter of seasonal tropical fruit before joining Pa for a guided nature hike into the lush interior. Along the way, Pa introduces you to the many varieties of local flora and fauna as taught to him by his grandmother, and passed down from generation-to-generation. He also explores their medicinal uses, the history of Polynesia and spiritual beliefs of his people.
Your tour concludes with a one-hour narrated sightseeing drive around the island before returning to the pier.
Please note: Due to local insurance limitations, we are only able to offer these select three tours in our programme in Rarotonga. The cost of providing a tour programme in Rarotonga is proportionately more expensive than in neighbouring nations. Unfortunately this is reflected in the prices of the tours and we thank you for your understanding. This tour involves an extensive amount of activity and walking for approximately 104 yards (about 95 metres), at times over uneven surfaces, with four steps to negotiate to get on/off the coach. This tour is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or those who utilise a wheelchair. Lightweight, comfortable clothing, sturdy, closed-toe walking shoes and sunscreen are recommended. Space on this tour is very limited; we suggest you book in advance to avoid disappointment.