While Rarotonga is the largest of the Cook Islands, the 15-island nation in the South Pacific, it remains one of the most detached parts of the earth. Volcanic peaks, ridges and rainforest dominate its interior, surrounded by glorious white beaches and a halo of flame-orange coral reef.
A 32km, round-the-island road links the island’s beaches, coastal lagoon and stunning reefs that make scuba diving and snorkelling so popular here. Many visitors go in search of the Kakeroi Bird, which can only be found on Rarotonga, or explore the Cross-Island Track, a rugged hiking trail that passes the 650m Te Rua Manga peak, or ‘The Needle’.
Rarotonga is also awash with history. Its ancient marae (traditional meeting places), monuments and beautifully-preserved coral churches, ensure this South Pacific gem is wonder to explore.
Rarotonga is home to picturesque lagoons fringed by white sandy beaches and living coral reefs. The best-known lagoon on the island is Muri Lagoon; a popular location amongst visitors for swimming and snorkelling. Within the lagoon it is possible to spot a variety of tropical fish and coral.
Takitumu Conservation Area
Located in south east Rarotonga, the Takitumu Conservation Area is a haven for bird enthusiasts. The conservation area, which is also a tropical rainforest, was established in 1996 in an attempt to protect native plants, animals and birds, including the endangered Kakeori bird, which is only found on Rarotonga.
One of the best locations in Rarotonga for swimming and snorkelling, the beautiful Aroa Beach is home to the Lagoonarium – a natural marine reserve, home to colourful and inquisitive marine life.