Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
Rarotonga is the capital of the Cook Islands, a group of 15 islands located in the South Pacific. The Cook Islands have a total land area of 92 square miles and are scattered over an ocean area the size of India. The Cook Islands were settled by Polynesians over 1,200 years ago and were eventually named after Captain James Cook, who first sighted several of the islands in the 1770s. Annexed by New Zealand in 1901, they attained independence on the 4th August 1965.
Rarotonga has a population of less than 10,000 and a circumference of just 32km (20 miles). It is almost completely surrounded by coral reef, creating a calm, protected lagoon. The interior boasts lush mountains and tropical rain forests.
The island offers a host of activities including hiking, biking, snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, tennis and golf. There are a variety of tours and sight-seeing excursions to choose from - or while away the day on the pristine white sand beaches and in the stunning lagoon.
Air New Zealand offers flights to Rarotonga from Auckland, New Zealand, Sydney, Australia, and Los Angeles, CA, USA. In addition, Virgin Australia and Jetstar also offer several flights a week from Auckland, New Zealand. There is also a weekly flight from Papeete, Tahiti on Air Tahiti Nui.
Palm Grove provides on-site motorbike and car rentals. There is also a local bus service with a bus stop at the property. Bicycles are available for rent on the island and there are several local taxis. Palm Grove can arrange airport transfers for both international and domestic flights.
The Cook Islands uses New Zealand currency. There are two banks in Avarua (town) for currency exchange and other banking needs, as well as a Western Union. There are several ATMs on the island, including one just a short walk from Palm Grove. Most stores and restaurants accept credit cards.
There are a variety of wonderful restaurants on Rarotonga serving local and international cuisine. The Yellow Hibiscus, Palm Grove's on-site restaurant, is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with live music 3 nights a week. Daily tropical breakfast buffet is complimentary for all guests.
Stores in Avarua (town) are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm, and Saturday from 9am to noon. Most shops around the island are open on Sundays. Don't miss the Punanga Nui local craft market every Saturday morning!
Tours and activities
Rarotonga offers a wide range of tours and activities and our receptionist can help you with any enquiries or bookings. Tours and activities include scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, sunset cruises, whale watching (in season), kite-surfing, SUP, lagoon cruises, safari tours, buggy tours, ATV tours, progressive dinners, island nights, cycling tours, cross island treks, conservation area tours, scenic flights, spa excursions, and more.
Local music and dancing
Enjoy an Island Night during your visit! Featuring local food, music and dancing, they are performed at several island venues each week. We highly recommend the Sunset Feast and Show at Highland Paradise Cultural Centre.
Rarotonga has a 24-hour hospital which caters to both appointments and walk-ins. There are several pharmacies on the island, and several private doctors.
Diseases and pests
There are no poisonous animals or insects in the Cook Islands, and dengue fever is not indigenous here. We'd recommend you bring mosquito repellent, but all of our rooms are fully screened and we have the property sprayed regularly.
Rarotonga has warm temperatures all year-round. But, as with other places, our summer is warmer than our winter. You can expect daytime winter temps of 27°c/80°f, and daytime summer temps of 32°c/88°f.