Last updated on March 9th, 2022
It’s time to stretch your legs and do some hiking in Rarotonga.
On your third day in Rarotonga, you’ll experience the island’s rugged and uninhabited interior by crossing the island from north to south on the Cross Island Track. It’s the most popular hike in Rarotonga, steeply leading you up the dense forest to catch 360 degrees views of the island from a towering cliff known as ‘The Needle’. When you’ve managed to pull yourself away from this spot, head back down through the forest, crossing a river and finishing off with a refreshing splash at Wigmore’s Waterfall. The Rarotonga Travel Guide has all the logistical information and time-saving options.
After such a sweaty but rewarding start to your day, treat yourself to well-deserved lunch at the Tahiti Cafe on the outskirts of Avarua. This was another one of my favorite places to eat in Rarotonga, serving delicious and authentic fish dishes French Polynesia style.
Head back to the beach, your cottage or wherever else you feel like relaxing for a few hours. As the day draws to a close, drive to Aroa Beach on the west coast of the island. This area is known as ‘the sunset side’, and you’ll be treated to a memorable display of strong orange and red colors as the sun drifts in the general direction of Australia.
To really see the sunset in style, grab a drink at the Shipwreck Hut. It’s the best beach bar in Rarotonga and just happens to be perfectly situated for awesome sunsets. Live music happens on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and don’t forget to try the local Matutu Beer.
You’ll take it relatively easy today, preparing your own breakfast if self-catering or heading to Fruits Of Rarotonga for a giant cup of tropical smoothie. Make landfall on the soft sand of Titikaveka Beach and spend a few hours in one of those stereotypical dream tropical beaches.
The best section of the beach is just in front of the Little Polynesian Resort, and that’s also where you’ll enjoy a poolside lunch. Gaze out to the ocean and unwind, as the palm tree branches sway in the gentle breeze.
If you’re up for some adventure, head up the mountain to Highland Cultural Paradise. This used to be the site of a massive village belonging to the Tinomana tribe, covered by nature for centuries after being abandoned. These days, the High Chief’s ancestors have begun the process of rediscovering their historical land, while opening up the village to guided tours and island nights. It’s a is a great way for both adults and children to learn about the ancient Cook Islands culture and here’s a full review.
For dinner, head to the Muri Night Market. Thursdays are the best evenings to visit, with lots of local food stalls and live entertainment. It’s a place for casual dining, where you’ll share tables with other visitors from around the world.