Places to See on Rarotonga
The perfect island vacation getaway, Rarotonga is an amazing place to tour. For such a small island, there are plenty of places here to see and explore. From historical buildings to sunken shipwrecks, Rarotonga has it all and the best part is that since the island is so tiny, getting around is pretty easy as well.
One of the most famous places to visit on the island has to be the Parliament Building located just opposite the Air Rarotonga Terminal. Built in 1974, this building houses the offices of the prime minister and various other ministers as well. Stop by when you are touring the island and you may even get the chance to watch parliament in session. The best part of visiting here is that you get to sit just 3 meters away from the prime minister. If parliament is not in session, the Sergeant at Arms usually gives you a short tour of the building.
If you are a golfing enthusiast then a visit to the Rarotonga Golf Club is a must. Play this unusual nine-hole course with its lush green fairways for NS$ 15 a round. If you don’t have your clubs don’t to worry, the Club rents out golf club sets for NZ$ 15. Open Monday to Friday from 8 am to 4 pm, the Rarotonga Golf Club also has a great bar where you can chill out after your game.
The Cook Islands Cultural Village sits some 7 km from Avarua and is a great place to visit especially if you want to learn more about the culture of this country. A wonderful way to spend the day, this village showcases many aspects of Maori and Polynesian culture and is followed up by a traditional meal with music and dancing.
The town of ‘Arorangi is just down the road from the Cultural Village with the main place of interest here being the CICC (Cook Islands Christian Church) that was built in 1849. High atop a hill behind ‘Arorangi is Highland Paradise where the original Tinomana people of Rarotonga lived before Christianity arrived. There is a huge botanical garden here to tour as well as an ancient marae.
On the southern coast of Rarotonga, east of the abandoned Sheraton resort site, you will find the beautiful Wigmore’s Waterfall. A gorgeous place to spend a quiet few hours, you can swim in the refreshing natural pool created here by the waterfall.
Muri Beach and its lagoon offer some of the best swimming, diving and snorkeling on Rarotonga. The Rarotonga Sailing Club is based here as well as a number of equipment rental shops and an excellent array of restaurants, making it one of the most popular places to visit on the island.
Avana Harbor just north of Muri is a historically significant place to tour, as it was from this spot that the Maori canoes left for New Zealand in the 14th century. There is a well preserved marae here which in days gone by was used to bless mariners before they set off on their journeys.
Just outside of Avarua lies another important marae that is definitely worth seeing. The Arai-Te-Tonga Marae is the most important marae on Rarotonga and was where many ancient religious ceremonies were once held. Still considered by many as a sacred site even today, do not walk on this marae.
In Avarua itself there are a number of interesting places that are also worth a visit. The Seven-In-One Coconut Tree, Papeiha’s Stone, the Para O Tane Palace, the shipwreck of Maitai and the Library and Museum Society are some of the most well known visitor sites.