Top ChoiceBeach in Around the Island

Muri

Muri

With its four motu (islets), Muri is the most beautiful section of Rarotonga’s encircling lagoon. The blue water is packed with tropical fish, especially around the motu (Taakoka, Koromiri, Oneroa and Motutapu),...

Top ChoicePolynesian in Around the Island

Vaima Restaurant & Bar

Perched near a sandy beach on the island’s south coast, Vaima is one of Rarotonga’s best eateries and bookings are essential. The stylish dining room features local artworks, and there's a beachfront patio and...

Top ChoiceSandwiches in Around the Island

Mooring

Tuck into tuna and mahi mahi sandwiches on grilled Turkish bread at this funky blue shipping container on the edge of Avana Lagoon. Variations include Tijuana Tuna or Cajun Spiced, and other goodies include...

Cafe in Around the Island

LBV

Come for a morning combo of an espresso and a cinnamon doughnut or chocolate brioche – LBV is the best bakery for many miles – and then return for a more leisurely lunch of Caprese salad, or dinner of seafood...

Cafe in Around the Island

Saltwater Cafe

This roadside eatery on the south coast at Titikaveka is a great place for lunch or a cold drink. The menu includes pad Thai and garlic prawns, and there's also cold beer and punchy tropical cocktails. The...

Cultural Centre in Around the Island

Highland Paradise Cultural Centre

High above ‘Arorangi, Highland Paradise stands on the site of the old Tinomana village with panoramic views over the west and south coasts. Members of the Pirangi family, descendants of Tinomana Ariki, take...

Notable Building in Around the Island

Te Vara Nui Cultural Village

Te Vara Nui combines a purpose-built village showcasing local culture including traditional medicine, carving, tapa making and legends, with one of Rarotonga’s most spectacular Island Nights. After-dark shows...

International in Around the Island

Tamarind House

The most elegant place to dine on Rarotonga is this colonial building on the island’s north shore. Book a table on the grand verandah and enjoy the cool evening breeze with an inspired fusion of European, Asian...

Polynesian in Around the Island

Progressive Dining

Eat your way around the island during this progressive dinner held in locals’ homes. The relaxed, easygoing occasions run to three courses across four to five hours and include live music and visits to gardens...

Body Art in Around the Island

Croc Tatau

Englishman ‘Croc’ is the only man on Rarotonga crafting tata’u (tattoos) the traditional way, using pigment and hand tools. Check out his blog (www.croctatau.wordpress.com) for information and photos. He’s...

Fusion in Around the Island

Sails Restaurant

Overlooking the sands and sea of Muri Lagoon, breezy Sails is an open-air bistro-bar serving light breakfast and lunchtime fare, and heartier evening meals daily. Try the island-style fries with the yellowfin...

Waterfall in Around the Island

Wigmore’s Waterfall

On the eastern edge of the abandoned Sheraton resort site, a road leads inland to Wigmore’s Waterfall, a lovely cascade dropping into a fresh, cool swimming pool. Note that in the dry season, the cascade can be...

Asian in Around the Island

Rickshaw

Variations on dishes you enjoyed in Bangkok and Hanoi feature at this pan-Asian eatery. Reserve a spot on the breezy deck and feast on beef rendang, Vietnamese squid or Singapore chilli prawns. Covering lots of...

Historic Site in Around the Island

Arai-Te-Tonga Marae

A small sign points off the road to the island’s most important marae site, Arai-Te-Tonga. Situated just off the Ara Metua, there’s a stone-marked koutu (ancient open-air royal courtyard) site in front of you....

Cafe in Around the Island

Fruits of Rarotonga

Homemade jams and tropical chutneys are divine at this shop opposite Tikioki beach, but it’s good for cakes and fruit juices too. Kayaks are available for hire (NZ$5 per hour), and you can leave gear here when...

Fast Food in Around the Island

Vili's

Colourful outdoor tables, winning smiles from the kitchen team, and rocking Pacific ukulele beats combine at this humble spot on Muri's main drag. The fish burger is massive, so consider taking one of the beach...

Fish & Chips in Around the Island

Flying Boat Fish & Chips

Tuck into Raro’s best fish and chips at this funky reconfigured fishing boat. The lagoon’s waters are just metres away, and cheap-as-chips drinks are available from the bar at the adjacent Game Fishing Club. The...

Bar in Around the Island

Shipwreck Hut

The Shipwreck Hut is a wonderfully rustic spot with an absolute waterfront location. There’s regular live music, great pub meals and barbecue dinners, and it’s a top west-coast location to watch Rarotonga’s...

Museum in Around the Island

Cook Islands Whale & Wildlife Centre

Visit this centre to learn about whales and other wildlife frequenting the Cook Islands. It’s an essential stop if you’re planning on going whale watching, and the centre’s cosy Whale Tail Café has good coffee,...

Cafe in Around the Island

Tuoro Cafe

Asian-inspired tapas – try the steamed pork dumplings – combine with fish, chicken and steak lunch dishes at this welcoming elevated spot on Raro's northwestern coast. There's a good selection of beer, gin and...