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Rarotonga is a circular island in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean surrounded by a coral reef which creates a turquoise lagoon and white sand beaches.   The population of the island is  8,500 and the main town is Avarua which is near the international airport.  The island is only 32 kilometres around and there are only two main roads on the island, no stoplights and only one roundabout!   The island is dominated by high mountain peaks which are lush rain forests and is surrounded by a coral reef.     Everyone speaks english in the Cook Islands.   

This photo of Rarotonga was taken out of the window of our Air New Zealand plane.   The beauty of the island, the lagoon and the reef takes your breath away!

Avarua, Rarotonga is the center of the government and has a Prime Minister and a 24-member Legislative Assembly. One member represents the Cook Islanders in New Zealand.  The upper house is represented by the island chiefs (House of Ariki) and acts in an advisory capacity.  The Parliament is elected every five years and meets several times a year at the Parliament Building near the airport in Rarotonga.

Parliament Building in Avarua.

Shopping center in Avarua.  This is as big as it gets!

The Natural History Museum.

There are two roads around the island.  This is the old road. 

Main street Avarua.

Trader Jacks is one of the main restaurants in town on the pier.   When the cyclones hit in 2004, Trader Jack’s was destroyed but the management put a shipping container within the destruction and opened up again as Jack-in-the-Box! 

The Christian Church is predominant in the islands and of the highlights is to attend a church service and hear the wonderful singing and see
the women’s fantastic hats..

Rent a scooter
Take a lagoon cruise
Go shopping - TAV is a a world-famous
silk-screening company.
Take a guided walk with Pa
Do a 4WD safari
Horseback riding
Visit a cultural village
Spend a lot of beachtime
Go to Aitutaki on a day tour.
Go to church on Sunday

Buy a Cook Island black pearl

Visit the Punanga Nui Cultural Market on Saturday.

Pa is a world-renowned Cook Islander and he leads treks through the rainforest.  His company is called Pa’s Mountain Walks.

Visit the Punanga Nui Cultural Market on Saturdays.

Rent a moped and tour the island and the market.  you will need to get a Cook Islands Driver’s License which is a great souvenir.

The mamas are known for their wonderful quilts and other arts and crafts.

The market is a fun place to see the Mamas.

Safari tours are very popular.

Photos by Christine Meny

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