Why go to Rarotonga?
A rich heritage, cafes and a variety of water activities are offered alongside the lagoon
It usually requires a full day at sea to reach and another to travel back from
The scenic hikes, blue lagoon and white beaches do not disappoint
Rarotonga Cruise Port Facilities?
Tour operators set up at the tender dock; there are a few shops and takeaway (sandwich) stands within a stone's throw, the main town of Avarua is within walking distance, and much more bustling with shops and restaurants.
Good to Know?
If you are prone to seasickness, you may want to pack your choice of meds as the ride to and from Rarotonga can be choppy (calls sometimes get canceled due to sea conditions -- occasionally at the last minute, which means you'll have to do the trip there and back anyway). Barring a freak storm, it should be the only real "roughness" you'll experience while cruising in this region.
Rarotonga is a tender port, and since ships often miss calls here due to rough water conditions, climbing in and out of tender boats can be tricky; be cautious and follow the instructions of your ship's staff. Another note: Some public restrooms do not stock toilet tissue, so you'll want to carry something in your purse or pocket.
On Foot: The town of Avarua is about a 15-minute walk from the harbor. After disembarking your tender, head toward the left.
By Rental Car: Hertz, Avis and Island Rental are among the companies that rent cars and scooters on the island; remember to drive on the left side of the road. Expect to pay about $65 NZD for the day (or approximately $46 U.S.).
By Bus: This almost perfectly round island is easy to navigate by bus as they only run in two directions: clockwise and "anticlockwise." There's a bus stop in town at Cook's Corner, and stops include the golf club and a waterfall. Bus tickets cost $2.50 NZD one-way, $4 NZD roundtrip.
By Taxi: A few taxis will line up at the dock, but they're limited. Expect to pay about $2 per kilometer; if there's no meter, be sure to agree on a fare before setting off.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
The New Zealand dollar is the standard, though U.S. dollars are widely accepted. The exchange is about $8 U.S. to $10 NZD, but check xe.com for the latest rates. There's an ANZ Bank ATM at Cook's Corner in the town of Avarua, within walking distance of the tender port.
The official language is Cook Islands Maori. English is widely spoken -- with fabulous Down Under accents -- but learning a few local phrases (kia orana means "hello") is sure to spread smiles.