The Cook islands – Relaxing Rarotonga


Rarotonga, the ‘capital’ island of the Cook Islands was our next stop on our round the world tour after NZ. Not exactly big, only 32km in circumference, we decided to stay 11 nights (we would have shortened it but our flight to Papeete, Tahiti was fixed and unchangeable with only 2 flights a week. Oh well, 10 full days on an island in the Pacific – not bad!).


Motu Muri

Our initial plan was to spend 5 days on Rarotonga and then book a flight to the outer-island of Aitutaki, spending another 5 nights there. Unfortunately prices are extortionate unless you get a last minute deal – the cheapest we could find was $400 return, for a 40 minute flight. We stayed put for another 5 days hoping the wind forecast for those days materialised.


Whilst in Raro we stayed at Backpackers International, they could potentially rename it Backpackers Germany instead because of the amount of Germans staying there! It was the cheapest accommodation on the island and exactly what we needed. We hired a scooter for our entire stay – $13 a day – bargain, and just cruised around the island.


JMs chauffeur for the 10 days! Only my driving license works on the island!



Motu selfie JM

After the first 4 days we had a daily ritual of driving to Muri Lagoon, buying the best coffee on the island from the local café and then sitting on the beach, watching and talking to the local kitesurfers who were either learning or just waiting for the wind to pick up. As we didn’t have our own kit, we needed to hire, and we wanted to make sure the wind was strong enough and regular enough to warrant splashing our cash. It was at Muri that we met the lovely instructors and owners of KITESUP.

Coco soph

Coco JM

Unfortunately and understandably they were a little weary of renting out their kit and required a paid assessment to check out our standard before they rented us some kit. Still not enough wind and not wanting to spend money for an assessment and then not actually renting kit, we chilled at the beach, watched some of the locals riding 17m kites, we walked across the lagoon to the small islands, swam, snorkelled, drank more of the best coffee on the island and the some free coconut water in the afternoon, basically we just enjoyed a bit of R&R after a crazy few months in NZ.

Free coconut water – My coconut was bigger!


Muri lagoon

Muri Lagoon


Sexy Tarzan

Oh hello Wind!
JM boots

17m and boots = A shocked Sophie

If the wind hadn’t turned up we’d probably of felt a little claustrophobic on the island. It is just so small and there’s not that much to do – although we snorkeled it wasn’t the best having being spoilt in Indonesia and the Philippines. We would say 5 days would have been enough. But….. the wind picked up! We un-expectantly had free assessment each, JM randomly when we watched Troy the instructor and our new favourite German friend Chris kiting in another spot on the way home one day. Troy from KITESUP gave JM his own 17m kite and his board with freestyle boots and off he went. I was shocked – never have I seen, or expected to see JM kiting with anything bigger than an 11m let alone with boots and not straps! JM took to it like a duck to water – I could see his smile from the other side of the lagoon.

The boys played on the water all evening and it wasn’t until the next day when it was my turn – assessment time – up, off I went and Troy just left me too it, I loved every second. Kiting on a tropical island was phenomenal, turquoise water, the sun beating down, no one and flat water = Paradise. We spent the next few days with our new found friend Chris, the KITESUP team and the local pros at Muri beach just kiting and chilling, chatting, drinking coffee, chatting, drinking fresh coconut water and chatting. Great times!


This ones for the ladies – Calendar 2017! Haha!

In between the beach, snorkelling and swimming we went on a few treks. We completed the cross island walk up to the Needle for great views and a good photo opportunity. It was a nice 3 hour trek from the north to the south of the island.X island panel

JM pret

Frenchie is ready!

Soph summit

Top of the needle

JM shooting

Sommet Needle

Stunning views!


The needle

Needle south view

JM summit

Soph hates coq

The irritating Coq at the top!

Needle pano


We took the local bus (there’s one with clockwise and another anticlockwise written on the front which pass every hour) back to the start of the walk to collect our scooter. Clockwise busAn experience but $5 for any distance – rip off! We also walked up to the Raemaru Lookout, not far from our hostel and only a 1.5 hour return walk. It was a little wild and the track not so well trodden, but it was fun to do. Sadly the lookout was rather obscured by all the trees at the top so it wasn’t really a lookout.

Raemeru selfie


Raemeru monkey

Not the easiest trek!

On Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday nights there was a night market in Muri and the perfect place to try out some local fresh food for a great price. We tried a variety of things and it was yummy, yummy, and yummy!


Lucky boy!

Night market jm

Lucky boy!

Messe alter

The altar

Sunday is God’s day so what better way to spend it than to go to church Raro style! It was an amazing experience with the service completely in Rarotongan Maori. We had no idea what they were saying, but they were extremely welcoming and the singing was phenomenal! They even put on a buffet lunch for us visitors, maybe a tourist gimic but it worked for us!

Messe petite fille

Messe mama

Messe prayer

Lord’s Prayer

Messe lunch

Lunch after church

We went to a Rarotonga dance night near our favourite waterhole, the Hula Bar. We were  kindly invited to sit at a NZ family’s table where they offered us bowls full of dessert and because we sat at their table we didn’t end up paying for the show – well nobody asked, and we didn’t know until we returned to the hostel and everyone else had paid! It was a fun night with everyone from Backpackers ‘Germany’ International there.

Desert family

Lovely kiwi family and Anke

We met some really wicked people at the hostel which made our stay even more enjoyable. The island is lovely for a nice week long break. Bring a jumper during April because it’s not as warm as you think, and don’t expect all the fresh fish and fruits you imagine there to be on an island like Rarotonga. All the nice stuff gets sold to the plush hotels. SO unless you are staying there hit the night markets and try to find some small backstreets where families sometime sell a very limited supply of local fruit.

Soph cooling down

I’m in paradise!

JM palmier

JMs favourite photo setting

JM faceplant


Flag Cook islands

15 stars, 15 islands!

Black rock

The black rock

Soph jump

I did it!

Kite pro

This will be us next year! A local showing us how it’s done!

Muri soph kite alone

That’s me in the distance kiting all alone!

beach     Sunset beach                 Motu selfie

Hula bar soph

Hula Bar $3.50 a drink, all day, every day. What a setting!

A great 11 nights, we have the kitesurfing bug back, made some new friends, and we had time to catch up a little on our blog of the Philippines from over 10 weeks ago! Refreshed it’s now time to visit JMs favourite place on this planet, (although NZ and Indo are up there now!) French Polynesia!!!

Last day

5 thoughts on “The Cook islands – Relaxing Rarotonga

  1. AvatarLolo

    Ça a l’air trop cool, content de voir que JM a trouvé du vin blanc!!! Et quelle chance pour le permis de Soph…..Amusez-vous bien les loulous!

  2. AvatarLeon

    Wow!!! You guys are flyin’! Literally. Indeed I can imagine JMs smile being visible from 10miles away while on his kite! You’re smiling to the rooster was also priceless Soph.. 😉
    Missing you guys!

  3. AvatarMike Strong

    Hi Guys, So good of you to send this. I have been without wifi for ages. After leaving Rarotonga l went on to Niue for a week, population 1,500 the Island is a bit larger than Rarotonga, l found a guest house which was great ( not a German in sight )however a Frenchman was there and we got on well as he told me the best places to snorkel. The snorkelling was stunning. Returning to NZ for 2 days l then went on a CRUISE my first l obviously felt l was old enough! Vanuatu Islands – Penticost land divers amazing !! I’m now in Brisbane heading to Singapore and Bali on Monday 30th. Take care Your’e a smashing couple it was great to meet up.

    1. AvatarTool Trip dreamteam

      Hi Mike!!!
      So great to hear from you yeah!
      So glad you had an excellent time travelling round more Pacific islands, we are jealous you made it to Vanuatu! PLus no Germans in sight = bonus! hehe. We had a blast as well in French Polynesia for the last five weeks. We are on our way to Mexico and Central America tomorrow for a few months. Have a great time in Bali, check our Pemuteran, Ubud and Amed. They were our favorites. If you have any time at all try to get to the island of Flores and then check out Komodo national park = Stunning.
      Keep in touch, it was lovely to meet you and hopefully see you somewhere around the world very soon!
      JM and Soph

      1. AvatarMike strong

        Hi will try to go everywhere, I have the statuary 30days so will try to use them to the greatest advantage. L fly to Kushing after that and can stay for 90 days if required!.Looking forward to the snorkelling, Have fun oh and l will be in South America in 2018/ 19 according to the flexible plan, l keep adding on countries I.e. Mongolia was the latest for next year!

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