Unless you’re bald like Bilingual Backpack Baby (BBB) has been for the majority of her life, one of the first gifts you’ll probably receive when arriving in Rarotonga will be a ‘humidity-fro’. A hairdo that will turn your previously manageable and compliant hairdo into a frizzy stupor. It will likely be gifted to you not long after the doors of your Boeing 777 open and you descend the stairs onto the hot tarmac to begin the short walk towards the airport terminal. We recommend embracing it or buying a hat. Because as far as worst case scenarios go for holidays, a frizzy fro is a pretty good one to have.
If you don’t know where Rarotonga is, it’s likely you’re not from New Zealand, Australia or (to my surprise) Canada. All of whom have good air links into this small pacific island and are regulars contributing to its tourism economy. Located 3.5 hours (by plane) northeast of Auckland, New Zealand - Rarotonga forms part of the small south pacific nation the Cook Islands.
Think white sand, blue water, great food, welcoming locals with a well organised infrastructure for tourists minus the hype, glitz, glam or superficialness you may find at other bigger tropical desitnations.
Rarotonga is a great destination worthy of making the effort to get to.
Here’s our top 5 reasons to visit:
1. One road to rule the island
You can drive around Rarotonga in a little over half an hour - chickens and motorbikes willing. With only 32 kms to cover it’s an easy and uncomplicated journey with just 2 bus routes - Clockwise and Anticlockwise. Or if you like your freedom while on holiday but can get a bit overwhelmed with the idea of driving in a ‘foreign’ country – then this will be the place for you. You can hire a car for between NZD$30-$50 ish dollars a day and be assured of stress free driving. Unless you park under a coconut tree. Don’t park under a coconut tree.
2. Summer dresses
You can finally grab that pretty summer dress (or sarong) from your wardrobe and wear it morning, noon and night. Or if you don’t possess one (yet) you’ll be able to pick up one in the various shops around the island. No one will care what you like look in it (leg wax optional) and with high temperatures and humidity, nor will you. You will instead embrace the coolness and comfort of your summer dress allowing you to better concentrate on enjoying the island.
3. No alarm clocks required
With numerous roosters and chickens freely roaming over the island you can be sure of an extremely reliable wakeup call every morning. While a little more difficult to hit the snooze button on you’ll learn to embrace it. Particularly as mobile phone coverage is extra-ordinarily expensive you’ll be thankful you can rely on nature instead of your i-phone to wake you up in the morning.
4. No need to bath
With most accommodation options located either on the beach or across the (one) road from the beach you’re never too far from the water or a swimming pool. On most days we had two swims which helped us all to manage the heat in the peak of summer.
5. James Blunt
Well not James Blunt himself, but his song ‘You’re Beautiful’ sums up Rarotonga perfectly. The title at least. I wouldn't have a clue what the rest of the verses say.
Rarotonga is beautiful in a hot humid low key relaxing sort of way. An island paradise without the hype - from the scenery to the locals.
As a New Zealander it was in particular a very comfortable and familiar destination as it shares the New Zealand currency as well as many of the same supermarket brands. No need to pack your own chilly bin for this Pacific Island.
It was our kind of tropical island holiday. Just don’t ruin it by telling everyone else.