Rarotonga's climate is equable, with little variation in temperatures year-round. The winter months are May to October; temperatures range between 18 and 28 degrees Celsius. The summer months are November to April and temps are 21-29 degrees. January to early May are the wet season months.
When to fly to Rarotonga
June to August is the high season, when most Australians and New Zealanders arrive on cheap flights to Rarotonga.
December-April is the wet season. Cyclones are a threat during these months also.
May, September and October are great months to visit. The weather is likely to be good and there are fewer tourists.
Getting around Rarotonga
The Rarotonga bus service runs clockwise and anti-clockwise between about 7am and 4.30pm daily.
Rental cars and motor scooters are available, but drivers must have a Cook Islands licence, which costs about $10.
Rarotonga insider information
- Visitors are not expected to tip while on the Cook Islands. It's not part of the Islanders' culture. Also, Rarotonga is a conservative place. Even Rarotongan women will cover up for the beach. Dress conservatively.
- There are four coral islets off Muri Beach: Mo tutapu, Oneroa, Koromiri and Taakoka.
- The Takitumu Conservation Area protects native birds and plants, particularly the Kakerori, the Rarotonga Flycatcher.
- Rarotanga's cuisine is modern Pacific Rim - a fusion of Asian, Indian and French. Ika mata is a specialty on Rarotonga, it's fish marinated in coconut and lime. Ika mata, with taro (the leaves of the taro are island spinach) appear on "island nights" menus.
- The Saturday market at Punanga Nui runs from 6am until noon. This is the place to pick up black pearls, hand-woven baskets and wooden souvenirs.
- Set aside some money to cover the departure tax when you leave Rarotonga. It's NZ$55.