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Southern Cooks - Recent Visit to Rarotonga

By Sue Richards last modified Apr 07, 2011 12:25 PM

Published: 2011-04-07 12:25:36
Countries: Cook Islands

Avatiu Harbour, Rarotonga

The Facilities here have not improved any in the last six years, but the fees have quadrupled. The access ladder is now so damaged that it is dangerous to use. As always shelter in this little harbour is limited.

Fees (NZD)
Fumigation $20
Departure tax $55 per person
Harbour dues $2.2 /m/day
Bathroom facilities $30 for key (not refundable)

Facilities
Water - good quality
Butane $4.45/kg ($2/lb)
Diesel $1.67/l

Groceries
These are even more expensive than in Bora Bora. There is a local fresh fruit & Veg. market, but this is also expensive. Eggs are $4.50 per doz. and are usually chilled. In spite of Rarotonga's so called agricultural economy, most foodstuffs on sale are imported from New Zealand. The Bond liquor Store no longer does duty free, and the cost of wine and imported beer is high. There is a new microbrewery, Cooks Larger, which will fill your own containers for $5/l.

Future Developments
There are development plans for Avatiu Harbour, and when these are completed the fees will be increased for commercial vessels and yachts in order to pay for them. The date of these improvements is uncertain, and will consist of straightening the east quay, and dredging the basin to 10m. Apart from the increase in the fees, this is likely to spoil the holding in the basin - yachts usually med moor due to the ever present surge. The harbour master did not comment on any improvements to the south quay which visiting yachts use.

Conclusion
(In our opinion) there are no specific attractions on Rarotonga and the costs of even a short visit are high. There is no navigable lagoon, or free anchoring as in French Polynesia and officials on the other islands will happily relieve you of the departure tax should you visit.

Other Islands
There are now mooring fees at Palmerston and Aitutaki and Suwarrow charges a park fee.

Mike & Dawn Dorsett
s/y White Princess

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