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 Rarotonga - Shore Services

Communications

Cook Islands Telecom, Tutakimoa Road, Avarua, open 24 hours, for overseas telephone calls, telegrams and internet.

Post office in Rarotonga 0800-1600 Monday to Friday for telephones, telegrams and fax.

There is no WiFi in the harbour but there are a few hotspots around the town.

Several internet cafes in town have WiFi.

Cook Islands Post Office
Avarua, Rarotonga
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8am - 4pm, Saturday 8am - 12noon.
Airmail goes out daily.

Banks

The Westpac and ANZ Banks in Avarua are open Monday to Friday 9:00am until 3:00pm. Westpac also opens Saturdays 9am until 12.

ATM service available at the main branches in Avarua, with ANZ ATM's located at Cooks Corner and Wigmores Superstore at Vaimanga, Westpac ATM is located at Oasis Energy in Nikao.

In addition visitors can exchange travellers cheques and principal currencies at larger stores and hotels.

Banking facilities are also provided at the airport for currency exchange and cashing of travellers cheques. They are open for the arrival and departure of all International flights.

Major credit cards are accepted throughout the island at most shops, and restaurants.

EFTPOS facilities are becoming more widespread throughout local businesses and cash advances on major credit cards are accepted.

Laundry

Snowbird Laundry has a monopoly on the island. It is in Avarua town. It is not self service. They charge $12 a load and it is advisable to take your own soap.

Provisions

There is a good selection of fruit and vegetables on this fertile island. Locally produced canned fruit juices are a good buy.

A large supermarket is a 10 min walk to the west along the main road.  It has a good selection.

The best place to purchase fruit and vegetables is at the Punanga Nui Market on Saturday mornings from 6:00 am to noon. The market is located beside the harbour to the east. There are a number of booths with local crafts and baked goods and some local dancing was featured as well.

There is a market in Avarua township. Individual stalls open 08:00 to 16:00 daily except Sundays. On Saturdays this market is swollen by many additional stalls and generally operates from 06:00 to about midday.

April 2011: Cruisers have reported that prices are high here, even more so than in Bora Bora. 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.

Transport & Travel

There are flights from Rarotonga to Auckland, Honolulu, Nadi and Papeete.

Several car, scooter and bicycle rental companies on the island.

Vehicles are driven on the left hand side of the road.

The maximum road speed limit is 40kph in the town and villages and 60kph outside of populated areas.

Drivers of all vehicles are required to have a current Cook Islands Drivers Licence, which can be obtained from the Police Station in Avarua at a cost of NZ$20 on presentation of your own license.

If you hire a motor scooter, there is an additional charge of NZ$6 for the compulsory practical test.

Helmets are legally required when travelling over 40kph

The island bus is a cheap way to get round the island. It will pick you up and set you down anywhere on request.

Air Rarotonga
Tel:+682 22 888
Bus Passenger Transport Ltd
Tel:+682 25512 / after hrs 20349
Opening hours: 0900-1600 (Mon-Fri)
There are two bus services round the island; one clockwise and one aniti-clockwise. They generlly run hourly.

Computer/Photo/Video

Cyber.Net Cafe
Located between the Tourism office and Banana Court , Avarua, Rarotonga
Tel:(682) 23 004

Medical/Health

There is a hospital with New Zealand-trained staff.

Medical and dental facilities available 24 hours a day at Tupapa Clinic.

Activities

Plenty of leisure and sport activities available on the island.

The Cross Island hike is worthwhile. It is a fairly arduous 4 hour hike but offers magnificent views from the top in the region of the Needle. The trail begins near Aviatiu Harbour and ends at Wigmore Falls on the south side of the island. You can flag down a local bus for the return trip back to the boat harbour

Shopping

Duty-free liquors after outward clearance has been issued. Many tourist stores.

Attractions

Takitumu Conservation Area

Located on the southeastern side of inland Rarotonga, this area covers 155 hectares of upland forest, scrub and fern land, and has played a major role in protecting one of the world's rarest land birds, the kakerori. It is also home to the unique i'oi and kukupa native birds, and the introduced myna and long-tailed cuckoo. Takitumu contains 70% of all the plant species found in inland Rarotonga, including the neinei, the Rarotonga orchid and the rare ground orchid.

Raui Marine Reserves

Raui is a traditional conservation system, which prohibits access to allow the rejuvenation of natural resources. Five marine Raui are in place in the lagoon on Rarotonga to protect the marine environment and to allow marine plants and animals an opportunity to grow and breed, and spread to other parts of the lagoon and sea. The total Raui area accounts for about 8% of the reef circumference of Rarotonga. Swimming and snorkelling are permitted in Raui areas but the harvest of marine life, particularly those traditionally used for food, is restricted or prohibited. Markers have been placed on the boundaries in the lagoon to identify the Raui areas. Blue signposts on the roadside also indicate areas under Raui. They include:

Tikioki : Snorkelling, swimming and Glass Bottom Boat cruises are popular in this area due to the abundance of wildlife. You can expect to see at least 80 different fish species, not to mention numerous invertebrates and more than 30 species of marine plants and corals.

Aroko/Nukupure : The most unique feature of this area is the tidal salt marsh consisting of kiukiu (salt water paspalum grass) and Mauku tatau tai (sedge). It is a breeding ground for several species of fish and crab, and has one of the few remaining populations of a native date mussel species. Rare migratory birds such as the bar tail godwits and sanderlings also use this area.

Matavera/Pouara : This area contains various invertebrate reef species, including kina, rori, paua and ariri.

Nikao : This reserve includes extensive reef flats, which provide an important habitat for marine invertebrates, including ariri, kina, paua, rori, trochus, ungakoa and vana.

Restaurants & Bars

Palace Takeway by Aviatiu Harbour has good fish and chips.

Trader Jack's is a nice restaurant on the waterfront in Avarua Town and is within walking distance.

There are at least 50 restaurants/cafes on Rarotonga.

It’s also worth noting that tipping isn’t expected and is contrary to Cook Island’s custom.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
May 25, 2018 09:14 AM

Reported by Hugh Pilsworth:
Rarotonga:
There is only one harbour on the island, Avatui. It has no facilities for yachts. On approach you call 16, harbourmaster. Don’t bother before 9am as there’s no one in the office.
You are required to use your own anchor and moor Med style to the quay wall. There are large black tyres about every 2 metres. To go ashore use your dinghy and go about 75 metres to a ladder around the corner, and it’s not that easy to get onto from a dinghy.
There is constant motion in the harbour from the prevailing SE trades, and you need a long bow line to shore to hold position when the bullets arrive. In northerly winds it is untenable.
There is a lot of dirt and dust blowing around and after 3 days the boat was filthy.
If you need any machine work done then Rarotonga Welding is excellent, and for second hand boat parts ask for Keith, about 1 kilometre from the harbour. Garbage is collected 3 days a week, there are no bins.
The island is well worth a visit, and you will get clearance to visit the other islands without all the paperwork. Saturday morning market is well worth a visit. BlueSky is the phone and internet provider, both in town and the market.
The burocracy is maddening. In theory all officials arrive close to each other. In fact the health check was at 08.30, the Customs in the afternoon and Bio Security never appeared. Harbour dues are $2.48 per foot per day, cash only in the harbour office, Customes worked out at $95 per person for a 3 day visit, they take cards in the office. Immigration is at the end of town with the Customs. Health check was $40. All in all, almost $550 for the visit.
Would I go back? Probably not.

13 Beaufort
13 Beaufort says:
Jun 25, 2015 11:42 PM

Departure tax is $66.30 p.p
Customs fees $ 57.20
Harbour dues $2.45 per meter (monohull) per day

Del Elson
Del Elson says:
Aug 03, 2014 05:30 AM

Do not buoy your anchor in Avatiu harbour. It's likely that the buoy will be in the way of shipping and you will probably be asked to remove it.

wildfox
wildfox says:
Aug 24, 2013 09:17 PM

All there mooring information is correct; surge is a major problem if there is any N in the wind. All officials now come to the harbor, not Trader Jacks. Do not go ashore until you have permission! The harbor master is a great guy, very helpful. Anthony sv Wild Fox

saungaki
saungaki says:
Aug 11, 2013 07:18 AM

Andre Tuiravakai is the ports operation manager

Departure tax is now 65 dollars

27 meters is the air restriction

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