WELCOME TO TOWN
Rarotonga is the largest of the Cook Islands and the capital, Avarua is the main commercial and administrative centre. Locals just call it "town".
Early Polynesian settlers found the island by sailing raro (down) and tonga (to the south) of French Polynesia. Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia find it easily now with regular flights into the island from New Zealand, the USA and Australia. And as soon as you step off the plane, you know you've arrived somewhere very special...
"MAY YOU LIVE LONG"
A straw hatted Islander stands in the corner of the arrivals area in Rarotonga airport strumming Polynesian love songs on a banjo, as you queue up (for minutes, not hours!) to get your passport stamped. Immigration and customs are efficient but very friendly, welcoming you with words that will quickly become familiar because everyone greets you with them... "kia orana" meaning "may you live long".