"Island Night" is a must.  Most of the hotels host one and the performances of music, dance and drumming are as memorable as the costumes.   Don't be surprised if you're asked to join in!
Cook Islands dancers
Danger!
Goats crossing - on the main road to Avarua
And remember the speed limit is just 50kph (31 mph) on all roads except those in town where it's 30 kph (18 mph)

The weekly cultural market is a must visit for locals and visitors alike - every Saturday from 6 am to about 1 pm. 
Cook's Island Bus will drop you off.  
Click here for more pictures.

Raro Records
Raro Records - recommended for that musical souvenir of the islands
DEMOCRACY IN THE ISLANDS

Rarotonga is the seat of the Islands' legislative Government.  Parliament is based on the UK model and, similar to it, has two Houses.  The lower house or Legislative Assembly has 25 elected members - 24 from districts of the Cook Islands and one representing the many Cook Islanders who live overseas.  The Members of Parliament represent districts and islands.  Ten are from the capital island.  The upper house, or House of Ariki, is made up of traditional leaders, who provide consultation and advice.  Her Majesty the Queen (Queen Elizabeth II) is Head of State.  The Queen's Representative, Tom Marsters, acts in her name in the Islands.

Outdoor menu
Parliament Building
Temptingly fresh seafood is always on the menu at the many eating places in town.
Recommended eating places
The Parliament building near the airport.  It used to be temporary accommodation for contractors who built the airport.
Goats crossing
Beautiful Muri beach
Muri beach islet
Avarua shopping
Rarotonga shop
Magnificent Muri Beach...but there's more to Rarotonga than just sea and sand
Cultural market
Shopping in"town", as the locals call Avarua,  is a pleasure in itself with such a colourful setting
Rarotonga roundabout
This is the only roundabout in Raro, in front of the new (and, according to many) very out of place court house built and paid for a few years ago by the Chinese government.   If you apply for a motorcycle licence, you'll have to do a test to prove you can go round the roundabout successfully! 
(Tip: keep left and give way to traffic from the right!)

Parked motorbikes
Bikes are everywhere, so if you hire one, don't forget where you parked it!
Head eis
Head eis....as likely to be worn by men as women.  Buy one at the cultural market and enjoy both the beauty and the wonderful scent of island flowers
Rarotonga map
Click here for a detailed map
Matavera church
Religion is an important part of life in the Islands.  The Cook Islands Christian Church (CICC) predominates - this one is in Matavera.   I would urge you to go along to a CICC Sunday service and hear the amazing unaccompanied singing.  It's an experience never to be forgotten
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Click here for a live webcam view of Muri beach
from Sails Restaurant (active from 0630-1830 local time - GMT-10hrs)
Muri beach webcam
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Personal Impressions
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Te Manga
The island's centre is a series of magnificent mountain ridges and peaks.  They include Te Manga, which at 652 metres (2,138 ft) is the highest point in the Islands.   You can join a guided walk if you're energetic..and fit.
Smiling islander
Friendly islander
Dog on boat
Friendly smiles.   Wouldn't you smile if you lived in a place like this?  Even the dogs go sunbathing!