There are so many hidden features in Rarotonga itself, it’s easy to spend an entire day exploring some of them. Another possibility is to hop on an inter-island plane and see some of the other Cook Islands. Here are the best of both types of day trip:
- Visit Rarotonga’s Waterfall: Papua Falls is located on the southern side of Rarotonga. It is the island's only waterfall, and is a beautiful, beloved sightseeing spot throughout the year. The best way to see it is on horseback; guided horse tours are available through Rarotonga hotels and the tourist board.
- Drive Avatiu Valley: Whether you take your own car or the bus, you'll get the best non-ocean views on the island by driving into the valley of Avatiu. The gently descending road is both relaxing and scenic.
- Hike in Mangaia: Southeast of Rarotonga, Mangaia has a higher elevation than most of the islands, and boasts several decent hiking trails. There is a daily flight from Rarotonga to Mangaia, making this neighboring island fairly convenient to reach.
- Snorkel in Aitutaki: Tiny Aitutaki’s claim to fame is that it was visited by Captain Bligh, shortly before his crew infamously mutinied against him. However, Aitutaki has much more than this story to offer the tourist visiting from Rarotonga. Take a hike on one of Aitutaki’s various islets, and then cool down by snorkeling in the lagoon. Flights between Aitutaki and Rarotonga operate seven days a week, with at least two flights daily.