Rarotonga is the most populous island in a group of islands known as the Cook Islands, with a population of 14,153 (census 2006).

Cook Islands' Parliament buildings, as well as the international airport, are located on Rarotonga. Because it is the most populous island, Cook Islanders may be referred to as Rarotongan, but they may in fact come from one of the other 15 islands in the group, such as Aitutaki or Mangaia. Rarotonga is also a very popular tourist destination with many resorts, hotels and motels. The chief town, Avarua, on the north coast, is also the capital of the Cook Islands.

The island is surrounded by a lagoon, which often extends more than a hundred yards (meters) to the reef, then sloping steeply to deep water. The reef fronts the shore to the north of the island, making the lagoon there unsuitable for swimming and watersports, but to the south east, particularly around Muri, the lagoon is at its widest and deepest. This part of the island is the most popular with tourists for swimming, snorkelling and boating. Agricultural terraces, flats, and swamps surround the central mountain area.

Along the southeast coast, off Muri Beach are four small coral islets within a few hundred meters of the shore, within the fringing coral reef.

The interior of the island is dominated by eroded volcanic peaks cloaked in dense vegetation. Sealed and unsealed roads allow access to valleys but the interior of the island remains largely unpopulated due to forbidding terrain and lack of infrastructure.

A large tract of land has been set aside in the south east as the Takitumu Conservation Area to protect the islands' native birds and plants, especially the Endangered Rarotonga Flycatcher, Kakerori.


23 °C

Rain, light rain (0.12 mm last hour)

Wind2.6 m/s
Cloudiness76 %
Temperature (min/max)23/23 °C
Pressure1012 hpa
Humidity78 %
Last update: 27 Nov 2020 @ 16:37

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