The island of Rarotonga sits like a jewel in the Polynesian Sea, sheltered from the open sea by an encircling reef. There are countless picturesque lagoons which are perfect for swimming or snorkelling.

For fun inland, cross-island hiking trails will lead you to some incredibly breathtaking scenery.


Shore excursions in

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Highland Paradise Cultural Village

Activity mediumRefreshments included

Duration: 3 hours

Explore the culture, traditions and history of the Cook Islands during a visit to the Highland Paradise Cultural Village.

Highland Paradise is situated 1670 feet above sea level in the rugged mountains of Rarotonga. Spanning approximately 205 acres, it features beautiful transcending gardens and panoramic views of the ocean.

A traditional warrior guide will accompany you on your drive to the village. An unspoiled site of cultural heritage, the village has been a safe, spiritual and physical haven for families, warriors and chiefs for hundreds of years.

The ‘Are Kario’ or ‘Hall of Cultural Entertainment’ has been specially designed to take advantage of the spectacular views and to offer time-honoured comfort and shelter for visitors. During your visit, taste local food and experience the exotic and pulsating ‘Ura’ or unique Rarotongan dancing.

A truly interactive experience will allow you to relive the Polynesian yesteryears. Local guides will lead you on strolls through the lush gardens, historical areas and towering native trees. Your guides are expert in local crafts, legends, local tribal history, flora and fauna, traditional medicines and above all the ‘Rarotongan Way’.

This tour is the perfect way to view the island and get an insight into the sacred rites and traditions of the Cook Islands’ people.

Essential information

This tour will operate by bus and on foot. There is approximately 1 hour of walking on this tour, over mainly grass surfaces with some inclines. Passengers are advised to wear comfortable walking shoes and to take insect repellent, sunscreen, a hat and a bottle of water with them. Cameras cannot be used during the welcome ceremony.

Island Highlights

Activity low

Duration: 3 hours

Explore the main sights of Rarotonga on this panoramic orientation and learn about the history and culture of the island.

Begin your circular tour of the island by heading towards Cook Island Library and Museum. View artefacts of ancestors and hear about the area’s legends from your local guide as he entertains and educates you along the way.

Visit Ngatangiia Harbour, the departure point of the Polynesian migration to New Zealand in 1350 AD. Pause briefly at Avana Passage and the Seven Stones Monument built to commemorate the 7 canoes that departed from the area and founded New Zealand. See the historical back road – Ara Metua or Road of Toil – built in 1050 AD and maraes (sacred ceremonial sites) such as Arai Te Tonga.

Pass by Titikaveka Church, the oldest church on the island, before reaching Papaaroa Beach. Here you can enjoy a coconut demonstration and discover the fruit’s lifecycle, the husking of a coconut and how to crack it open.

Your sightseeing tour continues on to Black Rock, a volcanic boulder on the edge of a lagoon that is traditionally believed to be the departure point of spirits to Avaiki (the afterlife). Old church buildings and plantations of citrus, bananas, tapioca, papaya, taro and other crops line your route.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by bus and on foot. There is approximately 30 minutes of walking on this tour. This is primarily a sightseeing tour by bus with minimal walking at each stop, over some uneven ground in places. A bottle of water is included. Passengers are reminded to wear comfortable non-slip shoes and to take insect repellent, sunscreen and a hat.

Muri Lagoon Cruise

Activity mediumMeal includedFamily

Duration: 4 hours

Cruise across the crystal clear waters of the Muri Lagoon in a glass-bottom boat, while being entertained by a local string band.

Muri Beach is by far the most popular beach in Rarotonga, not only for its sweeping shoreline, but for its incredible lagoon. Enjoy a few sun-filled hours onboard a glass-bottom cruise boat and find out what makes this area so special.

Departing from the Pier, a scenic drive of approximately 20 minutes will take you to the eastern side of Rarotonga to board a Captain Tama’s lagoon cruise boat. Enjoy a glass-bottom boat ride across the Muri Lagoon and see coral formations, giant clams and schools of tropical fish from the boat. Drop anchor and have the opportunity to swim or snorkel among the colourful tropical fish and other marine life.

Your experience will be topped off with a cruise to the pristine Koromiri, an uninhabited island within the lagoon, where you can explore safely at your leisure or continue snorkelling and swimming. Dine on a tasty barbecued fresh fish lunch, before your local guide treats you to a coconut tree climbing show and a coconut demonstration.

A great way to experience all that Rarotonga has to offer, this tour is perfect for the whole family.

Essential information

This tour will operate by bus, glass-bottom boat and on foot. This tour is subject to suitable weather conditions on the day. Please remember to wear your swimwear, sunscreen, hat and bring a towel. All participants must be competent swimmers. Reef shoes are recommended and snorkelling equipment is available on the boat.

Pa’s Eco Tour

Activity medium

Duration: 3 hours

Travel through some of the most unspoilt valleys of Rarotonga on this Eco walking tour.

Pa is a well-known traditional Medicine Man, with a vast knowledge of the Cook Islands’ culture and traditions. His Eco tour delves into the lush interior of the island of Rarotonga, where he will spend time highlighting the many uses of the flora found on the island for local medicine and educate you about the history of this special place.

Pa will take you through the history of the township of Avarua, the old colonial churches, graveyards and plantations as you head to the east of the island. Continue to the viewpoint where mountain peaks are at their tallest and admire the impressive panoramas. Hear the history of the Marae, which is sacred to the Polynesians, before proceeding to Muri Lagoon, the most renowned location on Rarotonga.

Visit the Noni Factory, where the modern day ‘miracle fruit’ claimed by some to cure a number of diseases and ailments is processed and exported globally.

Next, admire the ‘heart of the island’ and Needle Rock where local people once carved the faces of their gods. Continue past the largest hotels on the island and the airport back to town, where you will visit a perfume factory and shop before returning to the pier.

Essential information

This tour will operate by bus and on foot.There is approximately 1½ hours of walking on this tour over some uneven surfaces. It is not suitable for passengers with walking difficulties. Comfortable, flat, walking shoes are recommended. Please remember to wear a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent and to take a bottle of water with you.

Raro 4x4 Safari

Activity high

Duration: 3 hours

Take an exciting 4x4 adventure to the interior of the island of Rarotonga, visiting some of the island’s hard to get to places.

Venture off the beaten track, as you head to the heights of Rarotonga to savour the stunning views of the lagoon, valleys and inland villages.

Your journey begins at the mouth of the Avatiu Valley or Orau O-Uritau, where your guide will explain about the native flora and fauna. Continue into the depths of the rainforest and climb 985 feet above sea level to enjoy some sensational views.

After heading back down towards the west of the island, you’ll arrive at Hospital Hill Heights, overlooking Arorangi Village and the Avatiu/Nikao Township. Enjoy a photo stop at Papua Waterfall, also known as Wigmore’s Waterfall, before continuing to Papaaroa Beach for a comfort stop.

Proceed to the Muri-Ngatangiia Village and head inland up to Aroko Heights, for a great bird’s eye view over the lagoon and the Motus (offshore islands).

Next, travel along the main road to Avana, to see the departure point of the 7 canoes that left the area and founded New Zealand. Finally, stop at the Arai-Te-Tonga Marae, one of the most sacred sites on the island.

Essential information

This tour will operate by 4x4 truck and on foot. This tour is not suitable for those with injuries or conditions, which may be affected by the bumpy ride. Pregnant women and children under 6 may not participate. Passengers will be seated on padded benches in the 4x4 trucks. This tour is not suitable for those passengers that suffer from vertigo.

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