Where to Watch the Sunrise in Rarotonga, Aitutaki and the Cook Islands
We get it; you’re on holiday and no one likes to wake up too early on their holiday. Those that do, however, are treated to some stunning displays as you watch the sunrise in the Cook Islands. With vibrant hues reflecting off the placid lagoon, some might say that Rarotonga and Aitutaki are some of the best places in the world to watch the sunrise! But where exactly are the best spots to plonk yourself down and watch this gorgeous ordeal unfold? Find out in this list of the best places to watch the sunrise in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands.
Want a bit of sunset action too? Check out the 10 Best Places to Watch the Sunset in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
1. Muri Beach, Rarotonga
On the eastern side of Rarotonga, Muri Beach is, indeed, the perfect place to watch the sunrise on Rarotonga. Looking out toward the lagoon’s four motu (islets), striking silhouettes are cast in front of the vibrant hues of the sunrise. And with so many of Rarotonga’s resorts located on Muri Beach, for many of us, there’s no excuse not to wake up early one day to catch one of the best sunrises in the Cook Islands.
Location: Muri Beach, Muri, southeast coast of Rarotonga.
2. Arore Trek, Rarotonga
Elevate your views both literally and figuratively by doing the guided sunrise hike of the Arore Trek with Arore Mountain Adventures. This privately-owned (and made) track takes you through the inland forest to a stellar viewpoint where you can watch the sunrise over the Muri Lagoon. The hike only takes around 1h30mins to complete the whole thing. What a way to start a day! Learn more about the experience in the 8 Best Guided Walks in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
Location: Tours depart from the Muri Meeting House, Muri eastern side of Rarotonga. Transfers are available for a fee.
3. Avana Harbour, Rarotonga
At the northern tip of the Muri Lagoon, in the village of Ngatangiia, the Avana Harbour offers still waters and an eerie quietness that’s beautiful to experience at the crack of dawn. There are jetties just off the main road (Ara Tapu), as well as in front of the Avana Waterfront Apartments which make for eye-pleasing additions to your sunrise photos. Also check out the historical vaka migration site, as described in the 10 Best Historical Sites in the Cook Islands.
Location: Main Road (Ara Tapu), just north of the Avana Stream, Ngatangiia. Or take the Kaireva Drive turnoff just 300m (330 yards) north.
4. Titikaveka Beach, Rarotonga
Just curving around the southeast coast of Rarotonga, Titikaveka Beach is certainly not to be overlooked as an excellent sunrise spot in the Cook Islands. Especially in summer when the sun’s path has a much wider arch, this picturesque beach captures both stunning sunrises and sunsets. After watching the sunrise, head to the nearby Tikioki Beach for some of the best snorkelling on Rarotonga.
Location: The stretch of coast between Ocean Blue Villas to the west and Charlie’s Cafe, Titikaveka, southeast coast of Rarotonga.
5. Maunga Pu, Aitutaki
On the main island of Aitutaki, take the short but rewarding climb to the top of Maunga Pu for amazing views of the sunrise across the motu of the Aitutaki Lagoon. Details of the hike can be found in the 5 Best Walks on Aitutaki.
Location: West coast of Aitutaki between Paradise Cove and Tai Marino. Park on the abandoned lot opposite the Maunga Pu sign or at the crossroads up the trail where the tar-sealed road meets the grassy road.
6. Piraki Lookout, Aitutaki
In a similar vein to the sunrise spot mentioned above, the Piraki Lookout is another awesome place to watch the sunrise from a height on the main islands of Aitutaki. At least this time, you can drive all the way to the top.
Location: Well signposted from both the east and west side of Aitutaki. From the west side, turn inland between the Heineken Store and the Aquila Petrol Station then turn left at the crossroads.
7. Vaipae Wharf, Aitutaki
It’s got picnic benches and it has even got an eco-loo, so there’s no reason not to venture to Vaipae Wharf on Aitutaki to watch the sunrise! The position of the wharf on the eastern side of the main island looking out across the lagoon and its motu means you’re in a stellar spot to capture the whole lagoon in its morning splendour!
Location: Take the turnoff toward the coast just south of the Vaipae CICC Church, Vaipae, east coast of Aitutaki.
8. Oneroa Beach, Atiu
When it comes to visiting the smaller outer islands, you’ll experience blissfully secluded stretches of beach at any time of day. On the islands of Atiu, a few steps carved into the rocks lead to Oneroa Beach. Not only is it a stunning place to watch the sunrise, but at low tide, you can walk to more natural wonders at The Three Grottos. Check out instructions on how to get to the Grottos in the 10 Free Things to Do on Atiu.
Location: Oneroa Beach, southeast side of Atiu.
9. Anaraura Beach, Mauke
This fairly large beach on the island of Mauke sits in the centre of the east coast. Not only a stunning place to watch the sunrise but Anaraura Beach is backed by delightful beachside gardens with picnic tables and thatched shelters.
Location: Just off the coastal road, central east coast of Mauke.
10. Any Fishing Charter
Finally, another glorious way to see the sunrise from anywhere in the Cook Islands is on the water as you gaze across the Pacific Ocean. Yes, there are “sunrise cruises” in the Cook Islands in the form of fishing charters, because early morning tends to be the best time to reel in the pelagic fish of the South Pacific. Check out the best ones listed in the 10 Best Fishing Charters in the Cook Islands.
Location: See the link above for locations.
More About Where to Watch the Sunrise in Rarotonga, Aitutaki and the Cook Islands
That’s it for our list of the best places to watch the sunrise in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands. For more picturesque sights, why not check out our other top 10 lists?
- Sightseeing in the Cook Islands: Top 10 Sights in the Cook Islands
- 10 Best Places to Watch the Sunset in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
- Where to Take Pictures in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: 10 Best Photography Spots
Finally, add more to the bucket list from our ultimate list, 101 Best Things to Do in the Cook Islands.