Rarotonga Family Itinerary: 3 Days© David Kirkland - Cook Islands Tourism
Rarotonga Family Itinerary: 3 Days

Rarotonga Family Itinerary: 3 Days

© David Kirkland – Cook Islands Tourism

3-Day Family Trip to Rarotonga!

Have a long weekend to kill and want to go somewhere glorious with the kids? Rarotonga is just a short flight from New Zealand and could be the perfect solution… Although we seriously recommend that you spend much more time in the Cook Islands, if you will only ever have 3 days to spend in the Cooks, then this Rarotonga itinerary for 3 days might be just the family getaway you were looking for…

While you’re here, don’t forget to open The Complete Travel Guide to Rarotonga for Families, which is your complete family-holiday bible to Raro!

Overview: Rarotonga 3-Day Itinerary for Families

  • Day 1 – Arrive on Rarotonga + island night
  • Days 2 – Explore the Muri Lagoon
  • Day 3 – Last day on Rarotonga.
Rarotonga Family Itinerary: 3 Days© CookIslandsPocketGuide.com

How to Get Around Rarotonga in 3 Days

This Cook Islands family itinerary for 3 days includes travel across the island of Rarotonga. Here’s a quick rundown on how to get around Rarotonga in just 3 days.

Road Transport on Rarotonga

The first road transport you’ll encounter on Rarotonga is your airport transfer. This must be booked in advance with your resort or with one of the airport shuttle companies, as outlined in the 8 Best Airport Transfers.

For travelling around Rarotonga, car hire offers the most convenience for families. Get advice on car hire from What You Need to Hire a Car in the Cook Islands. Alternatively, you have the option of taking the bus, which has family fares available and is compatible with this itinerary. Find out more about the bus in our guide, The Bus in Rarotonga: Bus Fares, Timetable & More.

For all of your transport options, not just those recommended for families, check out the Rarotonga Transport Guide: 10 Ways to Get to (& Around) Rarotonga.

Rarotonga Family Itinerary: 3 Days© CookIslandsPocketGuide.com

Day 1 – Arrive on Rarotonga + Island Night

Welcome to Rarotonga and the start of your 3-day family getaway! After the arrivals process of going through customs and biosecurity, you’ll step outside of the arrivals hall to the greetings of “Kia Orana” and a flurry of floral ‘eis (neck garlands). It’s the customary Cook Islands greeting that most of the airport transfers supply with enthusiasm!

Since it’s your first day on Rarotonga, take it easy and get settled at your chosen family accommodation. After check-in, relax by the pool, have a paddle with the kayaks provided at your resort and transition to “Raro time”. We’ll go over a few things you can do on Rarotonga tomorrow.

Rarotonga Family Accommodation

Find out more about our top picks in the 20 Best Family Resorts & Accommodations on Rarotonga.

Dining Recommendations

Get your first night in Rarotonga off with a bang with one of its “island nights”. The cultural dancing and delicious island-style cuisine are captivating for all ages. Choose either the archaeological site of Highland Paradise or the overwater venue of Te Vara Nui (more about it on Viator and Tripadvisor). Find out more about the island nights in the 7 Best Island Nights in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.

Rarotonga Family Itinerary: 3 Days© CookIslandsPocketGuide.com

Day 2 – Explore the Muri Lagoon

An iconic setting for a family getaway on Rarotonga, the Muri Lagoon has so much on offer that it’s definitely worth spending the day on its beaches or cruising on the lagoon.

Things to Do in Muri with Kids

Find more details about these activities and more in the 30 Things to Do on Rarotonga with Kids.

Dining Recommendations

For lunch, if you haven’t gone on a lagoon cruise, head to the Deli-Licious Cafe for its comforting cuisine, fun animal “table numbers” and friendly dogs to pet. Find out more in the 10 Best Cafes on Rarotonga. Meanwhile, for dinner, enjoy highlights like the “Pacific Sizzler” and the kids’ menu at Sandals Restaurant & Barefoot Bar of the Pacific Resort or the island platters and beach views from RSC.

Alternatively, if today happens to fall on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Sunday, treat the kids to all sorts of Western, Asian and Cook Islander flavours and treats like churros and baby pancakes at the food truck festival of the Muri Night Market.

Learn more about all of the above in The Food Guide to Rarotonga: Places to Eat & Food Tours.

Rarotonga Family Itinerary: 3 Days© DH - Cook Islands Tourism

Day 3 – Last Day on Rarotonga

Leaving already? We told you 3 days wasn’t enough! Nevertheless, if you have a little time before your flight departing Rarotonga today, see if you can squeeze in any of the experiences below.

Things to Do on Rarotonga with Kids Before Your Flight

  • Check out the underwater world and a shipwreck on the Raro Reef Sub
  • Get competitive at Aumata Mini Golf
  • Do a family-friendly island hike, such as Hospital Hill
  • Explore the Mairie Nui Gardens
  • Enjoy tropical treats at the Punanga Nui Market

… And if that wasn’t enough, there are tons more ideas listed in the 30 Things to Do on Rarotonga with Kids.

Departure from Rarotonga

If the kids want something to remember the Cook Islands by, have one last browse of the craft and gift shops of Avarua and Rarotonga International Airport’s duty-free stores with floral or shell ‘eis, wooden carvings, local perfumes, pint-sized ukuleles and more. Check out the12 Best Souvenirs from Rarotonga & the Cook Islands to learn more.

Remember to arrive at Rarotonga International Airport a couple of hours before your scheduled departure so that you have enough time to check in, go through security and browse the duty-free. Airport transfers are a little cheaper for your departure flight, so check them out in the 8 Best Airport Transfers in Rarotonga.

And it’s “ka kite” from the Cook Islands!

Alternative Rarotonga and Cook Islands 3-Day Itineraries

Is this 3-day family itinerary for the Cook Islands not quite speaking to you? How about checking out our alternative itineraries for 3 days:

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed from this Rarotonga and Cook Islands family itinerary, you’re likely to find it in The Complete Travel Guide to the Cook Islands for Families.


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Cook Islands Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as the Cook Islands. She knows the islands inside out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Raro’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also the editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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