5-Day Family Trip to Rarotonga!
Have 5 full days to spend in Rarotonga? Although lazying in the same resort for the whole time while the kids are in the kids’ club is a rather tempting prospect, you actually have plenty of time to not only experience family-friendly adventure, culture and fun on Rarotonga but also some R&R! For the family who prefers to explore together while also getting in some much-needed relaxation, this Rarotonga itinerary for 5 days might be just the holiday 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 5-Day Itinerary for Families
- Day 1 – Arrive on Rarotonga
- Day 2 – Explore the Muri Lagoon
- Day 3 – Family road trip around Rarotonga + Tumutoa Tours
- Day 4 – Free day on Rarotonga
- Day 5 – Last day on Rarotonga.
How to Get Around Rarotonga in 5 Days
This Cook Islands family itinerary for 5 days includes travel across the island of Rarotonga, particularly on the main road, Ara Tapu. Here’s a quick rundown on how to get around Rarotonga in 5 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.
Day 1 – Arrive on Rarotonga
Welcome to Rarotonga and the start of your 5-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
- Pacific Resort Rarotonga
- Edgewater Resort & Spa
- Mama Taras Bungalows
- The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Lagoonarium
- Palm Grove
- Nautilus Resort
- Nikao Beach Bungalows
- Muri Beachcomber
- The Black Pearl at Puaikura
- Rarotonga Daydreamer Escape
Find out more about our top picks in the 20 Best Family Resorts & Accommodations on Rarotonga.
For your first night, make things easy for yourself by eating at the restaurant of your chosen accommodation. If your accommodation doesn’t have a restaurant, however, then family-friendly recommendations include Charlie’s Cafe for its affordable plates and awesome beachfront location or Wilson’s Beach Bar to feel your toes in the sand and give the option for little ones to play with the toys available. Compare these restaurants and more in The Best Places to Eat on Rarotonga: 10 Best Restaurants.
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 beach or cruising on the lagoon.
Things to Do in Muri with Kids
- Cruise the Muri Lagoon, complete with snorkelling and a coconut show on an uninhabited island with Captain Tama’s Lagoon Cruizes (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) or Koka Lagoon Cruises (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Hire a kayak, stand-up paddleboard and/or some snorkelling gear and go on a family adventure across the lagoon
- Dine at the beach-lined cafes and restaurants while the kids play in the sand
- Join a guided night SUP tour with LED lights illuminating the lagoon
- Head out on a fishing charter from Avana Wharf.
Find more details about these activities and more in the 30 Things to Do on Rarotonga with Kids.
For lunch, if you’re heading on a lagoon cruise then 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, Te Vara Nui‘s overwater show and cultural buffet take place in a stunning water garden venue in Muri. Learn more about it on Viator, Tripadvisor or the 7 Best Island Nights in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands. Or, 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.
Day 3 – Family Road Trip Around Rarotonga + Tumutoa Tours
With only 32km (20 miles) around the main road of Rarotonga, Ara Tapu, there’s no risk of: “Are we there yet?” Explore the sights, hit the swimming spots so the kids can burn off some energy, and then conclude your day making your own “umukai” with Tumutoa. More on that below!
Either rent your own vehicle or get a family day pass for the bus and stop by Rarotonga’s best snorkelling beaches like Tikioki Beach, have a swim at the Papua Waterfall and snap up natural wonders like Black Rock. In between, relax at family-friendly cafes, like the Coconut Crab Cafe of the Discover Marine Wildlife and Eco Centre with its fascinating mini-museum or Beluga Cafe nearby with its creative menu.
For more places to visit on your road trip around the island, check out A Self-Guided Day Trip Around Rarotonga.
This evening, make an experience out of your dinner with Tumutoa Tours! Join Rarotonga’s friendliest warrior for a lesson in preparing your own “umukai”, a traditional Polynesian style of cooking! And while you gorge on the fruits of your labour, sit back with the family for an amazing fire show. More details about the experiences can be found in the 10 Best Cultural Activities in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
Otherwise, if you prefer to dine out again, check out The Food Guide to Rarotonga: Places to Eat & Food Tours for more dining recommendations.
Day 4 – Free Day on Rarotonga
You have a full day to experience Rarotonga according to your family’s own style and preferences, whether it’s relaxing by the pool all day or doing something more active. Find more about the latter listed below!
Things to Do on Rarotonga with Kids
- Let the kids loose at one of the kids’ clubs while you experience that scuba dive or spa treatment you’ve been craving
- 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
- Experience an eco-reef walk with Ariimoana
- Explore the Mairie Nui Gardens
- Have a thrill ride on Rongohiva Watersports’ banana boat
- Enjoy tropical treats at the Punanga Nui Market
- Join a cycling tour with Storytellers Eco Cycle Tours (more info on Viator or Tripadvisor)…
… And if that wasn’t enough, there are tons more experiences listed in the 30 Things to Do on Rarotonga with Kids.
If you haven’t already done an “island night”, make sure this is part of your family itinerary at some point! The cultural dancing and delicious island-style cuisine are a must-do for all ages. Find out more in the 7 Best Island Nights in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
Additionally, another dining out option includes the toes-in-the-sand experience of Vaiana’s Bar & Bistro. Nautilus Restaurant offers family-friendly fine dining in Muri, while The Brasserie/Spaghetti House of the Edgewater Resort & Spa is always a safe go-to. Again, compare all of your best dining options in The Best Places to Eat on Rarotonga: 10 Best Restaurants.
Day 5 – Last Day on Rarotonga
There comes a time during every family getaway when sadness ensues! It’s time to say goodbye to the azure lagoon waters and silky sands of Rarotonga as you depart for your next destination.
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 the 12 Best Souvenirs from Rarotonga & the Cook Islands for ideas.
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 5-Day Itineraries
Is this 5-day family itinerary for the Cook Islands not quite speaking to you? How about checking out our alternative itineraries for 5 days:
- Rarotonga Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 5 Days
- Aitutaki Budget & Backpacking Itinerary: 5 Days
- Rarotonga Luxury Itinerary: 5 Days
- Rarotonga Food Itinerary: 5 Days
- Rarotonga Honeymoon & Romance Itinerary: 5 Days
- Aitutaki Honeymoon & Romance Itinerary: 5 Days
- Rarotonga Adults-Only Itinerary: 5 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.