The Adults-Only Travel Guide to Rarotonga© DH - Cook Islands Tourism
The Adults-Only Travel Guide to Rarotonga

The Adults-Only Travel Guide to Rarotonga

© DH – Cook Islands Tourism

How to Plan an Adults-Only Holiday to Rarotonga

Leaving the kids behind or perhaps seeking a getaway that’s not “full of kids”? Despite Rarotonga, the most popular island to visit in the Cook Islands, being a go-to for families, you can still experience a tranquil island getaway with the right tone. Adults-only accommodations are abundant across Rarotonga, while there are many experiences ranging from uber-relaxation to extreme sports (that are free from tantrums). We go through it all, right here, in the complete adults-only travel guide to Rarotonga.

10 Adults-Only Tours and Activities on Rarotonga

Before we dive into this complete adults-only travel guide for Rarotonga, here is a taste of the sort of experiences a kid-free getaway entails:

  1. Sooth the senses with an island massage
  2. Stay at one of Rarotonga’s adults-only resorts
  3. Boost your zen with a SUP yoga session with KiteSUP
  4. Tackle the Cross Island Trek
  5. Explore inland on an off-roading excursion with Raro Quad Tours
  6. Explore the deep on a scuba diving trip with Pacific Divers or Dive Rarotonga
  7. Hit the Rarotonga nightclub scene
  8. Swim with turtles on a group tour with Ariki Adventures or a private tour with Charlotte Piho Photography Experiences
  9. Catch a South Pacific whopper on a private fishing charter
  10. Tee off at Rarotonga’s golf course.

Learn more about all of the above experiences in the 10 Adults-Only Activities on Rarotonga or simply continue reading…

The Adults-Only Travel Guide to Rarotonga©

How to Get to Rarotonga

Rarotonga lies in the Southern Group of the Cook Islands, 3,000 km (1,865 mi) from Auckland, 4,980 km (3,095 mi) from Sydney and 2,855 km (1,775 mi) from Hawaii. Rarotonga is home to the Cook Islands’ only international airport and receives regular flights from New Zealand, Australia and Tahiti which are well-connected to the rest of the world. Find out about airlines travelling to Rarotonga in Which Airlines Fly to Rarotonga & the Cook Islands?

Alternative ways to get to Rarotonga include day trips with cruise liners, as well as sailing via private yacht. Find out more about your arrival options in Getting Here: How to Get to Rarotonga & the Cook Islands?

How to Get Around Rarotonga

Rarotonga is well-connected with a coastal road network, the main road (Ara Tapu) is 32 km (20 mi) long taking approximately 45 minutes to drive around the entire island. Car rentals, scooter rentals and bicycle rentals are readily available – just note that you’ll need to apply for a scooter license if your current driving license doesn’t already cover motorcycles. Alternatively, there is a frequent bus service travelling in both directions around Rarotonga, while taxis and airport transfers are also available.

Find out all you need to know about transport in our Rarotonga Transport Guide: 10 Ways to Get to (& Around) Rarotonga.

The Adults-Only Travel Guide to Rarotonga© David Kirkland - Cook Islands Tourism

Rarotonga Water Tours for Adults

Rarotonga’s surrounding lagoon, and even beyond the reef line, is a highlight of any visit to the island. Here’s how to enjoy without the disturbance of little ‘uns.

Scuba Diving

Most of Rarotonga’s water experiences happen within the confines of the surrounding lagoon, but those who venture further will discover an abundance of coral formations, caves and marine life where the plateau drops off into the deep blue. Rarotonga has around 25 exciting dive sites around the lagoon, as well as additional sites within the lagoon, which can be experienced with Pacific Divers and Dive Rarotonga. Learn more about the operators in The Best Dive Shops & Operators in Rarotonga.

SUP Yoga

No experience is necessary to enjoy a relaxing session of stand-up paddleboard (SUP) yoga on the Muri Lagoon. Join KiteSUP for a 1h30mins group session or a private session where you’ll paddle out to the shores of a private island for a truly serene floating yoga class. You’ll be taught how to paddle the SUP, while yoga poses are beginner-friendly. That’s not to say that there’s no room for more challenging poses – they make for fun shots! Mat yoga sessions are also available with KiteSUP or join one of the adults-only yoga retreats of the Cook Islands, as detailed in The Guide to Retreats in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: Yoga, Wellness & More.

Private Fishing Charters

Head out to the blue water outside of the Rarotonga lagoon for some deep-sea fishing! Shared fishing charters rarely have kids onboard, but private fishing charters are the way to guarantee a more “adults-only” experience. Experience the thrill of reeling in pelagic fish species, like mahimahi, wahoo and yellowfin tuna, on one of the many charters departing from Avarua. Check out all of the departure points in the 10 Best Fishing Charters in Rarotonga.

If they don’t appeal, how about swimming with turtles? Learn more in the 10 Adults-Only Activities on Rarotonga or get inspired for more activities in the 50 Best Things to Do on Rarotonga.

The Adults-Only Travel Guide to Rarotonga© David Kirkland - Cook Islands Tourism

Rarotonga Land Tours for Adults

We all get enticed by the allure of Rarotonga’s jagged mountains and lush jungles. Here are a few ways you can experience them with mostly an adult crowd.

Cross Island Trek

Most of the time, it’s just you and who you choose to hike with on this challenging yet rewarding hiking trail across Rarotonga. The Cross Island Trek is a 6 km (3.7 mi) trail marked with orange markers for those who want to experience the hike independently. Otherwise, guided hikes are available with Maunga Tours. Aside from trekking through lush jungle forest, a highlight is Te Rua Manga, also known as The Needle. The trail ends at Papua Waterfall (Wigmore’s Waterfall) where you can have a refreshing dip assuming it has been raining enough for the water level. Find out how to get to the Cross Island Trek and see more hikes in the 10 Best Walks in Rarotonga.

Quad Bike Tour

Exclusively for adventure-seekers over seven years old, but mostly those over 18 with a driving license, Raro Quad Tours is your opportunity to let loose on a quad bike, get muddy and explore the inland tracks of Rarotonga. You’ll definitely be eased into the chaos, however, with the 2.5-3-hour tour starting with a slow-paced yet interesting history tour of the island before heading inland to plantations and dirt tracks including a stop at the Papua Waterfall (Wigmore’s Waterfall). Find out more about the excursion in The Best Off-Road Tours in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.

Day Spas

It goes without saying, but your spa time on Rarotonga is as serene as it gets. A selection of resorts specialises in spa treatments, from the Vichy Showers of the Waterfall Spa at Rumours Luxury Villas which are unique on Rarotonga to the beachfront massages of the Muri Beach Club Spa. Compare all of the spas available in the 10 Best Spas in Rarotonga.

Again, there’s more of that going on, including teeing off at Rarotonga’s golf course, in the 10 Adults-Only Activities on Rarotonga.

The Adults-Only Travel Guide to Rarotonga©

Nightlife and Adults-Only Dining on Rarotonga

Whether you want to enjoy quiet cocktails with your loved one or party into the early hours with mates, Rarotonga has you sorted.

BlueWater Grill

Dine with your toes in the sand at the BlueWater Grill of the Sanctuary Rarotonga on the Beach. Nestled between Aroa Beach and the pool of the adults-only resort, BlueWater Grill is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner serving a range of crowd-pleasers. The restaurant also has a dedicated vegetarian and vegan menu, which you can learn more about in Rarotonga for Vegans & Vegetarians + 10 Best Restaurants.

Little Polynesian Restaurant & Bar

Scattered among the pavilions and around the infinity pool set on Titikaveka Beach, Little Polynesian Restaurant & Bar offers a romantic setting to dine free of kids. Indulge in European and Polynesian fusion cuisine and complete the experience with a barista coffee, dessert and/or cocktails.

Private Dining Experiences

A must for couples seeking absolute tranquillity, as well as effortless romance, there are a number of private dining experiences available on Rarotonga. The adults-only Crown Beach Resort & Spa offers private dining under a gorgeous decorated gazebo on the beach. You can also ask about private dining at On The Beach (OTB), Sanctuary Rarotonga on the Beach, The Rarotongan Resort & Lagoonarium, Pacific Resort Rarotonga and more.

Nightclubs and Bars

One of the biggest Pacific party islands, Rarotonga has a fun selection of bars and nightclubs to let your hair down. Either hit the clubs in Avarua, such as RehabOn the Rocks (OTR) and Luna, or hop on one of the “party buses” like the Raro Pub Crawl or Going Troppo Nightlife Tour to hit all of the hottest bars and clubs around the island. Plan your night on the town using The Ultimate Guide to Rarotonga Nightlife and 10 Best Bars in Rarotonga.

More About Adults-Only Vacations to Rarotonga and the Cook Islands

That’s it for our complete adults-only travel guide to Rarotonga but by no means the end of our advice. Just take a look:

Finally, don’t forget to check out Cook Islands Travel Tips: 30 Tips for Travelling in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands with even more tips to plan the perfect trip.


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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