Rarotonga, Cook Islands
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Approximately 3 Hours
Explore the main sights of Rarotonga on this fascinating sightseeing tour. Learn about the history and culture of the island as your guide entertains you a lively commentary on local points of interest and legends.
Begin with a scenic orientation drive through the main township of Avarua. Along the way, see the historic Banana Court and CITC Department Store, the Empire Theatre, Avarua Wharf and Trader Jacks, the National Police Headquarters, the wreck of the ss Matai, coconut trees and the city center.
Your first stop is the National Museum to view an exhibition and collection of artifacts.
Take the historic backroad of Ara Metua, also known the Great Road of Toi. This ancient, paved road is believed to be 1,200 years old and encircles the whole island. Branch roads lead to the various communal ceremonial sites known as marae.
Next up is Ngatangiia Harbour -- departure point of the Polynesian migration to New Zealand in AD 1350. Pause at Avana Passage and the Seven Stones Monument, built to commemorate the seven canoes whose occupants settled in New Zealand. Here, you can learn about the lifecycle of a coconut and watch a demonstration on how to husk and open this tropical fruit.
Continue on to Titikaveka Church -- the oldest church on the island -- before reaching Papaaroa Beach. A short stroll along the beach gives you a chance to admire the panoramic views.
Your next destination is Black Rock -- a volcanic boulder on the edge of the lagoon traditionally believed to be the departure point of spirits headed to the afterlife.
Old church buildings and plantations of citrus, bananas, tapioca, papaya and taro line your scenic drive back to the pier. You'll end your day with a greater appreciation of Rarotonga's rich culture and history.
This is primarily a panoramic drive but participants must negotiate slopes and/or uneven surfaces, and must be able to board the coach unaided. Transportation may be basic and without air-conditioning. Bottled water is provided.