The 10 Best Things To Do In Avarua

Imagine stepping off a plane and being greeted by the warm, tropical breeze of the South Pacific. You’ve just landed in Avarua, the vibrant capital of the Cook Islands, a hidden gem nestled in the heart of Polynesia. With its laid-back charm and stunning natural beauty, Avarua beckons travelers seeking a slice of paradise. Let’s dive into the top 10 things to do in this enchanting town, where every corner promises a new adventure.

1. Stroll Through Punanga Nui Market

Start your Avarua exploration at the Punanga Nui Market, a bustling hub of culture and commerce. Open primarily on Saturday mornings, it’s a feast for the senses. Here, you can sample local delicacies, sway to the rhythm of island music, and pick up unique handcrafted souvenirs. Don’t miss out on the freshly prepared ika mata, a traditional dish made with raw fish marinated in Citrus and coconut cream. It’s a culinary delight that’ll have you coming back for seconds!

2. Discover the Cook Islands Library and Museum

For history buffs, the Cook Islands Library and Museum is a treasure trove. It’s a quaint space packed with artifacts that tell the story of the islands’ past. You’ll find everything from ancient weaponry to rare books. It’s a quiet spot to while away an afternoon, soaking up knowledge and escaping the tropical heat.

3. Visit the Cook Islands Christian Church (CICC)

The CICC, with its pristine white facade, stands as a testament to the island’s spiritual heritage. Attending a Sunday service is a soul-stirring experience, with harmonious hymns sung in Maori echoing through its historic walls. Even if you’re not religious, the church’s architecture and the warmth of its congregation are truly captivating.

4. Relax at Avarua’s Beaches

No trip to Avarua is complete without a day at the beach. The nearby Black Rock Beach offers a picturesque spot for sunbathing and swimming. The volcanic rocks that dot the coastline create a dramatic backdrop for that perfect holiday snap. And if you’re lucky, you might just spot a sea turtle gliding through the clear blue waters.

5. Explore the Te Rua Manga (The Needle)

Adventure seekers, gear up for a hike to Te Rua Manga, a striking rock formation also known as The Needle. It’s a bit of a climb, but the panoramic views from the top are nothing short of breathtaking. You’ll be surrounded by lush rainforest and might even encounter some of the island’s unique birdlife along the way.

6. Indulge in Local Cuisine

Avarua’s dining scene is a delightful blend of traditional and contemporary flavors. From oceanfront restaurants to cozy cafes, there’s something to satisfy every palate. Be sure to try the rukau, Taro leaves cooked with coconut cream, and pair it with a refreshing nu, a young coconut drink.

7. Shop for Pearls and Handicrafts

The Cook Islands are renowned for their exquisite black pearls, and Avarua’s shops offer a wide selection of jewelry featuring these lustrous gems. Alongside pearls, you’ll find vibrant textiles, wood carvings, and other handcrafted items that make for perfect mementos of your island getaway.

8. Take a Cultural Tour

Immerse yourself in the local culture with a guided tour. You’ll learn about the island’s traditions, visit sacred marae (ancient ceremonial sites), and even try your hand at traditional crafts. It’s an enriching experience that gives you a deeper appreciation for Avarua’s rich heritage.

9. Enjoy a Night Out at Whatever! Bar & grill

As the sun sets, head to Whatever! Bar & Grill for a lively evening. With its friendly atmosphere and live music, it’s a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Sip on a tropical cocktail and dance the night away under the stars—it’s the perfect way to cap off a day in paradise.

10. Visit the Beachcomber Pearl Market

Last but not least, the Beachcomber Pearl Market is a must-visit for those looking to take a piece of Avarua’s beauty home with them. Here, you can witness pearl artisans at work and even select your own pearl to be set in a custom piece of jewelry. It’s a unique experience that combines shopping with a touch of island magic.


  • What’s the best time of year to visit Avarua?

    The ideal time to visit Avarua is during the dry season, from April to November, when the weather is pleasant and there’s less rainfall.

  • Are there activities for children in Avarua?

    Absolutely! Avarua offers beach fun, lagoon explorations, and cultural experiences that are both educational and entertaining for kids.

  • Do I need to rent a car in Avarua?

    While Avarua is walkable, renting a scooter or car can give you the freedom to explore more of the island at your own pace.


In Avarua, every day is an opportunity to create unforgettable memories. From the vibrant Punanga Nui Market to the serene beaches, the town is brimming with activities that cater to all tastes. Whether you’re hiking up to The Needle for awe-inspiring views, delving into the local culture, or simply enjoying the laid-back island lifestyle, Avarua is sure to capture your heart. So pack your bags, grab your sense of adventure, and get ready to experience the best that this Polynesian paradise has to offer. Trust me, it’s an escapade you won’t want to miss!

Remember, Avarua isn’t just a destination; it’s a feeling. A feeling of warmth, discovery, and pure joy. So why wait? The adventure of a lifetime awaits in the heart of the Cook Islands. See you there!

Kurby Team

The Kurby Content Team is a diverse group of seasoned real estate experts dedicated to providing insightful, reliable information for homebuyers, real estate investors, and real estate agents. With backgrounds ranging from real estate brokerage, property investment, and residential home buying, our team combines decades of experience with a passion for demystifying the real estate world. We at Kurby are committed to helping you make informed, successful real estate decisions. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer, a seasoned investor, or a real estate professional, count on the Kurby Content Team to deliver the most relevant, actionable real estate content you need.