6 ways to be active on Rarotonga which don't involve the beach

Wed, 01/06/2016 - 8:00am
Read Time: 1.7 mins

Of course you're free to simply eat, drink and be lazy in Rarotonga – you are on holiday, after all. But if you're looking to burn a few calories you'll find no shortage of options, on and off the water.

Ura Fitness Ura Fitness's weekly open-air class. Photo: Facebook.com/UraFitness



Ura Dancing

Ura is the hip-swivelling dance of the Cook Islands, traditionally performed by women to a drumming accompaniment. Ura Fitness offers totally unique and very fun classes – absolute beginners welcome – outside at the Koka Lagoon Cruises office every Friday at 3pm. Bring a pareu (sarong) and a $2 koha.


Rarotonga has one golf course, at Nikao, near the airport. Managed by the Rarotonga Golf Club, this is an 9 hole course with a befuddling layout (if you can't find your next tee position, just ask another golfer) and some unusual hazards, including the masts and stays of the island's cable and wireless station. Green fees are $20 per player if you have your own clubs, or $45 including hire of clubs, balls and tees.

Te Rua Manga, the Needle, Rarotonga. Photo: iStock Te Rua Manga, the Needle, Rarotonga. Photo: iStock




There's more to Rarotonga than that stunning coastline – really. Whether it's a short walk between villages or a half-day hike, going by foot is a great way to experience the island's lush inland environment. Easily the most famous is the Cross-Island Track, known as one of the best walks in the South Pacific. The three to four-hour trail takes you past Te Rua Manga, or the Needle, a tall rock formation at the top of one of Rarotonga's largest hills.

You can do the walk on your own – a copy of the widely available track guidebook will explain what you're seeing and help you find your way – or go with a guide, like popular local expert Pa, instantly recognisable by his long blond dreadlocks. However you do the hike, be prepared for some steep and challenging sections (especially after rain), wear sturdy shoes, and take plenty of mosquito repellant.


Missing Les Mills? Never fear – even in this island paradise, you can still pump, lift and burpee to your heart's content. Casual rates at Fitness Cook Islands, opposite the airport in Nikoa, are $10 per visit, or $80 for a week. Day passes are also available at the more basic Top Shape gym in Avarua.


The Edgewater Resort in Arorangi has two international-standard tennis courts that are free for guests to play on, and available to non-members to use for a small fee, which includes racquet and ball hire.


You can work out your frustrations on a little rubber ball for $5 a session or $20 a month at the Cook Islands Squash club in Avarua. Racquets and balls are available for hire. The Edgewater Resort also has two squash courts which can be booked by non-guests.

Catherine McGregor

Catherine McGregor is the deputy editor of The Spinoff and a travel writer with a too-long travel wish list including Jordan, Mexico, Croatia and Taiwan.