South Rarotonga Accommodation
The south coast is the quietest stretch on Rarotonga and has some lovely stretches of palm tree backed beaches but only a few restaurants. There are stunning mountain views from the coast and several tracks head inland which can be explored by foot or moped including the trail to Papua (Wigmore's) Waterfall which continues through the rainforest past The Needle and crossing the island over to Avarua Town on the north coast.
The following guide for accommodation on South Rarotonga moves in an anticlockwise (west-east) direction.
The South West corner of Rarotonga has the delightful Aroa Beach. This is a great swimming lagoon with fine white sand and benefits from all day sun as well as sunsets and sunrises. The mountains here are particularly attractive and there are nice walks amongst villages and family plantations along the inland Ara Metua road.
Vaimaanga is a small village sprawling along the coastal road for a few kilometres and fronts a pretty white sand beach peppered with holiday homes, guesthouses and self-catering villas squashed into small family plots. There's a good size local supermarket at Wigmore, plus a couple of great restaurants including the beachfront Vaima Restaurant and the Yellow Hibiscus at Palm Grove.
Wigmore Waterfall and Te Rua Needle
Take the Papua Road beside the abandoned Sheraton Resort (from the 1990s) and meander inland to Wigmore's Waterfall. It's pretty after heavy rains but dries up when rains haven't fallen for a while and there's a decent pool for swimming / jumping into depending on the depth at the time.
Sea Change Villas$$$$$
The middle section of the South Coast has only a narrow strip of sand almost hugging the road with only a few houses but there's good snorkelling in the lagoon here. Once you reach Titikaveka the beach broadens and the tourist beach bungalows and holiday homes come thick and fast again for almost 3km. The village of Titikaveka has a prominent white church, High School with a rugby field and a popular Bingo Hall. At the eastern end of the village, towards Muri Beach, is the Fruits of Rarotonga where you can buy local produce and a little further on, the Maire Nui Gardens is a therapeutic spot to enjoy landscaped walks along with homemade foods from its cafe. The snorkelling in the lagoon between these two points is the best in Rarotonga.
Takitumu Conservation Area
Inland from Titikaveka is the 380 acre Takitumu Conservation Area which aims to protect the natural forests and endemic bird-life here including the endangered Rarotongan Flycatcher (kakerori), along with starlings and fruit-doves. Guided walks through the reserve
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