The West coast of Rarotonga is one long stretch of sandy beach backed mostly by ironwood trees and plenty of small resorts and self-catering bungalows. Being leeward side of the island, it is also protected from the prevailing winds and tropical sunsets are a definite plus.
The west coast starts at Black Rock in the north, opposite the 9-hole public Rarotongan Golf Course. Black Rock is an excellent swimming and snorkelling spot and is a good place to spot humpback whales when they visit the island between June and October. Heading inland from here and winding up the mountains past the Rarotonga Hospital is a great place to explore by foot and take in the sweeping views over the coastline. On the northern portion of the west coast are a handful of small bungalows properties, two boutique resorts, the largest resort in the Cook Islands (The Edgewater), and six good independent restaurants which all within walking distance of each other.
Lying in the heart of the west coast is Arorangi Village, the largest village in Rarotonga. There are a couple of boutique shops along the road selling local arts and craft and village stores for buying fod supplies. The village sprawls along the road for about two kilometres.
Aroa Beach and the South-West
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 on the inland road.