If you have not heard of them, Neil and Tim Finn are famous musicians from nearby New Zealand. At various times they have performed together in Split Enz, Crowded House, and simply as the Finn Brothers. Their album Finn has two musical links to Rarotonga.
First, the Avarua Presbyterian Choir contributes vocals to the beginning of “Paradise”. Sure, “Paradise wherever you are” seems to indicate either that paradise is made either by the presence of your loved one, or possibly even by simply deciding that paradise is where you are, wherever you may be. However, with the inclusion of heavenly Rarotongan voices and the mention of a hammock, well, spend some time here and see if the word “paradise” doesn’t come up in your thoughts and conversations.
The other song is a little more down to earth—literally. “Kiss the Road of Rarotonga” was inspired by a motorcycle accident Tim had while visiting the island.
That road was probably the Ara Tapu, the main road of Rarotonga which circles the island. This is sealed road, and about 32 kilometers long. There is another main road that goes inland, and winds through local farmland, where you will see fields of taro, pawpaw, and bananas.
If you would like to take the scenic route, renting mopeds is a popular way of seeing the island. Scooters are the primary form of transportation. To rent these or regular cars you must have a valid Cook Islands drivers license. You can get this by presenting your license from your own country at the police station. They will remind you to drive on the left side of the road. If your license does not have a motorcycle endorsement, you will need to take a brief driving test before being able to rent motorbikes and scooters.
You can also rent regular bikes. There are no hills on the Ara Tapu, allowing you to have a leisurely ride, and it is a great way to save on petrol and build up an appetite.
If you want someone else to do the driving, consider taking the bus! The Cook’s Island Bus leaves hourly in either direction from the shopping center, circling the island in about fifty minutes. Perhaps a bus ride will be a good scouting opportunity before taking the wheel (or the pedals) yourself.
We hope none of your adventures here involve eating gravel, so be careful while having fun. If you do get some minor bumps, well, you have picked a beautiful place to recover. If you stay upright for your entire trip, you may find that you still want to kiss the road of Rarotonga just for being so beautiful.