Photography Highlights in Rarotonga

Gear: Nikon D7100 camera, Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D lens.
Settings: Exposure 1/125 sec; f2.8; ISO 800.

With crystal clear azure waters, swaying palm trees and bone-white sands, this picturesque little island offer many photography highlights.

Rarotonga is the biggest and most visited island out of the 15 islands, but it is still relatively small – the circumference is only 32km and is easy to navigate (you can’t really get lost here!).

In Raro there is definitely that island-time feel – waking up the sounds of the Rarotongan drum (Pate) in the distance and the roosters crowing on the back lawn. But my recent two month-long photography assignment was far from boring or uneventful.

Every day I discovered new opportunities and locations to cover in rain or shine. After years of traveling the world, no island has pulled me back to return again like Rarotonga has.

Gear: Nikon D7100 camera, Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D lens. Settings: Exposure 1/125 sec; f2.8; ISO 800.

Photography Highlight #1 – The Beaches, of course!

The beautiful beaches filled with contrasting colours, vibrant hues and of the south coast were my favourite. Titikaveka beach (near little Polynesian resort) won my vote along with the ever popular Muri coming in second place

Young woman looking at sarongs for sale at the markets in Rarotonga Cook Islands

Photography Highlight #2 – Saturday Market

The Saturday Punanga Nui Market is filled with bustling stall owners, song and dance and a chance to see support the locals

Photography Highlight #3 – The Sunrises

Rarotonga for its known for its impressive sunsets on the west coast and has many dining and accommodation options built with this in mind, but the colourful sunrises in Muri are definately worth getting up early for too!

olynesian Pacific Islander man and woman dancing at Muri lagoon in Rarotonga Cook Islands

Photography Highlight #4 – Friendly People and beautiful culture

Aside from the white washed churches that splatter the island and the mesmerising traditional hip-shaking cultural dance shows, Cook Islanders are some of the kindest and friendliest people I have met.

Photography Highlight #5 -The interior – Mountain Trek

Head into the mountains to get up close and personal with nature and wildlife such as beautiful butterflies or colorful Pacific pigeons (rupe). The interior is lush and green with many hiking paths to explore. The most popular is the cross-Island trek that starts from Avatiu and ends at Wigmore’s waterfall, passing by the Needle (Te Rua Manga). Pa’s treks The track is through dense tropical rainforest through steep and narrow terrain and takes about 3 hours. There are also many smaller tracks all around the island which will give you a chance to capture the lush interior in only a few hours.

Photography Highlight #6 – From above and below

Impressive from under the water and over the land, the clear and calm lagoon waters are perfect for underwater photography, while a short 40min plane ride over land to capture the panorama of the coral atoll and picturesque reef and lagoon in every imaginable shade of blue will definitely be a lasting memory. The aren’t any drone restrictions here that I know of like in many other countries which make this photograph a lot easier to capture.

Recommended Gear: underwater camera, drone (or take a scenic flight with Air Rarotonga), backup camera and accessories (you can’t get them fixed or replaced on the island).

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