The commercial and political centre of the country
The bustling township of Avarua on the northern side of Rarotonga is the commercial and political centre of the country. It is simply referred to as 'town' by most locals. This is where you will find the banks, post office, police station, government departments and the bigger shops (although small stores have sprung up around Rarotonga, especially at Muri Beach on the south end). The Cook Islands tourist information centre is in Avarua as are booking agents for tours and outer island excursions.
It spreads along the waterfront from Avatiu Harbour at one end to the Beachcomber at the other. Shops are generally open from 9am-4pm during the week and on Saturday mornings. Some of the island's smaller general stores open on Sundays but most of the shops in town are closed.
Te Punanga Nui market
There is a selection of bars, restaurants, cafes and takeaways in and near Avarua which is also the centre of the island's nightlife - especially on Friday and Saturday nights.
There are a number of interesting historical buildings in and near Avarua. The airport is a kilometre or so to the west.
Te Punanga Nui market is at the western entrance to town. A small range of fresh fruit, vegetables and crafts is sold here during the week but the real Market Day is on Saturday morning when Te Punanga Nui bursts with people, goods to buy and entertainment.