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trade winds in August/surfing spots/rarotongan beach resort

Newcastle, Australia
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trade winds in August/surfing spots/rarotongan beach resort

hey guys,

my wife, & i are looking (& baby) are looking at staying at the Rarotongan beach resort & spa for 10 days late August..i know there are so many mixed reviews for this hotel regarding dated facilities/bad service etc..

we would be staying here mostly for beachfront access/snorkelling/surfing..hoping that this overcomes any lack of dated ofacilities/service during our stay etc..

my questions are:

1) during this time of year would the trade winds be coming straight into the beach making it too cold/windy to make use of the beach front anyway? (so would it be better staying more north-west to avoid the trade winds despite it being the better beachfront?)

2) any local knowledge/tips on the best surfing spots that time of year (late Aug) would be much appreciated!

3) are there any cafe’s/restaurants within walking distance of the Rarotongan resort?

thanks in advance for any help in these areas!

6 replies to this topic
Rarotonga, Cook...
Destination Expert
for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland Central
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128 reviews
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1. Re: trade winds in August/surfing spots/rarotongan beach resort

Kia Orana stewo7, welcome to the Cook Islands forum.

The SE wind will be blowing onshore to the Rarotongan Resort in August. I recall staying at the resort for 2 weeks when my youngest was 3 months old, so I mostly stayed inside of our beachfront room, while my husband and our older son went out to brave the choppy water and windy beachfront. Thank goodness we had a house under renovation on the sheltered northern side to escape to.

If you are content on staying in the Aroa locale, I suggest that you also look at Lagoon Breeze villas which are on the inland side of the road with more shelter and great family-oriented facilities. You will still have ready access to snorkelling, and swimming, plus a sheltered guests pool onsite. Although there is no licenced dining at Lagoon Breeze, but they do have a guest's bar, BBQs and a breakfast pavillion.

In the NW there are the Cooks Oasis villas which also receive better shelter. Small resort, with a lap pool, guests activities hut, pretty beach for a swim or snorkel. With better swimming and snorkelling at nearby Black Rock. Really good access to both the Kikau Hut restaurant at the front of this resort, and a useful side entrance into the Anchorage restaurant, with other dining options within walking distance.

Unless you are very experienced in surfing coral reefs, I suggest going to Black Rock for surfing with local guys who know this reef well and this is where they tend to congregate. Local knowledge will be most helpful.

The Rarotongan Resort has onsite licenced dining, and the nearest alternative is across the road at the Kaena steakhouse which serves burgers and fish and chips during the daytime. Cocoputt to the west of Lagoon Breeze is a popular bistro and with a minigolf course also.

All the best deciding upon your accommodation option. Kia manuia.

Pacifica, CA
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49 posts
5 reviews
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2. Re: trade winds in August/surfing spots/rarotongan beach resort

Stew, if you're an experienced surfer you'll score. In August you can expect near-constant swell to hit the southern reef passes. Rutaki and Ava'avaroa passes are both square drainers and very isolated, and a long way out there so always are bigger than they look. If your leash snaps you'll have to come in over the reef unless you can get to the channel on an incoming tide - even then it can be flowing out if the wind is pushing the lagoon water north. I would recommend walking out to the passes on the low to see them up close before paddling out - people drown at the passes almost every year. And make sure you know how to get to the hospital - if it goes badly you'll need stitches. Avana pass is a lot safer but usually blown out in August, but if it's calm you can score a nice right, and it's a much safer spot. Black Rock/Social Centre is a user-friendly (by Raro' standards) spot that can peel off down the reef, and in August will be offshore most days. There's also a fairly mellow left you can paddle to from Trader Jacks - it's a fun spot for a longer board but generally only breaks properly in the summer months. Put simply, Rarotonga has great surf but it's a very serious location. There's a reason most locals bodyboard - you hit the reef less often.

Hope this helped.

Pacifica, CA
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49 posts
5 reviews
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3. Re: trade winds in August/surfing spots/rarotongan beach resort

Stew I just re-read my post and realised I should have mentioned the prevailing winds in August are out of the south/southeast. If you look at a map of Rarotonga you'll see that those are onshore at Avana, and on/side shore at the passes but offshore at social centre. In August if you want to hit the passes you need to be ready to go anytime it glasses off or swings north, which it will do.

And I thought I should go into more detail regarding the southern passes. The current going out can be unreal - you'll never paddle against it. It's not just tidal either - as the tide rises water enters the lagoon over the reef as well as through the passes, and if the wind is cranking out of the E/SE it pushes water west along the lagoon until it hits the passes. So at times you can see the water flowing out the passes even though the tide is rising. It'll surge in and out and make for properly dodgy boils and whirls.

Newcastle, Australia
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4. Re: trade winds in August/surfing spots/rarotongan beach resort

hey guys,

thanks so much for all that info!

it has been really helpful, & i appreciate you taking the time to give me some info to help with our decision making!

Rarotonga, Cook...
Destination Expert
for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland Central
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128 reviews
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5. Re: trade winds in August/surfing spots/rarotongan beach resort

If it helps, we watched several people on paddle boards waiting alongside the reef near the Rarotongan yesterday. There is an undertow as the waves break then the water rushes back over the reefline out to the ocean. I'm aware that resorts warn guests of the dangers of taking equipment close to the reef for this reason.

Thought I'd mention this aspect, because as tempting as the high waves were at Aroa yesterday, the impacts could spell trouble for inexperienced people. We waited until the 4 people decided against tempting fate further and came into safer area of the lagoon. Good to see that they made it safely.

Earlier we stopped at Nikao beach, which remains my favourite lagoon on the island. They were 6 people on short boards beyond the reef where conditions were really good for some great rides. Calm seas, but good wave breaks. Ideal conditions for the guys onshore to watch their mates over the reef.

Pacifica, CA
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49 posts
5 reviews
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6. Re: trade winds in August/surfing spots/rarotongan beach resort

No worries Stew, hope you enjoy your time.

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