In recent years Rarotonga has become New Zealand's answer to Honolulu with 95,000 visitors to an island of 14,000 inhabitants, the same seven-to-one visitor/resident ratio experienced in Hawaii.
Lodges and resorts completely encircle Rarotonga, and to find that "last heaven on earth" promised in the brochures you must escape to an outer island. Yet Raro remains one of the most beautiful islands in Polynesia, somewhat reminiscent of Moorea (though only half as large). And compared to the bustle of Tahiti and Moorea, Rarotonga is slow and laidback.
If you enjoy the excitement of big tourist resorts with plenty of opportunities for shopping and eating out, you'll like Rarotonga. Just bear in mind that everything in Avarua shuts suddenly at 1630 weekdays and around noon on Saturday.