Linda is such a thoughtful host and the accommodation is clean and very well appointed and comfortable. Great shower water pressure! Location and accommodation is perfect if you are after more low key/laid back /do your own thing holiday and want to be away from the touristy hustle and bustle side of the island and is a perfect spot with a lazy short walk to the beach, a store for food and ice creams (in a cone....kids have never had so many ice creams in a week!) a few minutes walk down the road along with a little cafe for burgers and beers or coffees (best iced coffee I have had in a long time). Also within walking distance to beach bars down the road to enjoy a drink and watch the sunset over the sea. Absolutely magical. The location, the beautiful tropical garden with bananas, limes (handy for your gin and cocktails) and other fruits for your picking along with a thoughtful and helpful host make this a lovely alternative to resort/hotel accommodation overall offering a more authentic island experience and holiday. Highly recommend.
We spent 9 weeks in Rarotonga, New Zealand and Tokyo and our week at Island Harmony Cottage was an absolute highlight of our trip. Although more expensive than we would normally consider, we thought we'd lash out on a bit of comfort at the start of our trip to get over our jet lag. We are so glad we did. The house and garden were lovely and had everything we needed. We felt so relaxed there being set in a garden paradise well back from the road. Linda was an exceptionally welcoming and generous host. The snorkeling off the local white sand beach is about as good as anywhere on the island - lots of lovely fish but almost entirely dead reef, as it is all round the island unfortunately. We were lucky in that our visit coincided with tropical fruit season and we were inundated with the most delicious mangoes and passion fruit we have ever tasted, all hanging from the trees in Linda's garden. We arrived from a miserable English winter to high humidity and 28 degrees on verdant and beautiful Rarotonga. It was like a wonderful dream. The weather was very mixed this time of year with much rain but that just added to the contrast. Given how warm it was, we decided to do the cross island walk in torrential rain without waterproofs which was such a sensual experience! Our three children loved the house, garden and Rarotonga, saying how much it reminded them of the Disney film 'Moana'. The singing on Sunday mornings at Arorangi church is also not to be missed.
Originally I had meant to stay 4 nights - in fact I stayed 12! I guess this tells you more than some details....! But: truely enjoyable was the location of the house to me as it is not directly at the street but not too far away from it either, i.e. it is easy to walk to the beach. Also, the garden with Linda's fruit trees and the wonderful corner of the porch where you can enjoy your breakfast added to the picture that I so much enjoyed. Linda was a perfect host, extremely helpful and nice in any possible way! I hope to be able to be back very soon!
Wonderful! It’s so comfortable! The air was cool without the need for aircon. The screens kept the bugs out. The fresh fruit and kind hosts were very much appreciated. My wife is a clean freak, and she approved. We made it a week without our own transportation, using buses mostly, but guests should consider bicycles or a car or a motorbike. There is a store five-minutes walk and a few restaurants too. The beach is less than 5 min. It’s a great side of the island, very quiet.
Our family (two adults, one child) spent 11 nights in this wonderful cottage and couldn't have been happier with our choice of accommodation and location for our first Cook Islands holiday.
Firstly the location is great - a short distance up a cul de sac from Ara Maata / Ara Tapu (aka the main road) it was very quiet, and felt much more like being part of local life rather than the more heavily tourist oriented parts of the island. We really enjoyed walking past the few neighbouring houses and taro fields on the way to the beach which is less than five minutes walk away and fantastic for sunbathing, swimming / snorkelling (in the shallow lagoon, great for kids), kayaking and general relaxing.
Turn left at the main road and the well stocked Kavera Central Store (stocking pretty much everything you need for self-catering)is just a couple of minutes walk away. Also there is Cafe Maori (coffee, well-priced burgers, beer) and an icecream store where the servers are very generous with the scoop size!. Next door is a business where you can hire bicycles, scooters, sea kayaks etc. On the beach side opposite the shop there are public toilets, beach showers, and outdoor tables which makes it great for extended periods at the beach. A bit further on, but still within easy walking distance is Cocoputt - combing alcoholic beverages, restaurant, and mini-golf it was a hit with us.
Turn right at the main road, and it is only a few minutes to a great beach bar (Shipwreck Bar at Aro'a Beachside Inn) while a bit further on you can get fantastic and great value fish and chips at The Pacific Fish and Chip Shop.
In our experience, there is no necessity to leave the vicinity of the cottage, though of course there are lots of attractions and things to do in other parts of Raro. We accomplished using the fun local bus service (which stops near the store) and the pickup services provided by various tour operators when booking paid activities like lagoon tours and the cross-island walk. Of course we had the luxury of time on the island - if you were there for a short time hiring a car or scooters would make it easier to see more. The main thing I would say is don't be put off by perceptions of distance from the 'tourist hot spots' - accessing them is really quite straightforward if you want to, while Island Harmony and Arorangi District have their own benefits of being a bit removed from the 'crowds'.
The cottage itself is really quite large, extremely well-equipped and magnificently clean. We cooked at 'home' most nights and really enjoyed just relaxing in the cottage and grounds. The cross ventilation made it very comfortable, the beds were large and comfortable, the hot water and water pressure great, and we really appreciated having the laundry facilities to wash / rinse out clothes and swimwear and have them dry overnight. One thing to note, which didn't impact us but may do others, is that the second large bed is open plan to the kitchen area / entry and access to the bathroom - as such it may not be ideal for two couples or those who must have privacy (there is a freestanding room divider).
On the subject of noise, much is made of the roosters but although there were a few around we didn't find they interrupted our sleep at all. Laying in bed at night the main sounds you could hear were the waves on the reef and, occasionally, the distant drumming of the (highly recommended) evening showing at Highland Paradise. Similarly we had no issues with mosquitoes, though we were careful to apply repellent, not really noticing any at all around the cottage during our stay.
Communication with the owner was clear, simple, and timely both before and during our stay - not that we had any issues at all that required her attention during our time in Raro. She was kind enough to book our airport transfers and provide some great tips on things to do.
All in all Island Harmony Cottage and Arorangi District come highly recommended as places to base yourself for a wonderful, extra relaxing, comfortable holiday on Raro. We certainly hope to be back sooner rather than later.
This is the perfect cottage for an island getaway. Linda was the perfect host and the cottage was clean and well equipped. It was surrounded by a stunning garden and only a short walk to one of the best beaches on the island. There are good restaurants close by and a good convenience store 2 minutes walk along the road. You would be hard pressed to find better value than this and I whole heartedly recommend it
We enjoyed 4 nights at Linda's Island Harmony Cottage. We were a family group of 4 adults and the cottage had everything we needed - all the comforts of home and space for us all. The beds are really comfy. The screens all round keep the mozzies out. We only did basic cooking (hey, it was a holiday) but could see the kitchen is well equipped. We had cloudy weather and had to use the booster for the solar hot water on a couple of occasions and it worked well. It's situated far enough away from the ring road to be peaceful and still just a short stroll to the beach.