Perfect retreat in Paradise #arcadiaretreat #rarotonga

We had a wonderful and very relaxing 12 days soaking up the tranquility at Arcadia Retreat at Arorangi in Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. Arcadia has 3 villas, a beautiful pool and gardens and is just 200m from the beach. At night you can hear the sound of the ocean and in the morning you awake to beautiful sunrises over the hills of Rarotonga. Absolute bliss.

The beautiful pool at Arcadia Retreat, Rarotonga
View from the balcony at Villa Ta’i at Arcadia Retreat, Cook Islands

Villa Ta’i in which we stayed was beautifully decorated and spotlessly clean with 2 bedrooms, well equipped kitchen and access to a barbecue in the gazebo near the resort style pool. Arcadia Retreat has stunning views to the hills on Rarotonga and beautifully maintained tropical gardens.

Main bedroom at Villa Ta’i with doors opening out to large balcony.

Our Villa had very comfortable beds, good shower, a big balcony and lots of different areas to lounge, read and relax. Ceiling fans throughout the Villa and breezes from the hills kept the house cool and comfortable throughout our stay over December and January. There are only 3 villas available to stay in, so numbers of other guests are kept to a minimum. I would highly recommend this as a great option to staying in a busy resort.

Sunrise at Arcadia Retreat, Rarotonga (view from Villa Ta’i at Arcadia Retreat Rarotonga)

Maxine and Neil were helpful and friendly hosts who assisted with maps and tips to set us up for our stay. Arcadia Retreat is also conveniently located near a Vodafone hot spot so once you have purchased your wifi pass from the local Kavera supermarket internet access is very good. Although we spent most of the time exploring, snorkelling, swimming reading books and lazing by the pool.

Beautifully maintained tropical gardens at Arcadia Retreat
Arorangi Beach, 200m from Arcadia Retreat

We hired a car for our stay so we were able to trip around the island and enjoy lunches at some lovely restaurants and sunset drinks at Shipwreck Hut, a laidback and rustic beach bar, which is just a ten minute beautiful beach walk away.

Sunset at Shipwreck Hut, Arorangi Beach, Rarotonga
Great island sunsets and humour at Rarotonga beach bar: Shipwreck Hut.
Walking back to Arcadia Retreat from Shipwreck Hut beach bar. No need to drive!

Arcadia Retreat is also very close to Pacific Fish and Chip Shop which serves delicious fresh fish grilled or fried.

Pacific Fish and Chip Shop, best fish and chips in Rarotonga
Perfect peaceful retreat in paradise

Book often and book early so as not to miss out on a great accommodation option in Raro.Arcadia Retreat

#Ikamata, A Merry Cook Islands Christmas

After a long and busy year of not much blogging , this Christmas with time on my hands during our Cook Islands holiday, I’m getting back on my blogging “bike”. This setting is perfect for a free spirited foodie!

A slice of paradise – Rarotonga

This week we travelled to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands from Sydney via some excellent meals in Auckland at Giraffe Restaurant and Italian stalwart Baduzzi.

Taro plants growing in Rarotonga

The Cook Islands are made up of 15 islands in the time zone as Hawaii, 21 hours “behind” Australia and across the international dateline, but only 3.5 hours flight from Auckland. (Direct flights from Sydney will recommence in June 2023) ….it’s still Christmas Eve here!

Arriving in Rarotonga really lives up to the description of South Pacific Paradise, and the warm tropical air makes you instantly relax. We are staying with friends Neil and Maxine who have relocated here and are running the beautiful property Arcadia Retreat – 3 private homes available for rent – which is just across the road from the beach and with stunning views of the hills around which the small population is scattered.

Neil whipped up his delicious Ika Mata salad for our welcome lunch which was so good we had to request it the next day as well! Ika Mata is the traditional raw fish salad of the Cook Islands which can be served as an entree or main course.

Here’s the recipe which is perfect for any summer’s day across the globe….you just need the freshest tuna/fish you can find …which of course is in abundance here.

Iki Mata lunch on the deck at Arcadia Retreat, Rarotonga


  • 400g fresh tuna cut into small cubes (the smaller the cubes, the faster your fish will cure)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 3-4 tablespoons fresh passionfruit juice (seeds removed) *if you don’t have passionfruit then just add the same quantity of additional lime juice
  • 2 birds eye chillies thinly sliced (you can deseed or make this optional)
  • 3 teaspoons table salt
  • 1 cup of coconut milk (ours was fresh but tinned is fine)
  • Salad items like: finely diced tomatoes, spring onions, peeled and deseeded cucumber, capsicum, and onion


1. Cube tuna and place in a glass or ceramic bowl

2. Mix thinly sliced chilli, salt, orange, lime and passionfruit juice and then pour over the fish and gently mix to cover the fish in the marinade.

3. Place in the fridge to marinate for 20 minutes – half an hour depending on how “cooked through” you’d like your fish.

4. Pour off the liquid from the fish so just the fish and chilli remain in the bowl.

5. Add the salad ingredients, mix through gently and pour over coconut milk and serve.

Ika Mata tuna salad

Eat and enjoy with a crisp white wine, lettuce leaves and some toasted Turkish bread or baguette!

Crispy lettuce leaves and toasted Turkish are delicious accompaniments for Ika Mata