The Cook Islands Whale and Wildlife Centre

The Cook Islands Whale and Wildlife Centre

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Back Road, Atupa, Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Opposite Mike Tavioni Carvings
900 metres from Avatiu Harbour Corner
Ph 21666 or 55901
Email: wildlifecentre@whaleresearch.org

Open 10am-4pm
Sunday to Friday
Open most Public Holidays

We can open early or stay open late for Group Bookings.
Contact us to arrange a visit that suits you.
We can arrange transfers for group bookings also.

Entrance Fee to Exhibit Centre:

  • Adults $12
  • Children $6
  • Group and family discounts
  • Locals ½ price


  • Exhibit Centre: spend an hour or more exploring our over comprehensive exhibits including live creatures and ‘hands on’ display. Check out our Exhibits in our GALLERY.
  • Souvenir Shop: jewellery and carvings, Tshirts, singlets and hats, toys and activities, Whale Photos and Cards, Fish posters, underwater slates and cameras, Stickers, Pens, Key Rings and Can Coolers….
  • Café: Great Espresso Coffee, wide selection of Teas and Cold Drinks, Ice blocks and Milk shakes, Whale ginger biscuits, Muffins, Coconut Slice, Quiche & Salad, Pizza Bread, Snacks, Grilled Sandwiches and the Best Fresh Sandwiches, even Nutella or Vegemite for the kids!
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • WIFI Hotspot and E-Service Sales
  • Children friendly/activities and toy box
  • Customer Toilet


The Cook Islands Whale and Wildlife Centre Cafe

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Nan Hauser, with the assistance of benefactors Joan Daeschler and Helen Jordan, founded and built a Whale Education Centre on the Are Matua of Rarotonga, Cook Islands in 2000.

For the past 11 year, the Centre has served as an educational experience for locals, tourists, students, interns, visiting scientists, volunteers and government officials. It has been a place to view videos, exhibits, specimens, whale-related artifacts and artwork by the children of the Centre. School groups visit the Centre and educational courses have been adopted into the local school curriculum and the internet.

Good friends, Sheryl and Huw John, have joined the efforts of the Whale Education Centre by collaborating with new thoughts and exhibits, a small theatre and a coffee/giftshop.

We are extremely happy and grateful about the support and involvement that Sheryl and Huw have brought to the Whale Centre.

The Centre’s doors will be open for 6 days a week, allowing locals, tourist and students to learn about the Cook Islands and the ocean that surrounds us. The Centre gives everyone a better understanding of the country and its interesting history.

Thousands of people have visited. Many keep in touch and write personal whale stories and send newspaper clippings. The centre has served as a place of education, raising awareness and bringing curious people of all ages, together. It has provided a safe, learning environment for children after school and school groups during school hours. The children over the years have learned to care for the environment and take “ownership” of their whales, dolphins, sharks & turtles.

The Cook Islands Whale & Wildlife Centre is introducing more exhibits on the Ocean and its inhabitants, the shipwrecks, the geology, the land animals, the history, etc. here in the Cook Islands. The John’s have a deep concern for the Oceans, the whales and the environment along with the whale research team.

Elena & Edwin Tavioni, Air New Zealand, T & M Heather, Strickland Motors, Pacific Marine Charters, Akura Charters, Delano Fishing Charters, D-Vent Sheet Metal, all the fishermen and many other Cook Island companies have continued to support us in our efforts over the years to keep the whale research going. (Many thanks everyone!)

Collectively, holding the same vision, enlarges the creation of all great things!

More about the centre ...



© Center for Cetacean Research and Conservation, 2004-13. All photos © Nan Hauser.
Please direct web comments and questions to: info@whaleresearch.org