I've just come back from a relaxing holiday in Rarotonga in the beautiful Cook Islands.
I didn't set out to buy fabric while on holidays, so hadn't done any research before I went. But seeing so many beautiful tropical floral print clothes everywhere you go really makes you want to buy some fabric to make your own creation. I did do some research when I got home to see if I missed anything.
Whilst driving around the island one day, we stopped at the first shop I saw that had "Fabric" written on the sign out the front. It was a dressmaker's shop, with racks of ready made clothes, and bolts of fabric lining the back and side walls. When I started talking to the owner however, they didn't seem to understand that I wanted to buy the fabric to make clothes myself, and although they did tell me how much the fabric was to buy from them, dissuaded me from buying it, and told me where else to look for fabric, at half the price!
For the largest selection that I have ever seen of tropical floral print fabrics, Vonnia's is the place to go. Their warehouse shop is in Avarua, just off Ara Tapu (the Main Road) on St Joseph Rd.
They have a second location on the west coast of the island in Arorangi village, on the inland side of the Main Road.
Although fabrics are priced by the yard, for those that I bought, when I got them home and measured them, I found that I actually had the amounts that I had asked for in metres rather than yards. Maybe my salesperson was just feeling generous? They ranged in price from NZ$6.00 to NZ$7.70 per yard. One of my fabrics is rayon, with the other two being cottons.
While in the area, if you head further down the Main Road in Avatiu, you can also buy fabric at The Gift Shop, located on the inland side of the road. The selection of fabrics here is smaller, but the pricing is similar to that of Vonnia's.
My post holiday research also uncovered another shop that carries fabric. Tuki's Pareu is located in Avarua, located near Trader Jack's. As I didn't go there, I can't confirm what fabric they have, but I have found mention on several other websites that they do sell fabric. In all my paperwork that I brought home, I found a website on one of their ads, but when I checked it, it directs elsewhere, so I can't confirm what they have direct from the source.
If you're heading to Rarotonga, enjoy your stay in this little piece of paradise, and don't forget to buy some fabric so you can make your own wearable souvenir when you get home.