Cook Islands

Where clichés come to life

The Cook Islands are the pearl of Polynesia; 15 islands situated between French Polynesia and American Samoa, the most well-known of which is Rarotonga. Self-governing, they are in free association with New Zealand, which means the inhabitants are both New Zealand citizens and Cook Islands nationals. Here you’ll find a mix of ancient Polynesian traditions fused with a contemporary cafe and nightlife scene that makes these places so appealing to Kiwi travellers. 

Rarotonga, or “Raro” as it’s affectionately called by so many travellers, is the largest island in the Cook Islands group. It’s a place of incredible natural beauty - this is no doubt where the clichés of “crystal blue waters” and “sparkling white sand” originated. The island is also dominated by volcanic peaks and mountains that offer a wealth of hiking trails for those wanting to escape the beach for a little while - though you might not want to! 

Venture outside of Raro, however, and you’ll be rewarded with an experience few tourists get. Explore the coffee plantations of ‘Atiu, the limestone burial caves of Mangaia, kayak Aitutaki’s lagoon or take a tour of the circular road past the secluded coves of Ma’uke. Our expert travel consultants can help you plan an itinerary that gets you to the heart of the Cook Islands for a unique Pacific experience.

Things you should know about the Cook Islands

The Cook Islands were settled by Polynesians from Tahiti around 900AD. 

The Cook Islands were named after Captain Cook, but the first Europeans to sight these islands were Spaniards.

There are actually more Cook Islanders in New Zealand than there are in the Cook Islands themselves.

Tips and advice from our travel advisors

Highly recommend hiring a rental car (or scooter if you dare!) when on the island of Rarotonga. It is the best (and only way really) to get around the island. Also, eat away from your resort, there are so many local restaurants that are worth visiting and would benefit from your spending dollars
Teryl Tumai
World Travellers Fuzion Travel
I highly suggest a day trip ex. Rarotonga to the island of Aitutaki. The day trip covers this amazingly beautiful little island in the day, including One Foot Island, cruising the lagoon, snorkelling as well as the domestic flights. It’s not a cheap day trip, but worth it if staying on the island of Aitutaki is beyond your budget.
Teryl Tumai
World Travellers Fuzion Travel
Rarotonga is an easy Island to navigate 40 minutes round trip, use scooters,bus or get a rental vehicle. Lots to see and do, Whale watching, party bus, amazing fish burgers at Charlies, paddle boarding, best snorkelling at the Rarotongan we found. Fly to Aitutaki on a day trip, day and night markets are a hit -local produce delicious-local fruit smoothies yum,hike “The Needle” or simply relax with a cold beverage in hand and read your book. I’ll be back one day for sure!
Stacey Trewavas
World Travellers Motueka

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