Cook Islands Guide
Where are the best places to stay in the Cook Islands?
Rarotonga is the main island of the Cook Islands and home to the island group’s only international airport. It’s also the most popular place to stay while holidaying on cheap flights to the Cook Islands. Rarotonga is the ideal base for travellers who want to be surrounded by activities and options for things to do. Visitors can take advantage of everything the Cook Islands is known for, including beaches, snorkelling and diving opportunities, excellent local restaurants, and a vibrant Polynesian culture.
Aitutaki is another favourite among travellers visiting the Cook Islands. It’s smaller and more remote than Rarotonga – perfect for travellers who want to stay on an island with a slower pace of life. Aitutaki’s most famous landmark is the lagoon that surrounds it. The lagoon is teeming with aquatic life and is home to some of the best snorkelling and diving in the Cook Islands. Visitors to Aitutaki can also attend cultural evenings that include traditional food and exciting fire-dancing performances.
Mangaia is an excellent spot to visit if you’re hoping to get off the beaten path while holidaying on Cook Islands cheap flights. It’s the second largest of the 15 Cook Islands but sees fewer visitors than Rarotonga or Aitutaki. Some of the must-visit spots include the Te Rua Rere caves, Tuaati Rock Pools, and the remote Ara’oa Beach. Visitors can also tour local marae villages to learn more about the history and culture of Mangaia.
What’s on in the Cook Islands?
International Kite Surfing Contest
Kite surfing enthusiasts from around the world head to Aitutaki in the winter to take part in its International Kite Surfing Contest. Consider entering the competition yourself if you love to kite surf or simply take in the excitement while watching from the beach. Attend the International Kite Surfing Contest by booking tickets to the Cook Islands for travel in late June and early July.
Te Maeva Nui
Te Maeva Nui is an annual celebration of the Cook Islands’ cultural heritage. It marks the day the islands were granted self-governance and became an independent nation back in 1965. The festivities cover all different aspects of Cook Islands culture – food, dance, music, and art. Visitors can attend cultural performances and street parties across the country, with the largest events being held in Rarotonga. Book your return flights to the Cook Islands for the week around 4 August to join in on the Te Maeva Nui festivities.
Te Mire Tiare
Te Mire Tiara is a weeklong flower festival that’s held in Rarotonga each year. Colourful floral designs pop up all across Rarotonga – on schools, shops, and even on some official government buildings. Other beautiful flower displays make their way around the island in parades. In addition to the flowers, other attractions during Te Mire Tiare include a Young Warrior Contest and Miss Tiare Pageant. Browse Cook Islands cheap flights for travel in late November and early December to attend Te Mire Tiare.
What is the best way to get around the Cook Islands?
There are no ferries or public boats available between islands. The best way to island-hop while holidaying on Cook Islands flights is to catch a domestic flight. Air Rarotonga offers flights between the major islands of the Cook Islands.
All international flights to the Cook Islands arrive into and depart from Rarotonga, so chances are you’ll spend some time there during your trip. A public bus loops around the island, providing a great transport option for those holidaying on Rarotonga. The bus operates in both a clockwise and an anti-clockwise direction.
You may also consider hiring a car while visiting the Cook Islands. Browse the selection of rental cars available with Webjet after booking your cheap flights to the Cook Islands. A car comes in handy on Rarotonga as well as on the other islands where public transport isn’t available. Getting around by bike is also an option, particularly on the smaller islands of the Cook Islands.
How much is a flight to the Cook Islands?
The cost of an airfare to the Cook Islands varies based on where you’re travelling from. Flights tend to be cheapest departing from Auckland, with ticket prices starting from about $185 NZD. Prices increase during the high season, averaging about $350 NZD each way. Flights from Wellington start at about $280 NZD and cost around $485 NZD during the winter high season. Cook Islands flights start at about $265 NZD departing from Christchurch, increasing to about $485 NZD in the winter. Queenstown to Rarotonga flights start at about $300 NZD off season up to about $535 NZD during the high season.
How long is a flight to the Cook Islands?
Direct flights to the Cook Islands are available from Auckland, arriving at Rarotonga International Airport (RAR) in about three hours and 35 minutes. Your journey will include a stopover in Auckland if you’re departing from another city in New Zealand. Journey times from the other cities start at about six hours total including the stopover.
What airlines fly to the Cook Islands?
Air New Zealand and Jetstar operate flights between New Zealand and the Cook Islands with direct flights available from Auckland. Air Rarotonga will be your go-to option to travel between the different Cook Islands during your holiday.
Is the Cook Islands safe?
Yes, the Cook Islands has a low crime rate and is generally seen as a very safe destination for travellers. The most common crime is theft, so be careful not to leave any valuables unattended. For example, don’t leave valuable things on the beach while you swim or snorkel and make sure not to leave any valuables out in the open in a rental car.