Cook Islands Guide
Travelling to the Cook Islands
Located in the heart of the South Pacific, the Cook Islands are the true definition of paradise. The country is made up of fifteen different islands and only has a total population of about 17,000 people. It’s the perfect place to experience the islands of the Pacific at their absolute finest. All across the Cook Islands, there are lots of incredible beaches. Coral reefs and atolls surround many of the islands, offering visitors some incredible snorkelling and diving opportunities. Head inland from the beach, and you’ll get to experience the beautiful jungles of the Cook Islands, complete with scenic hikes and waterfalls. The Cook Islands have a fascinating Polynesian culture, and locals will be happy to teach you about their lifestyle and traditions. The locals of the Cook Islands are some of the warmest and friendliest you’ll ever meet.
Cheap flights to the Cook Islands are available from cities across New Zealand. Jetstar, Air New Zealand, Qantas, and Virgin Australia offer cheap airfares to the Cook Islands from New Zealand. Direct flights to the Cook Islands are available from Auckland, getting you into the Cook Islands in less than 4 hours. Flying from another NZ airport, you can still get to the Cook Islands quickly with just one stopover. Book your cheap flights to the Cook Islands with Webjet, pack your bags, and use Webjet’s guide to the Cook Islands to start planning a holiday you’ll never forget.
When is the Best Time Visit the Cook Islands?
In terms of weather, there’s no bad to visit the Cook Islands. In terms of prices, you can definitely save money on your trip by booking outside of high season. High season in the Cook Islands is winter, when temperatures are nice, and rainfall is minimal. Many tourists visit the islands from Australia and New Zealand during the winter to escape the chilly weather back home. To match the demand, prices for both hotels and flights to the Cook Islands increase.
In order to score cheap flights to the Cook Islands, plan to visit in spring, summer, or autumn. Summer is hot and humid, with regular rainstorms. Spring and autumn are the perfect time to visit, when rain levels and prices are both low.
Five Things First-Time Travellers to the Cook Islands Should Know
• The Cook Islands are made up of fifteen different islands. The most populous island is Rarotonga with about 14,000 people. The country’s other islands have very low populations, but make a great destination for travellers looking for a quiet holiday. Islands to visit outside of Rarotonga include Aitutaki and Mangaia.
• The currency of the Cook Islands is the New Zealand dollar.
• You’ll never need to worry about skyscrapers ruining the tropical atmosphere of the Cook Islands… A law was made that no building in the country can be taller than a coconut tree!
• English is an official language of the Cook Islands along with Cook Islands Maori.
• Stonefish are common in some of the Cook Islands’ top snorkelling spots. They often blend in with the sand or coral, but can give a nasty sting. Be sure to wear water shoes or flippers while snorkelling and swimming.
Cook Islands Cities
One of the major draws of the Cook Islands is its quiet, peaceful atmosphere. With a total population of about 17,000 people spread across fifteen islands, there are no major cities in the Cook Islands. However, you’ll find several great villages where you can experience the local culture.
Located on the largest island of Rarotonga, Avarua is the capital of the Cook Islands. The town is close to Rarotonga International Airport, making it a popular stop for tourists visiting the Cook Islands. In Avarua, you can visit some beautiful beaches, learn about local culture and try some local foods at markets, and start the Cross-Island Track hike that stretches from the north to the south of Rarotonga. You’ll find many hotels and guesthouses around Avarua as well as a variety of restaurants.
Amuri is the second-largest village in the Cook Islands and is located on Aitutaki, which is the second-largest island in the country. While Amuri is a small, quiet village, it offers some beautiful resorts and a decent selection of restaurants.
Also located on the island of Aitutaki, Arutanga is a popular spot for tourists to visit. In this village, you’ll find the main wharf of Aitutaki and access into the lagoon. Arutanga is a popular fishing spot and regularly hosts fishing competitions.
Top Things to do in the Cook Islands
Go Snorkelling or Diving
The Cook Islands are full of coral reefs and atolls. Several islands are surrounded by reefs, keeping water on the beaches relatively calm. This provides visitors with the perfect atmosphere for snorkelling and diving. Snorkelling in the Cook Islands, you’ll see beautiful coral, lots of colourful fish, and even the occasional turtle. The top spots to go snorkelling during your trip to the Cook Islands are Aroa Beach, Muri Lagoon, Tikioki Beach, Honeymoon Island, and Blackrock Beach. If you want to try diving, you may also spot some white tip reef sharks. Lots of dive centres are available to take you to the best diving spots around the islands.
Relax on the Beach
One of the top reasons people book cheap flights to the Cook Islands is for its iconic beaches. The Cook Islands are home to some pretty incredible beaches, which offer a serene, tropical atmosphere which truly feels like paradise. Each beach throughout the Cook Islands is made up of beautiful palm trees, soft white sand, and bright blue water. Some of the top beaches to visit in the Cook Islands include Titikaveka Beach, Muri Beach, Oravaru Beach, Takauroa Beach, and Nikao Beach.
Hike Through the Jungle
Head inland from the beaches of the Cook Islands, and you’ll find lush jungles full of tropical trees, plants, and waterfalls. While the beaches of the Cook Islands are gorgeous, make sure you visit the jungle as well to truly experience the beauty of the country. The Cross-Island Track in Rarotonga is one of the top hikes in the Cook Islands, stretching from the north to the south of the island. Some other hikes to check out for your time in the Cook Islands are the Mount Raemaru Track and Mount Maungapu.
Learn About Local Culture
The Cook Islands have an exciting Polynesian culture. The Polynesian culture is made up of interesting folklore, art, food, and lots of music and dancing. Throughout the Cook Islands, you’ll find traditional shows where you can witness some Polynesian customs. At these shows, you can experience local dancing, music, and a feast of local foods. These Polynesian cultural shows are full of energy and are a favourite among visitors to the Cook Islands. One of the most popular to visit throughout the Cook Islands is the Islands Nights show on Rarotonga.
Explore the Islands’ Caves
Across the Cook Islands, there are a variety of cave systems that are interesting to explore. Each cave offers something a bit different, whether it’s a burial site, surrounded by jungle, or extending under the coral reefs. Many visitors to the Cook Islands aren’t even aware of all the scenic caves that are scattered throughout the islands. They offer a unique experience to the beaches and coastal aspects of the islands. Some of the top caves to visit in the Cook Islands are Motuanga, Anatakitaki, Vai Tango, Te Ana O Rakanui, and Rima Rau.
• Rarotonga International Airport (RAR) is the only international airport in the Cook Islands