Surrounded by a turquoise-blue lagoon and fine, white sand, this romantic South Pacific paradise is the ultimate place to unwind. The way of life here is laid-back, and you will quickly enjoy the feeling of freedom, the ease of everything and be surprised at just how soon you will be swinging in a hammock.
But it’s not all about relaxation if you enjoy an active holiday – between snorkelling, swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding, hiking and much more, you won’t be short of things to do. Head out on a lagoon cruise to explore the golden reef, go scuba diving, or take a sea scooter adventure. Explore the mountains on a cross island walk, or jump on a buggy or safari tour – no matter what you do or where you go, you’ll find friendly faces, a rich culture, and stunning views.
The best way to get around this small island is to make like the locals and jump on a scooter (or rent a car) and you can circle the island in less than an hour. There’s nothing quite like feeling the warm breeze against your skin as you go beach-hopping and drop into any of the cafes and restaurants along the way, many of which are on the beach.
Dining in the Cook Islands is an experience – there is an abundance of freshly caught seafood, great pork; and many of the restaurants are located on the beach so you can dine with your toes in the sand.
The second most visited island in the Cook’s is Aitutaki, and it is just a short 45- minute flight from Rarotonga. The lagoon here has been described as arguably the best in the world, and is one of those places where the photos don’t do it justice. The blue colours and crystal-clear water just have to be seen to be believed. Spend a few nights here if you can, or at least take the day trip from Rarotonga.
Best time to go
The Cook Islands are pleasantly tropical all year round. From June to August you can expect temperatures in the mid-20s, and you may need a light jacket or jersey at night. September to May the temperature creeps up, as does the beautiful temperature of the lagoon.
How much will it cost?
There’s a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets, from basic backpackers to holiday homes, to luxury resorts and villas. The Cook Islands uses the NZ dollar so the exchange rate is favourable for Australians.
Local clinics and the hospital on Rarotonga can treat most injuries but a comprehensive travel insurance policy is recommended. There are no poisonous snakes, but reef shoes are recommended when walking in the lagoon (most accommodation provides these if you don’t have your own.
Australians can enter the Cook Islands without a visa – all you need is a valid passport and valid ticket for return or onward travel. Immigration will stamp your passport with a 31-day visitor permit.