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Pacific Islands: Cook Islands

Pacific Islands: Cook Islands

22 Aug 2017 Angela Matthews Couples, Family, Travel Tips

Formed by volcanoes, the Cook Islands is a nation of 15 major islands set in the beautiful South Pacific. Direct flights are available from New Zealand and Australia, and arrive at the main island of Rarotonga.

The best time for a Cook Island holiday is between May and October, when the weather is cooler and less wet, and the sun shines daily. With the Government’s regulation that no building be taller than a palm tree, you’re guaranteed some wonderful views and a true, island culture!

If you’re keen to see more of the surrounding islands, be sure to do some island-hopping! So, say goodbye to your worries, and say “Kia orana” ("hello" in Cook Island Maori) to a Cook Islands holiday!


The Cook Islands has a very strong Maori culture, and a rich Polynesian history. At Te Vara Nui Village, you can learn about ancestral spearfishing, pearl diving, navigational stones, earth ovens, the rocks of human sacrifice, coconut husking, traditional cooking, and medicinal and important plants for rituals. Don’t forget to pick up some handmade souvenirs at the open-air market in Rarotonga – wood carvings, weaved baskets, Tivaevae (handmade patchwork quilts depicting the island’s stunning scenery), or even a black pearl can be yours to take home.

As you walk around the main town area at Rarotonga, you can also view the old coral limestone churches remaining from the colonial era. Be sure to stop by the Takomoa Theological Collage – it was the first European building built by the Cooks in the 1830s.

For a wider view of the island, and for a novel way of viewing the offshore motus and permanent sand bars that surround the main island, take a slow cruise on a traditionally designed catamaran from the local pier. You may even get to hand-feed fish and snorkel from the boat!

Nature & Adventure

Boasting some of the world’s most stunning lagoons, the Cook Islands are beautiful! One of the most striking is the Aitutaki Lagoon, with motus (or offshore islets) lined along the coral reefs, like an exquisite pearl necklace above the ‘neckline’ of an alabaster sandy beach. 

Because of these lagoons, many Cook Islands holidays often promote diving, snorkelling and surfing. Glass-bottomed boat tours are also available for a short cruise over the inner reef areas, which are teeming with a variety of marine life – such as colourful sponges and giant clams.

For a close-up experience with nature, secure a guide from the local information centre and take a hike through Rarotonga's mountainous centre. From here, visitors can admire the eroded volcanic landforms and thick jungle vegetation on a short walk. If there’s time, ensure you visit the Wigmore (Papua) Falls for a dip in the cool waters. Divine!

Where to stay?

Lots of Cook Islands holiday packages will offer up the island’s best resorts, spas, beach club hotels and villas along the Aitutaki Lagoon and the beaches in Rarotonga. Here, you can listen to the waves lap against the shore while enjoying an open-air massage, sipping a topical cocktail the beach or indulging in local flavours of coconut, fish and breadfruit as you watch the sunset. If you prefer to stay somewhere more secluded, ask your Travellers Choice agent for their top tips.

A Cook Islands holiday in the South Pacific is truly a time of inescapable relaxation. Book your trip today with Travellers Choice and you could be sitting on sandy shores very soon!

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