"A South Pacific paradise" Top 5 Page for this destination Cook Islands by worldkiwi

Cook Islands Travel Guide: 450 reviews and 953 photos

Between 23 September and 05 October 2005, I was lucky enough to spend two weeks in the Cook Islands, a small semi-independent island country scattered across a vast space of the South Pacific - almost 2 million square kilometres! In April, 2011, taking advantage of some expiring airpoints, I took a short 'blob-out' break on Rarotonga with a close family friend. We stayed, this time, on the eastern side of the island, on the edge of the picturesque, turquoise Muri lagoon. In 2015, with three friends, I returned to Rarotonga for 12 days of R&R, staying at Muri Beach, but discovering a few previously unvisited spots around the island.

A four hour flight from Auckland will land you on Rarotonga - the country's main island. The capital, Avarua, is located on the north coast of Rarotonga.

In 2005, a group of 7 of us rented two beachfront houses for a week on Rarotonga's west coast. In the second week, three of the group returned home and the four remaining flew north to the spectacular island of Aitutaki. Aitutaki is famous for its beautiful and stunning lagoon that stretches for kilometres. This picture shows a small slice of the paradise that can be found in Aitutaki, Cook Islands.

The Cook Islands make a great destination to get away from the hustle and bustle of life. It's a place to totally relax. Don't go there planning to do much more than laze on a beach, swim in crystal clear waters, or read a book in the shade of a tree. Thankfully, most of the country seems untouched by mass tourism, so you won't be surrounded by swarms of yapping tourists. You will meet some of the most friendly people in the South Pacific, so learn the local greeting - Kiaorana, and enjoy a little slice of paradise!

Things to do in the Cook Islands - a summary.

Spend some time on Rarotonga, the main island. While you're there, make sure you visit the Punanga Nui market on a Saturday morning, browse the shops in Avarua, swim or kayak in/on Muri Lagoon, catch the public bus around the island, maybe walk the cross island track, walk along the beautiful beach that stretches the entire south coast, watch the sunset and maybe some humpback whales from the west coast.

Spend some time on Aitutaki, a stunning jewel in the South Pacific. While you're there spend as much time as possible on or in the beautiful lagoon. Take a lagoon cruise with Bishop's Cruises, hire kayaks from Ranginui's Retreat or the Samade Bar on O'otu beach and paddle out into the lagoon to explore the islands, have lunch on One Foot Island, visit the historic old CICC church in Arutanga, snorkel in the lagoon, enjoy a fish steak at just about any restaurant!

The prices I've given in these pages on the Cook Islands are all in New Zealand dollars, unless otherwise stated.

Catch a Rarotongan sunset on the west coast!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A peaceful, relaxing, tropical get-away in the South Pacific.
  • Cons:One's brain tends to shut down when holidaying here!
  • In a nutshell:A pretty South Pacific paradise.
  • Last visit to Cook Islands: Oct 2015
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (42)

Comments (12)

  • sprdak11's Profile Photo
    Apr 24, 2007 at 8:25 AM

    Great travel page. Good luck.

  • JessH's Profile Photo
    Mar 23, 2006 at 3:31 AM

    Is that water for REAL? Wow! Thanks a lot for sharing your tips. Really enjoyed them! Greetings from (murky watered) Dubai :-) Jess

  • sourbugger's Profile Photo
    Mar 8, 2006 at 12:29 AM

    looks absolutely bloody lovely

  • bijo69's Profile Photo
    Feb 27, 2006 at 8:13 AM

    I really miss that turquoise blue water of Aitutaki Lagoon...

  • chinagazer's Profile Photo
    Jan 20, 2006 at 6:27 AM

    Preparing our upcoming trip to the Cook Islands I came across your pages. Great job you did! Thanks for all your efforts in sharing your experience with us.

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Nov 18, 2005 at 4:09 PM

    I really enjoyed your account of the Cook Islands! My only experience re C.I. was seeing their dancers 25-yrs ago in Port Moresby, PNG - and I was impressed. BTW, food is called 'kai-kai' there too! Really useful tips here & the Sheraton tip was great!

  • zlatiq's Profile Photo
    Nov 10, 2005 at 10:34 PM

    Cook Islands do look like a paradise! it's so calm and blue and serene ...i think i can spend hours staring at the photos and i won't get tired a bit! thanx:)

  • Nov 2, 2005 at 11:40 AM

    Beautiful pics!! The Cooks are fabulous, I want to go back NOW!!!!!:o)

  • catalysta's Profile Photo
    Nov 2, 2005 at 8:43 AM

    Excellent tips on one of my favorite places in the world! IT was a lovely trip down Memory Lane reading your page, thanks...Wendy

  • sunshinejo's Profile Photo
    Oct 18, 2005 at 4:19 AM

    These are some really good tips, and your photos are brilliant! It makes me wish I'd had better weather while I was in the cook islands as I spent the whole time sheltering from the rain!

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