The Cook Islands are a nation made up of 15 Islands located in the Pacific Ocean, teeming with history and culture and I was lucky enough to recently spend a fabulous week there!
The trip started with an easy 6 hour direct flight from Sydney to Rarotonga, the main Island in “The Cooks”. It was an overnight flight with an early 6am arrival. We were lucky as when we arrived at our hotel, the rooms were ready for us to check-in straight away making our arrival day much more relaxing.
We stayed on the eastern side of the island at Edgewater Resort, the largest resort in Rarotonga. It's conveniently located 6 minutes from the airport and within walking distance to a few handy facilities.
The first couple of days were very chilled, we had pre-booked the must do’s such as Punanga Nui Cultural Market – a Saturday morning hive of activity that has both food and shopping stalls with live entertainment, and attended the local Cook Island Christian Church for their Sunday service – the locals wear their Sunday bests and sing gospel, a big part of their history, followed by and amazing local feast put on by the church.
We did have a bit of time to explore so decided on a Tuk Tuk tour around the island (the Island being only 32kms round) which had great commentary by our wonderful driver and ended up at a local beer festival which was an absolute ball sampling some beers from one of the local breweries.
Aitutaki was definitely a highlight. It’s a 45 minute flight by propeller plane and a must when traveling to The Cooks. It is every bit as beautiful as it looks in the pictures. The Vaka Cruise was awesome, the crystal clear blue lagoon, the giant clams, snorkelling, swimming with Giant Trevally, a delicious BBQ lunch onboard and great entertainment by a great crew. It was a day well spent. October is land crab season so we got to see a few land crabs roadside.
Once back in Rarotonga we had a pretty full itinerary for the last few days which included a 4wd safari tour right up into the mountains, went to the Muri Night Markets which are a cool food market, we cruised Muri Lagoon with Captain Tamas Lagoon Cruizes which included snorkelling, a BBQ lunch, coconut tree climbing demonstration along with husking of the coconut followed by an entertaining sarong tying lesson. We hired push bikes to get around on and even went to the Gym across the road from the hotel.
To get around in Rarotonga you can take the local bus, they have 2, a clockwise and an anticlockwise bus, you can hire a car, scooter, electric bike or push bike.
Another highlight and certainly an unexpected highlight for me on this trip was the food, I’m not a foodie but boy was the food fresh and so tasty. I did not have one meal I didn’t love.
Most people think of the Cook Islands as a honeymooners or couples destination, and whilst it is a great destination for that it also caters so well to families and groups as there is plenty to see and do. But if you’d prefer relaxing on a beach with insanely blue water cocktail in hand it’s prefect for that too.
I would love to travel back to the Cook Islands and explore more but now it’s your turn!