The Cook Islands are the jewel of the South Pacific Islands. They consist of 15 islands that range from mountainous volcanic islands like Rarotonga, through to magnificent coral atolls set on turquoise lagoons. The landscapes range from rugged mountain rainforests and waterfalls through to pristine white sandy beaches and coral lagoons. The people are of Polynesian origin and among the most friendly in the Pacific Islands. The Cook Islands have a prominent part in history both among the island people and among the European explorers. The great Polynesian migration began in around 1500bc when the ancestors of today’s islanders arrived in massive double hulled canoes. They had already mastered celestial navigation. Chief Toi arrived in the Cook Islands around 800AD. He was responsible for the construction of the grand road, made from coral that was laid through the islands swamps creating an all weather road which still exists today, even thought it is now sealed. The first Europeans to visit the Cook Islands were the Spanish who came at the turn of the fifteenth and sixteenth century. Captain James Cook was the next around 160 years later and he came here in 1773. Captain Bligh and the good ship Bounty, passed Aututaki in 1789, not long before the famous mutiny that saw Bligh cast adrift in an open boat, which he sailed from these waters through Torres Strait and on to Timor. The Cook Islands were a favourite stop for whaling ships during the nineteenth century, and in 1888, the islands were annexed by the British and included within the boundaries of New Zealand. Today the New Zealand dollar is the official currency, and more Cook Islanders live in New Zealand than in the Cook Islands themselves.
As a holiday destination, the Cook Islands are without equal. The main island of Rarotonga is a mecca for tourists and island relaxation. Avarua is the main town and overlooks the beautiful harbour. Magnificent resorts are scattered around the islands perimeter. The streets of Avarua are filled with a wide selection of bars and restaurants. Some of the smaller islands are sensational. Aitutaki is one of the most beautiful islands in the entire South Pacific, with a magnificent lagoon and beachfront resorts where you can walk straight out of your Cook Island accommodation onto the white sandy beaches surrounding the lagoon. Rarotonga and Aituaki have most of the resorts however activities and tours are available to some of the other islands. The more remote islands are rarely visited and mostly the domain of cruising yachtsmen.
As a diving, fishing and water related activities destination, there is probably none as appealing as the Cook islands. They have over a thousand years of Polynesian history and the Cook Islander’s themselves always have a friendly welcome for all visitors. This is truly one of the must see destinations in the South Pacific islands. It is really easy to get to with both Air New Zealand and Pacific Blue both having regular services to Rarotonga from Australia’s East coast and from Auckland in New Zealand. Local flights take about one hour to connect to the luxury accommodation on Aitutaki. If you need more travel information about the Cook Islands just contact our office.
Once you have been to the Cook Islands for a holiday, no other island destination will compare!