Imagine a sparkling necklace of 15 tropical islands set perfectly in the South Pacific Ocean. Sound like an impossible dream? Actually, it’s surprisingly achievable if you book a holiday at one of the Cook Island resorts in the gorgeous Cook Islands. The best known island is the capital, Rarotonga which is a round volcanic island surrounded by white sandy beaches, lagoons and a coral reef. Rarotonga is home to many resorts and it’s become a popular holiday destination for those wanting time away from the rat race.
The climate is enjoyable all year round, with the warmest months occurring between November and March and the cooler months being June, July and August. Severe weather problems are rare here, making it a suitable holiday destination no matter what time of the year you travel.
The Islands became a New Zealand dependency in 1901 and 60 years later it was made a self governing state. The people automatically have New Zealand citizenship and the defence and foreign policy of the islands is still controlled by New Zealand. Tourism has increased in recent years, as more and more people have discovered the delights of the Cook Island resorts that have been built there.
Most tourists who travel here base themselves in Rarotonga, although you can also travel to other island such as Aitutaki and Atiu by boat or plane. The airport is located at Nikao, about 2 kms from the main village of Avarua. Muri, on the eastern side of the island, is a popular tourist area. The main beach on the western side of the island is Aroa. Rarotonga is circled by the 32 km long Ara Tapu ring road which makes it easy for locals and visitors to travels between towns, villages and resorts by bus, car, motorbike, bicycle or on foot. If you do plan to drive a car here, you will need to go to the police headquarters with your current licence and pay for a Cook Islands licence. You will need to be over the age of 21. Drivers keep left, as they do in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Most people in the Cook Islands speak English as well as Cook Islands Maori. You can use New Zealand or the local currency on the islands, with both being of equal value. A popular souvenir is the $3 note, but don’t expect it to be of any monetary value outside the islands. The currency is only valid in the islands themselves. Hosts at all the Cook Island resorts will be happy to help you find out all you need to know during your stay in the islands.