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Five Travel Tips for the Cook Islands

The Cook Islands – even the name evokes images of swaying palms and white sand lagoons! This stunning island nation in the South Pacific offers the type of beach break that dreams are made of, though it’s still a relatively new destination to Australian travellers. We want to make sure you are well prepared and don’t miss a step once you’re there, so we’ve compiled our Top 5 Travel Tips below.

Tip 1: Plan Ahead

Nothing causes stress like arriving at the airport realising you are unprepared. Do I need a power adaptor? How big is this place? What currency do they even use?! Luckily the Cook Islands offers an easy escape! They work on New Zealand Dollars (though you will see some local coins – like triangles!), they use the same power points as Australia, and the main island of Rarotonga only takes 45 minutes to circle on the main road so you are never far away from anything. The only direct flight from Australia departs Sydney once a week (and takes around 6 hours) with all other flights travelling via Auckland (which is only about 4 hours from Rarotonga).  While ATM’s are abundant on the island we do recommend taking some cash with you to avoid overseas transaction fees, and we also recommend pre-booking your airport transfers. It’s just one less thing to think about it when you arrive, and you can enjoy the scenery while someone else worries about directions. Take a breath and relax – this holiday is going to be easy!

Tip 2: Explore Land and Sea

There are 15 islands in the Cooks, all offering a remarkable variety of experiences. Our recommendation is to make the most of nature and scenery around you by exploring both land AND sea. The lagoon offers some great swimming, lagoon cruises, and sunbaking on stretches of beach, while the reef offers some unspoiled snorkelling opportunities with the local marine life. The mountains house cultural experiences on traditional marae’s as well as incredible views from the local hiking tracks such as Raemaru or the Cross Island Trek. Get the best of both worlds and see the lush interior of the islands plus the clear blue waters. Click here for more information and to watch a video for more inspiration.

Tip 3: Eat Like a Local

When reflecting on past holidays you can usually recall the best trips by remembering the great meals and dining experiences you had, and the Cook Islands will be no different. There are so many options on Rarotonga, the main island, that you will need to stay for two weeks just to experience them all! From local dishes of umu (earth oven cooking) and Ika Mata (national dish of fish cooked in lime juice and coconut cream) to award-winning modern European cuisine, there are options for every taste and budget. We recommend dining all over the island to get a true feel for the destination – Punanga Nui markets on a Saturday morning, by the water at Trader Jacks for lunch, and with the energetic vibes at Charlie’s Café or the fine-dining experience at Nautilus Resort for dinner just to name a few. Your stomach will thank us, but your belt will not! Want other dining recommendations? Read this!

Tip 4: Secure Your Spot

 There are some jaw-dropping experiences to be had in the Cook Islands such as exploring limestone caves, watching overwater cultural shows, or - one of our favourites – cruising to One Foot Island in the Aitutaki Lagoon. The colour of the water here rivals that of Bora Bora, and the staff on board the vessel will give you a day to remember! These tours and activities are ‘bucket-list’ experiences and we can’t recommend them enough – but because they are so popular it means you can’t leave it until the last minute to book in! We recommend you decide on your ‘must do’ tours before you arrive and let us pre-book them for you to ensure you don’t go home disappointed. We don’t want anyone to miss out! Want ideas on what to do? Click here for ideas!

Tip 5: Make People Jealous

It’s not hard to make people jealous when you visit the Cook Islands – every photo is a postcard, and it’s easy to look like a model with sunkissed skin, coconut in hand, and dreamy beaches in the background. So get posting! We recommend grabbing a BlueSky Visitor Sim on arrival (from the airport, office in town, or the Punanga Nui markets) for just $49 which includes 3GB of data and 30 minutes of international calling which is perfect for staying in touch and keeping everyone updated with your Instagram story. #holidaygoals

Cook Islands Holidays:

This is just a short list of our tips and tricks for the Cook Islands. If you would like more information or would like to get the ball rolling on your holiday, please get in touch with our team of specialist travel consultants on 1800 800 722 or check out our package deals.

*Prices and information correct on 16 April 2019.

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We know the South Pacific like the frond of every palm