Lying to the northeast of New Zealand in the South Pacific Ocean are the idyllic and beautiful Cook Islands. Consisting of fifteen islands, which are coral atolls and volcanic islands, they spread over a large area of 849,425 square miles (2,200,000 square km) but have a land mass of only 91 square miles (240 square km). The Cook Islands has a population of 14,974 people with more than 10,000 of them living on the main island of Rarotonga. The people of the Cook Islands are mostly Māori.
The Cook Islands is an island country in free association with New Zealand. These islands were settled by the Polynesians in the 6th century. Similar to most of the islands in the South Pacific Ocean, the Cook Islands were discovered by Europeans in the 16th century. However, it was the British, namely, a navigator named Captain James Cook’s arrival in the 18th century that eventually resulted in the modern day name of the islands.
Fringed by white sand beaches, Rarotonga is the tourism hub of the Cook Islands. It boasts many resorts, facilities and activities on land or in the sea. Besides Rarotonga, other tourist islands include Aitutaki, Atiu, Mangaia, Pukapuka, and Manihiki. Activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, caving and also hiking are popular.
Take hiking trips into the jungles or explore with off-road vehicles. Many islands have wonderful caves. Some of these even have fresh water catchments. Enjoy a little nightlife in barefoot bars or soak up the ancient Cook Island Polynesian culture. Besides that, relax on beaches, head out to snorkel, do some birdwatching or partake in big game fishing.
Fly to Rarotonga International Airport (RAR) in Avarua, Rarotonga. Airlines like Air New Zealand, Air Tahiti, and Virgin Australia service this airport. Then, Air Rarotonga can be used for inter-island flights.
Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.