Cook Islands

Saturday. A full moon sits above Muri Lagoon. Across the sand and gentle lapping, in the Barefoot Bar, the buffet is all but done and the resort guests sit, mesmerised by the pulsing sensual dance of Island Night. The following morning the dancers sit in pews, wearing hats and gloves, eagerly awaiting the hymns. On a coin, the Queen sits on the head side while a fertility symbol tantalises the tail. Polynesian paradox.

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Welcome to the Cook Islands.  Kia Orana.

This is the warm greeting visitors are met with on arrival. The Cook Islands are part of Polynesia and the locals are related to the New Zealand Maoris and the Tahitians. Apart from 11 Maori dialects, everyone speaks perfect English, albeit with a Kiwi accent. If you want to ask a local “Which beach is the best?” you would get the same answer if you asked, “Which bitch is the beast?” And you have some stunning beaches to choose from! These are along the east, south and west side of the main island of Rarotonga. It’s also the largest island but it only takes about 45 minutes to travel around the whole island so getting about is easy, no matter where you stay.

It is a beautiful island with a mountainous, rugged interior with lush rainforest vegetation, fringed by the reef with a lagoon of clear aqua waters. Swimming, snorkelling, diving and fishing are all sensational, there is an array of quality resorts, large and small and there are many fine restaurants. While ‘Raro’ is the main island for tourism, all honeymooners should consider a side trip to the stunning island of Aitutaki. Laid-back and friendly, it is also one of the most romantic spots in the Pacific, thanks to the stunning lagoon and the slow pace. There are also excellent resorts on this island that seem so removed from the pace of our hectic lives.

You will enjoy the contrasts of traditional and modern life – how religion and sensual Polynesian lifestyle blend harmoniously and how the locals aren’t at all smug about having this little part of the planet to call their own. It is a fascinating place that will reward the explorer as well as the tourist. It is a true tropical paradise.

Here are a few other pluses:

  • Currency is the NZ dollar (there is a local currency but it is really just for coin collectors as it is not recognised as legal tender outside the country)
  • A place to just sit and take a deep breath. Whether on the beach at Muri Lagoon or on One Foot Island on Aitutaki, nature’s splendour can make you feel a little insignificant.
  • Here’s a tip from Canadian travel writer David Stanley – on a Friday night (when pubs and nightclubs can stay open until 2:00am) find out what time the Air New Zealand flight arrives and head to the sea wall at the beginning (end?) of the runway – you’ll get a huge buzz having a jet pass just metres over your head!

More Information

Some links for more on the Cook Islands:

Or just email us for more information.