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> Kia Orana! - the Cook Islands
post Aug 22 2009, 11:40 PM
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Rolling Stone

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From: Sydney, Australia
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About The Cook Islands
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The Cook Islands offers a holiday experience like no other Pacific island can offer just under nine hours from Australia - laidback, casual and completely immersed in one of the friendliest cultures on earth. You can elect to be part of the community, with its love of good food, outdoor activity, music and sports, or switch off from the world and enjoy your own company, far from the stress of modern life.

Wherever you are in the Cook Islands, you'll be enchanted by its stunning beauty, from the dramatic mountains of Rarotonga to the turquoise lagoons of Aitutaki, with water the colour of liquid jewels and beaches which boast the whitest sand.

Luxuriate in your own private space or dive into the lagoon to see the spectacular underwater world that awaits, knowing that you'll never have to contend with the usual crowds or trappings of other tourist destinations.

The outer islands of the Cook Islands offer further adventure, each with its own character and unique geography; whether you are seeking the world’s best fishing in Manuae, the rare birdlife of Atiu or the beautiful pearls of the Penrhyns. If you like festivals, then enjoy the drama of the International Rugby Sevens or spectacular Vaka Eiva, where hundreds of canoes race regatta style.

How to get there?

Travelling to the Cook Islands is easy. Regular daily flights are available with either Air New Zealand and Pacific Blue with great connections from most Australian domestic airports via Auckland to Rarotonga, the capital of the Cook Islands.

Best time to travel

There is no better time to travel than now. The Cook Islands enjoys lovely weather all year round. Some of the best times to visit are around the Christmas-New Year festive season through to April/May. Flowers are in bloom, fragrant frangipanis, gardenias and fresh fruit in abundance, mangoes, guavas. Pawpaw, bananas and coconuts are available year-round. The days are longer, but its summertime so enjoy those hot days lazing on the beach with a cocktail! The Winter falls between July & September with Summer is from December to April but the difference in temperature is only a couple of degrees

the Cook Islands consist of many various little islands

the islands

Aitutaki - Araura Enua
Atiu - Enuamanu
Mangaia - Au'au
Manihiki -
Manuae -
Mauke - Akatokamanava
Mitiaro - Nukuroa
Nassau -
Penrhyn - Tongareva
Pukapuka -
Rakahanga -
Rarotonga - Tumutevarovaro
Suwarrow -

Here is information about 2 of the most popular islands

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Rarotonga is the vibrant centre of the Cook Islands and is where government resides. Circular and only 32 km in circumference, it is dominated by high mountain peaks which rise to 653metres from which lush rain forests cascade and prvide a dramatic backdrop to a palm-fringed shore. The island is almost completely encircled by a reef, which harbours a lagoon of clear turquoise waters and many inviting white sand beaches. Beyond the reef, the indigo blue of the ocean provides a vivid contrast and a bountiful supply of fish.

There are two main roads on Rarotonga - you can circle the island on the Ara Tapu sealed road, through the villages and past the beaches; or you can take the older inland road, Te Ara o Toi, which winds through fields of taro, pawpaw, bananas and local farmlands.

The motor scooter is a popular, fun way to see the sights, however bikes, cars and jeeps are also available from local rental agencies. The "Island Bus" offers a convenient low cost method of transport, operating regular schedules around the island (in both directions). It will pick you up and set you down anywhere on request.

Avarua is the main town on the island and the commercial centre of the Cook Islands. During business hours, it has a friendly, bustling atmosphere together with a good selection of shops, banks, cafes and visitor facilities.

Avatiu Harbour, a short walk west of central Avarua on the north coast of Rarotonga has a constant stream of activity with private yachts calling in from all parts of the globe, fishing boats diving charters, inter-island freighting and many cruise liners frequenting the port.

Rarotonga's beautiful lagoon is sheltered by the reef that encircles the island. The lagoon offers a host of activities from wind and kite surfing, sailing, snorkelling and glass bottom boat tours. The open sea beyond the reef has great game fishing and diving.

All international flights arrive at Rarotonga Airport situated 4 kilometres from Avarua township. Their are many activities to be enjoyed in Rarotonga on both sea and land from treks into the mountains to historic walks there truly is somethign for eveyone and evey age.

The Cook Islands Visitor Information Centre is located in downtown Avarua. Visitors are made most welcome and can drop in for any information, between 8am and 4pm, Monday to Friday; or on Saturday, from 9am till noon.

Aitutaki - Araura Enua
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A visit to the Cook Islands is not complete without seeing the beautiful island of Aitutaki, which is less than an hours flight from Rarotonga. and lies 220 kilometres north of Rarotonga. It measures just 20 square kilometres and is partly volcanic in origin. The breathtaking allure of its crystal clear turquoise waters and sparkling white beaches is an essential ingredient in any Cook Island holiday. This is a place of unsurpassed natural beauty and tranquillity, providing a simple tonic to sooth away the pressures of the outside world.

Legend has it that Maungapu, Aitutaki's highest hill at one time resided at the top of Rarotonga's Raemaru Peak and was brought to Aitutaki by victorious warriors after a fierce battle. The spectacular lagoon (45 kilometres around) you view from the peak is abundant with coloured fish of many varieties, its perimeter sprinkled with many small, charming and accessible, uninhabited islands (motus).

It doesn't seem so long ago that the expansive Aitutaki Lagoon saw the stirring sight of massive flying boats coming in to land on the turquoise waters. The lagoon served as a re-fueling stop for TEAL (now Air New Zealand) flying boats servicing the famous coral route between North America and the South Pacific.

Air Rarotonga has regular scheduled flights from Rarotonga up to four or five times daily to Aitutaki (except Sunday). Day trips from Rarotonga to Aitutaki are also available. This entails departing Rarotonga at 8:00am and returning at 5:30pm. The Day Tour package is inclusive of hotel transfers, airfares, island tour, lagoon cruise, snorkelling and lunch.

We usually recommend a minimum stay of 3 days on Aitutaki to truly appreciate its beauty and a Lagoon cruise on beautiful Aitutaki Lagoon is a must for any visitor! There are a number of tour operators to choose from who will look after you for the day. Relax and experience the beauty of the Cook Islands at its best. Lunch is prepared for you, while you relax and work on your tan, explore the beaches, go snorkelling or hand feed the fish - truly unforgettable. The cruise concludes on Tapuaetai (One Foot Island) where you can get your passport stamped (for a small fee) at the Post Office.

Aitutaki has a great range of accommodation to suit your budget. Tours and activities either land or water based are also available. There is great dining on offer at local restaurants or cafes to tempt your taste buds. Why not hire a car or moped and explore the island on your own. You can do as much or as little as you please, its up to you. Eftpos, ATM facilities and internet cafes are available so you are not totally removed from the outside world. Why not send an email to brag about how great a time your having!

For how ever long you choose to visit us, be it 2 days or 2 months, we invite you to become a part of and share in the Cook Islands experience. Escape the rush and clutter of city life, choosing simply to relax and absorb the relaxed pace of life or to explore the culture and varied natural environments, immersing yourself in the experience. Your time in the Cook Islands will leave a deep impression, ranging from a heartfelt appreciation of the openness and generosity of the people to a far deeper sense of connectedness within yourself.

Either way, we know you will look at life a little differently after you've experienced the wonderful charm of The Cook Islands.

information sourced from Go Cook Islands and Cook Islands

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post Sep 30 2009, 08:33 AM
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Rolling Stone

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Posts: 5348
Joined: 24-May 07
From: Sydney, Australia
Member No.: 56605

me too smile.gif

my friend has been to rarotonga countless times and loves it there which has sparked my curiousity

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post Mar 28 2010, 02:45 PM
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Thanks for the report. Yes, it's nice here smile.gif

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post Oct 2 2013, 12:43 AM
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This is a nice place but I would suggest that also very nice in Winter at Europe can be cold and icy! Don't forget to put appropriate good quality outwear in your suitcase, especially for the nights, and specific clothing for skiing.
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