ANZCRO UK Manager Louise shares her trip to the Cook Islands
In the beginning of June I went to the fabulousto celebrate a friend’s wedding.
The trip lasted 10 days and was amazing. I flew to New Zealand via Hong Kong, which took 22-hours but then had a nine-hour wait until the connecting flight to the Cook Islands.
Thankfully, the Jet Park Airport Hotel was only 10 minutes away and offers a free shuttle bus so I took advantage of this and had some rest before my next flight.
We would ideally suggest customersto then connect with a direct service to the Cook Islands, rather than travelling through Auckland to avoid the possible lay over (although it was made much more pleasant by the Jet Park Hotel).
The wedding was on, the capital and largest island of the 15. For those of you whose dream holiday is to escape the buzz of city life and steer clear of bustling tourist-driven destinations, the Cook Islands is a castaway’s dream, still relatively untouched by tourism.
The islands span an area the size of India with a population of just 11,400 and enjoy beautiful and idyllic landscapes as varied as weathered mountains, dense jungle and glorious white sandy beaches.
It takes just over an hour to get around Rarotonga; we hired scooters to cruise around – for just NZ$25 per day. There are so many companies on the island who offer scooters for rent so it’s best to book direct when you get there as you’re more likely to get a better deal and can enjoy the flexibility of not having a schedule to keep to.
Before they let you go you do have to do a test run around the paddock to make sure you’re confident riding on your own, so there’s no need to worry about whether you’ll be able to do it – if you’re not confident, you can ride on the back of a friend’s scooter.
When we weren’t on scooters we were cruising around in a soft-top convertible, which was loads of fun and went hand in hand with the laid back island-hopping lifestyle!
We enjoyed kayaking and snorkelling straight off the beach; a lot of the hotels on the Cook Islands have reefs right off the beach so there’s always so much to see in between sunbathing and sipping cocktails. Rarotonga is especially good for spotting giant clams when snorkelling.
I went on a day trip to, the second-most-visited island, and also a lot smaller than Rarotonga, typically visited by honeymooners and other couples looking for a peaceful retreat. It was a 1.5-hour flight to Aitutaki, and when we landed I was met by a driver to experience a four-wheel drive guided tour around the island; the driver took us up to the highest point of the island – it’s such an amazing view. This 4WD tour when then tagged onto a so that we could explore five motus, tiny little islands in the lagoon that are not inhabited by anyone, just stunning white sandy beaches with turquoise water and palm trees, a pure island paradise.
Unfortunately we didn’t have very good weather the day we went; it was overcast and raining (yes, it does rain in paradise!) but nonetheless it was still a great day.
We went snorkelling off the boat, and although we didn’t see any Nemo’s, there were plenty of Dori’s flittering about beneath the pristine water.
Despite the rain it was a beautiful trip and a magnificent experience; although it’s worth bearing in mind that the Cook Islands’ summer runs from November through to March – just when things get cold and grey over here, so the perfect time to make a paradise escape, it’s absolutely iconic.
The Cook Islands are a great stopover option when travelling down to New Zealand and if you would like more information on visiting the Cook Island please contact me on 01872 266 899, or email