Cook Islands Travel & Holiday Packages
WHEN EXPERIENCE MATTERS
Popular Cook Islands Packages
REGIONS OF COOK ISLANDS
Rarotonga is the most visited island in the Cook Islands and offers a diverse range of activities within an unspoiled paradise. Rarotonga, the hub of the Cook Islands, has so much to see and do, yet remains unspoilt. It takes just 45 minutes to drive around the whole island but with a wide range of scenery, activities, restaurants and cafes there is much to explore. Climb the summit of the island’s majestic volcanic peak or dive into the crystal-clear turquoise waters and swim with schools of tropical fish. Embrace the warmth of the locals by visiting a cultural village or wander the lively Punanga Nui local markets.
Aitutaki is often referred to as 'Heaven on Earth' consisting of 15 small motus surrounded by bright turquoise lagoon and a triangular-shaped reef. Often referred to as ‘Heaven on Earth’, Aitutaki is pure paradise. Just 50 minutes flight from Raratonga, Aitutaki consists of 15 small motus (islets) surrounded by bright turquoise lagoon and a triangular-shaped reef. The crystal-clear water is home to an array of tropical fish and its pristine white-sand beaches are private and secluded. After Raratonga, Aitutaki is the second most visited island in the Cook Islands. The private and romantic atmosphere holds...
When to visit
The Cook Islands enjoy a pleasant, warm and sunny climate all year round and the best time to visit depends on your personal preference.
- December to March - marks the warmer, more humid season, with occasional tropical showers. The temperature ranges between 22 degrees and 30 degrees.
- April to November - These are the drier months with an average temperature of 26 degrees. June to August period experiencing slightly cooler temperatures.
Whale watching season generally starts in July and finishes around October. Often seen from the Raratonga foreshore, whales seek the warm waters of the Cooks to mate, give birth and rest.
Kitesurfing is possible year-round due to passing low pressure systems on the tropical belt however the trade winds provide the best experience from May to October.
Experience the ultimate tropical getaway in the Cook Islands, a breath-taking island paradise in the South Pacific. With its picture-perfect climate, stunning landscapes of rugged mountains, pristine lagoons, and secluded beaches, the Cook Islands offers an unforgettable holiday for families, adventure seekers, and those searching for pure relaxation.
Bask in the Cook Islands' ideal tropical climate, where endless sunshine and gentle breezes create a blissful ambience throughout the year. Explore the majestic mountains that dominate the horizon, providing awe-inspiring views and thrilling hiking trails. Indulge in the tranquillity of untouched beaches, sinking your toes into the soft sand and immersing yourself in the soothing sounds of the waves.
Adventure awaits in the Cook Islands with an array of exhilarating activities. Dive into the vibrant underwater world, teeming with colourful coral reefs and diverse marine life. Embark on thrilling snorkelling excursions, deep-sea fishing trips, or exciting water sports like kayaking and paddleboarding. The possibilities for excitement are limitless.
Seeking relaxation? The Cook Islands offers an oasis of calm. Unwind in luxurious resorts and pamper yourself with rejuvenating spa treatments that restore harmony to your body and mind. Take leisurely strolls along secluded beaches, revelling in the serenity of your surroundings. Immerse yourself in the rich local culture through traditional dance performances and beautiful arts and crafts, and savour the unique flavours of Polynesian cuisine.
Whether planning a family holiday, an adrenaline-fueled adventure, or a serene retreat, the Cook Islands is the ultimate destination. Let the allure of the Cook Islands captivate your senses and create memories that will last a lifetime. Book your unforgettable tropical escape today.
All visitors wishing to visit the Cook Islands will be issued a visitors permit on arrival into the Cook Islands, provided they meet the following entry requirements:
- All international passport holders must have a passport valid for a period of at least 6 months beyond their intended period of stay in the Cook Islands. This will allow you a stay of up to 31 days in the Cook Islands.
- All New Zealand and Australian passport holders must have a passport valid for a period of at least 7 days beyond their intended period of stay in the Cook Islands. This will allow New Zealand passport holders a stay of up to 90 days in the Cook Islands. Australian passport holders are eligible for a stay of up to 31 days.
- You must have evidence of a valid outbound ticket or return ticket to your port of origin. New Zealand passport holders can now travel on a one-way ticket to the Cook Islands
- You must have proof of accommodation during your stay in the Cook Islands.
This information is valid at the time of publication. Please check with the consulate or embassy on most up-to-date entry requirements.
People & Language
As modern Pacific people, high-spirited Cook Islanders are a cosmopolitan blend of western influence and ancient Polynesian heritage. Like any true blooded Maori, they enjoy pomp, splendour and big ceremonies with traditional customs and much feasting. Hospitality, smiles and a warm welcome come naturally.
The natural, unspoilt beauty and charm of the Cook Islands is matched by the friendliness of its people who think nothing of offering a lift, striking up a conversation or inviting visitors on a night out. Part of their culture and outgoing spirit involves engaging with travellers and sharing their little paradise lifestyle.
The inherent traits of genuine care for others and love of family are apparent, no matter the island background. The bond of family is vital and extended family is an integral part of life. Children often live with grandparents and nephews and nieces live with aunts and uncles. Adoption of family members is widely encouraged.
Festivals are an important part of life, with fierce competition between the islands to produce the most outstanding performers.
Closely linked in culture and language to the Maori in New Zealand, the Maohi of French Polynesia, the Rapanui of Easter Island and the Kanaka Maoli of Hawaii – about 87% of Cook Islanders are Polynesian Cook Island Maori.
- The currency in the Cook Islands is the New Zealand dollar, supplemented by local coins. The unique local coins and notes are not negotiable outside of the Cook Islands, but are keenly sought by collectors worldwide.
- ATMs are conveniently located around Rarotonga and Aitutaki and credit cards are accepted at most hotels and stores. Western Union has an office in Avarua offering money exchange and transfers.
- Electricity voltage is 240 AC/50 cycle, the same three pin plugs as used in New Zealand and Australia. Some hotels have outlets for 110 volt AC electric razors.
- Although the dress code is informal, it is recommended to dress modestly when visiting town, villages and church. Nude or topless sunbathing will cause offence. A light sweater may come in handy for the cooler evenings.
- Cook Islands Maori is the local language but everyone also speaks English.
When shopping in the Cook Islands you’ll find an exquisite array of unique handicrafts, jewellery, art and clothing for sale in an excellent choice of retail outlets.
- Rito hats are intricately woven from stripped coconut fronds, and the pareu, a colourful fabric printed in a variety of colours and patterns like a sarong. Both are a vital part of everyday life.
- Wooden carvings such as clubs, spears, canoes, different drums (pate) and ukulele are popular. The hand-stitched quilts known as tivaevae are highly valued. Manihiki in the north exports cultured black pearls to Rarotonga, where they are set into high fashion jewellery pieces. Like the rest of the Cook Islands, the black pearl is small, but perfectly formed. There are small stores around the island but the highest concentration of shops is in Avarua.
- Local arts and crafts are available throughout the islands. Pupu necklaces, hand printed pareus, local therapeutic oils and fragrances, coconut anything from the finest rito hats to bikini bras, fans, pandanus mats, carved wooden bowls, spears and paddles and above all the prized black pearls. If this is on your list of “must haves” make sure you buy in the Cooks. The quality is superb and the price is right.
Discover more about the Cook Islands culture by exploring the local markets on offer.
- The Punanga Nui Market in Avarua, Rarotonga’s main town, offers free entertainment, fresh food stalls, organic coffee, and authentic souvenirs like pearls, artwork, crafts and hats made of coconut frond. While the market is open until midday, early Saturday morning is the best time to go for locally grown fruits and vegetables as well as homemade treats like poke. Also make sure to head over to the main stage from about 10am to enjoy live music and dancing. The Punanga Nui Market also features a night market on Thursdays from 5pm to 9pm, offering a wide range of cuisine options.
- The Muri night markets in the Muri Beach Village are a great way to curate your own dinner from the various food trucks, stalls and stands all while mixing and mingling with tourists and locals alike. Currently open Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings from 5pm, the night markets offer a variety of food from local BBQ meals, seafood, fresh drinking coconuts, chicken curries, wok fried noodles, pizza, desserts and more.
Few Helpful tips:
- Go early to have the widest selection of food on offer.
- Remember to bring your New Zealand Dollars or Cook Islands coins as stalls are cash only.
- Get to the markets by bus or if you are driving, park just off the road.
Things to Do in The Cook Islands
Fun and exciting activities await you at every corner when you visit the Cook Islands.
Enjoy a panoramic view of the beauty of the islands as you make your way to Mount Maungapu’s peak. The hike will take you at least 30 minutes, depending on how many breaks you take on your way up. Once you reach the top, a palm-studded landscape and turquoise water view await you.
Visit the Te Vara Nui Village and learn more about the rich history of the islands. You’ll start with a 2.5-hour village tour followed by various activities and demonstrations, including coconut husking, carving and weaving. The trip includes a stunning over-water night show, a world-class buffet and a cultural performance from the locals.
Must-visit Attractions in The Cook Islands
Despite being one of the most remote places, the Cook Islands are among the most beautiful holiday destinations in the world.
Visit the Aroa Marine Reserve if you are fond of snorkelling and see different aquatic species. Explore the coral reefs and see moray eels, wrasse, parrotfish and other marine life up close. The lagoon has calm waters and a serene atmosphere since the area is off-limits to motorised boats. If swimming and diving isn’t your thing, you can always try out the 18-hole mini-golf course with your family.
Take a break from the beach and enjoy a lovely stroll to the organic Maire Nui Gardens. This seven-acre property is abundant with tropical flowers, wild ginger, lush foliage and flourishing plants. Relax and enjoy the sweet fragrance of these plants as you walk and adore nature around you.
Best Time to Visit The Cook Islands
The Cook Islands generally experience a pleasant and sunny climate. Your best bet is to go from April to November. The temperature during these months ranges from 24°C to 30°C, perfect for enjoying the beaches. The remaining months experience a more humid climate and have a greater chance of cloudy days and short and occasional rainfall.
Known Destinations in The Cook Islands
Our Cook Islands holiday packages let you visit different known destinations.
The Aitutaki Lagoon is your closest thing to paradise with the technicolour shades of its crystal-clear waters and many blissful islets. You can kayak or book a cruise tour to explore the island’s vicinity or give bonefishing a try while you’re here.
Apart from its numerous beautiful beaches, the country has other natural wonders to discover, and Te Rua Manga (The Needle) is one of its most famous landmarks. This prominent stone peak stands at over 400 metres. Travellers who wish to reach the summit must hike for more than an hour through a challenging and dense forest trail.
Best Hotels in The Cook Islands
Reserve a room in the most luxurious hotels and boutique accommodations as you book our Cook Islands holiday deals.
Little Polynesian is a 5-star hotel perfect for couples and honeymooners. Guests can relax on the beautiful Titikaveka Beach, take a dip in the infinity pool while basking in the stunning colours of the Rarotongan sunset or enjoy delicious dishes in the onsite restaurant.
Experience luxury with a twist when you stay at the Ikurangi Eco Retreat. Become one with this rural accommodation's leafy gardens, mountain views and pawpaw plantations. You can choose between fancy tents or traditional bungalows during your stay for a more authentic experience.
Post Lockdown in The Cook Islands
Travellers from Australia can only travel to the Cook Islands via New Zealand.
You can enjoy a quarantine-free flight as long as you can prove you’re fully vaccinated. Booster shots are optional. Travellers must also undergo a pre-departure COVID-19 test. RT-PCR and rapid antigen tests must be taken 48 and 24 hours before your flight, respectively.
Flying to The Cook Islands
The average flight time from Australia to the Cook Islands is nine hours. Currently, the only way to get here is through New Zealand. Air New Zealand offers direct flights, while Jetstar will offer trips from June 2. Flights from Sydney will be announced at a later date.
Why we love it!
It’s all so easy
The Cook Islands is English speaking, on the New Zealand dollar, and so easy to get around. Only 32km, Rarotonga is like one big resort where everything is easily accessible by car, bike, or even the clockwise and anticlockwise bus. It’s all so easy that you can do as much or as little as you like in this little paradise.
Take a lagoon cruise on ‘the world’s most beautiful lagoon’, where the colour blue is redefined. Enjoy BBQ lunch on board and snorkel with giant trevally. Stay for a week if the day trip is not enough and enjoy the island’s total seclusion, perfect for relaxation and rejuvenation.
Warm turquoise blue water year round
There are so many ways to enjoy the warm tropical waters in the Cook Islands. From lagoon cruises to sea scooter safaris, simply hopping on a kayak from your resort or joining a neon lit night SUP tour, you are spoilt for choice in this South Pacific gem.
Delicious variety of food and drinks
Book an island night or choose from over 100 cafes and restaurants serving Polynesian and international cuisine. Indulge in a fine dining experience or try a variety of popular local dishes at a Night Market – the options are endless and the food is priced similar to what you would find in an Aussie capital city.
A warm and inviting culture
Cook Islanders love interacting with visitors. A contemporary, fun and outgoing people with an intriguing history, who love to share their Polynesian culture. Experience the Cook Islands culture and hospitality on a progressive dinner tour, at the markets or on a visit to Sunday church.
Rarotonga’s mountainous interior
It’s not all about being on the water in Rarotonga – there’s a lush jungle waiting to be explored by storytelling bike tours, jungle 4WD safari tours, mud-splattered buggy adventures, hiking excursions, and more.