The Cook Islands
In September 2015 we went to the Cook Island for a family holiday. Being a family that loves the beach and relaxing lifestyle, it was perfect.
The Cook Islands is a self-governing island country in the South Pacific Ocean. They are northeast of New Zealand, between French Polynesia and American Samoa. The islands were formed by volcanic activity; the northern group is older and consists of six atolls, which are sunken volcanoes topped by coral growth. The climate is moderate to tropical.
We flew V Australia via Auckland, and because of the International Time line, we arrived the day before we left. We spent 6 nights at the Pacific Rarotongan Resort. This resort is on Muri Bay, which is very pretty. It caters for all types of travelers, with studios right up to 3 bedroom beach houses. We stayed in a 2 bedroom villa, which was very spacious for the 5 of us. The villas have a small garden area out the front of them with banana lounges. Because of the design, they offer a lot of privacy. The resort is beachfront, although our villa did not have view. The main restaurant is located on the beachfront, with some dining actually on the beach. We had breakfast included, and who doesn’t love fresh tropical fruit for breakfast every day. Our Villa was self-contained which was great, as we were able to go into town and do some food shopping. It’s a bit more expensive than here, but having said that, how often would you and your family go and eat out for lunch and dinner every day when you are at home. I think this is a common misconception when travelling. We found lots of little local places to eat and the costs were between $40 (fish and chips) to $140 for a restaurant meal.( remembering I have 2 teenage children) . Public transport is interesting in Rarotonga…there are 2 bus routes…one going clockwise and the other anti-clockwise around the Island. Apparently there is a timetable, but basically every 15 minutes there will be a bus coming either way. Like other South Pacific Islands, time is not important, and the bus will arrive. There are not designated bus stops, you wave it down. It is a flat rate for all trips. It is definitely worth just doing a lap of the island on the bus for NZ$2.50. Rarotonga is the main shopping area, with your normal touristy shops. There is a market every Saturday which is a definite must. There is NO McDonalds, KFC or similar, which was a pleasant surprise.
Snorkeling is good on all the different parts of the island. We hired a car for a couple of days, just to give us a bit more freedom in getting around. Mopeds are also available to hire. You should definitely make your way over to the Edgewater resort one afternoon and watch the sunset. It is almost guaranteed to be spectacular every night.
Most of the resorts have access to canoes that they will allow you to use, which was fun, same with snorkels. Glass bottom boat rides and SUP (Stand Up Paddleboards) was also available for a small charge.
All in all I would definitely go back to the Cook Islands for a break.