There are places that strike you more than others, not so much for what the eyes see, but for what people are able to convey: I’m talking about going beyond a beautiful landscape, absorbing a new and calm lifestyle, which contains what can be summed up as … “the spirit of the Pacific”.
The question would be legitimate: why go to the other side of the world, in a tiny volcanic atoll, in the middle of the ocean and take a trip to the Cook Islands?
Because staying away from everything is a bit like detaching yourself from everything we are, facing a journey within ourselves and then getting to know ourselves better. The Cooks are not just Aitutaki and its lagoon; these islands represent an authentic and exciting destination, rich in a thousand shades of Blue ! .
Only those who have visited the Pacific will fully understand the added value of these places.
“New Zealand’s Polynesia” is located between the islands of Tahiti and Samoa. It is considered one of the most beautiful lagoon destinations in the world, but as I have already mentioned there is much more.
How to get to the Cook Islands
To reach these islands it takes many hours of flying and that is why they are often visited as an exotic sun and beach extension of destinations such as Australia, New Zealand or West Coast USA .
The first time I embarked on a trip to the Cook Islands, it was starting from Auckland , New Zealand.
However, if you intend to reach this destination without intermediate stops, it is a good idea to start from Los Angeles, which however does not offer daily flights to the Cook Islands, as you can find from New Zealand.
You may not be aware that the Pacific is an absolutely baby or family friendly destination despite being often chosen for honeymooners.
Travel to the Cook Islands: how to get around
The islands are connected by internal flights operated by Air Rarotonga, which allow you to reach even lesser known islands such as the small paradise of Atiu.
On the major islands it is recommended to rent a car or a moped. Fo car hire it is sufficient to have your driving license, in case you want to opt for a moped instead, the A license is required otherwise you must pass a simple riding test at the central police station in Avarua where you can obtain a Cook Islands driving license at a cost of NZD 20 (It is valid 1 year and a great souvenir!) . You drive on the left hand side, so opposite side from Continental Europe and like in New Zealand or UK and you will have to beware of dogs and children along the road (there are no sidewalks except in the city of Avarua on Rarotonga). Respect the speed limit (30 km in the city and 50 km outside the city) and always wear a helmet.
Rarotonga is very easy to explore: there is only one road that runs along the beach and runs along the entire perimeter of the island (approximately 32 km). Circumnavigating it to one side or the other sooner or later you will arrive at your destination.
As an alternative, there is also another smaller very picturesque road that runs inland amongst the vegetation parallel to the outer circular road, perfect for scooters and bike rides. If you prefer public transport, there is a bus service, a cheap and convenient way to get around. The cost of the ticket is NZD 5 per trip and NZD 30 for ten trips. You can get on and off on request anywhere, except in the center of Avarua, where the only possible stop is the “terminus” at Cook’s Corner.