Cook Islands Aitutaki Lagoon Resort boats and drums
Stopover cook islands butterfly
stopover cook islands beach resort
Stopover cook islands beach view christoph burgdorfer unsplash
Cook Islands Aitutaki Lagoon Resort boats and drums
Stopover cook islands butterfly
stopover cook islands beach resort
Stopover cook islands beach view christoph burgdorfer unsplash
Discover a tropical paradise in the South Pacific

Stopover Cook Islands

Discover a dream destination

The Cook Islands is an archipelago of 15 islands that have been formed by volcanic activity and coral growth. Located in the South Pacific, the islands can be reached quickly and easily from New Zealand or Australia. A great stopover option from Auckland, you can fly to the mountainous main island of Rarotonga in just four hours.

Rarotonga is sure to impress

Rarotonga is home to the international airport and is the capital of the islands with the largest population. With a circumference of 32-kilometres, you can easily get around the island by foot, bus, or scooter. On Rarotonga, the atmosphere is relaxed, and the islanders are friendly and always up for a laugh. Maori is the first language in the Cook Islands but everyone also speaks English.

The third-largest island of the Cook Islands is Atiu

Atui is a 45-minute flight from Aitutaki and Rarotonga. Atiu is over 8 million years old and is the 3rd largest of the Cook Islands. The island is surrounded by a six-metre-high coral reef, the 'Makatea'. In the middle of the island is a 70-metre high hill with a flat top.

Discover a turquoise lagoon and the surrounding barrier reef
Meet the friendly locals in the South Pacific
© Cook Islands Tourism

The South Pacific

The Cook Islands were named after the British navigator and explorer, Captain James Cook. The island archipelago consists of 15 islands spread in the French Polynesian triangle, east of Tonga and Samoa and west of Tahiti. Just over 2000 kilometres to the west of the Cook Islands lies Fiji. Formed by volcanic activity and coral atolls, they are scattered over an area of more than 2.2 million square kilometers.

The Cook Islands is one of the most spread out countries on earth

Discover white sandy beaches with tall palm trees, shimmering turquoise lagoons, and colourful coral reefs. The Cook Islands is one of the most attractive travel destinations in the world. Famous for its tranquillity, spectacular nature, and the warm hospitality of the locals.

Be enchanted by the natural beauty of the Cook Islands
Each Pacific Island has its own individual character

Best time to visit

The Pacific Islands is a dream destination due to its beautiful tropical climate. The Cook Islands is warm and sunny all year round with temperatures between 21 and 28 degrees Celcius. While the Cook Islands can be visited year-round, the best time to visit is between April and November, during the driest months.

The high season is between July to August. The shoulder seasons are between April and June, and September to December. And the low season is between December, January, and February. These months are also the most humid and warmest with an occasional shower.

The Cook Islands are stunning year-round
© Cook Islands Tourism
Discover pristine coral sand beaches in the Pacific Islands


The interior of Rarotonga is green - with tropical vegetation and palm and banana plantations. An island tour will give you a comprehensive view of the island. You can explore the island either by self-drive in a rental car, on a scooter, or by bicycle. But there is also an island bus available if you prefer.

Be enchanted by beautiful views

For stunning views of the nature of Rarotonga, the surrounding islands, and the blue ocean - climb to the peaks of Te Manga. Rising 652 metres from the island, here you can enjoy some of the best views in the region. Enjoy dinner at the Muri Night Markets or watch the sunset at Black Rock.

Are you a foodie?

Dine with the locals on a Progressive Dinner Tour or grab a drink at Trader Jacks. If you would like to purchase Polynesian arts and crafts, go to the Beachcomber Pearl Market. Be sure to spend a night at the Highland Paradise Cultural Centre. Go snorkelling at Aroa Beach or rent a kayak and discover life on the water.

Learn how to surf
Admire the beautiful flora and fauna found here
Aus Waterlilies in Kakadu Darwin NT

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Experience comfortable flight times, connections, and a relaxing stopover. As Australian and New Zealand specialists, we work with leading airlines and can arrange flights that suit your wants and needs.

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Countless activities

The Cook Islands are renowned for being a place of peace and tranquillity. However, there is also a lot to see and do. At the Te Vara Nui Cultural Village, you will have the opportunity to experience the local culture. Listen to music and singing, and watch the traditional dancing. Many galleries and workshops await your visit, as well as shops with products typical of the island, such as the unique (cultured) pearls.

Do you enjoy being active?

The Rarotonga Golf Club (9-hole) is ideal for sports enthusiasts. You can also play tennis and squash if you prefer. Rent a sailboat or catamaran and take a boat tour to get another vantage point of the islands. And there are plenty of opportunities to fish, dive, and snorkel.

Marvel at the sparkling ocean

The ocean that surrounds the islands is crystal clear and beautiful. You can find many interesting underwater canyons and caves, shipwrecks, fantastic coral formations, and also an array of colourful fish. Would you like to try diving? You can rent diving gear and go together with an experienced local guide.

Meet the locals

Sunday church services are an important island tradition. Cook Islanders love to sing and do so with great passion as they gather at their churches on Sundays. Visitors are always welcome!

Meet the friendly locals who love to laugh
Indulge in the fascinating culture of the Cook Islands

The most beautiful lagoon

Apart from Rarotonga, there are 14 other picture-perfect islands that make up the Cook Islands. Not all of them are inhabited and some are located quite far from the main island. One of the islands that you should definitely visit is Aitutaki, 220 kilometres, north of Rarotonga. Aitutaki is one of Cook Island's best-kept secrets and is waiting to be discovered.

Discover Aitutaki

Aitutaki is a beautiful coral island with deep blue waters, golden sandy beaches, and a sheltered 45-kilometre lagoon. The island is renowned for being a popular wedding spot. If you would like to see this tropical paradise, it only takes 45 minutes by Air Rarotonga.

Enjoy a cruise and soak up the relaxed island vibes

If you feel like relaxing and enjoying your surroundings, take a cruise on the lagoon. You can choose from a short cruise or an all-day cruise. However, no matter which cruise you decide to take, you'll still get to enjoy a barbecue lunch served on an uninhabited island and plenty of time to swim, dive, or snorkel.

Kia Orana - Welcome to the Cook Islands!

A sunset cruise with a barbecue dinner is a must during your visit to the Cook Islands. Travellers who prefer to stay away from the crowds can head to Atiu. Famous for its caves and rare bird species, and in the north, you can visit Pukapuka, Manihiki, or Tongareva. If you want to follow in Captain Cook's footsteps, this is your ultimate destination.

Cook Islands | Australia holiday
Admire rare birds in Atiu
Enjoy idyllic palm-fringed beaches

Practical information

  • If you are staying on the islands for less than 31 days, you do not need a visa. Then a passport that is valid for at least another six months after your departure is sufficient. You will also need a valid return flight ticket or a flight ticket for your next destination.
  • Air New Zealand offers stopovers in the Cook Islands.
  • The Cook Islands are also slightly cheaper to visit than Fiji.
  • The valid currency is New Zealand Dollar (NZ$).
  • A local driver's license is required to hire a car, this costs NZ$20 and can be obtained from Avarua Police Station (a lovely souvenir!).
  • There are all types of five-star resorts, hotels, motels, and guesthouses in the Cook Islands.
  • Fresh fish plays an important role in the cuisine, as do local tropical fruits and vegetables.
  • Details and information on the current regulations and entry requirements for a trip to the Cook Islands can be found here.

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At TravelEssence, we specialise in crafting custom-made holidays that take you off the beaten path and create memories to last a lifetime. We believe in connecting with the heart and soul of a place, introducing you to the locals who call it home. Engage in conversations with fascinating individuals who will share their stories, traditions, and way of life, leaving an indelible mark on your journey.