Cook Islands adventures
Student Flights National Marketing Executive Sharna took in all the sun, sand and snorkelling she could possibly fit in on her amazing trip to the Cook Islands. Located north of New Zealand and just a six-hour non-stop flight from Sydney, the Cook Islands is made up of just 15 small islands with tropical temps all year round. Here are Sharna’s tips on how to make the most of the island vibe while seeing all the sights in one of the South Pacific’s most beautiful locations.
Everything I’d seen and heard about the Cook Islands was amazing. Paradise is the only way I can describe it, but even that doesn’t do these islands justice. It’s one of those beautiful places you really have to see for yourself to believe it exists.
In Rarotonga, I stayed at the Edgewater Resort & Spa, which had a great beachfront location and was also conveniently close to town. What surprised me was just how relaxed it is the Cook Islands – island time is a real thing and I loved it! You unwind in no time. But if you do need to stay connected, the wi-fi in Raro was super speedy, so you can still upload your pics to Instagram and make your friends super jealous. Definitely take your GoPro – there were so many cool photo opportunities while snorkelling, like giant clams and tropical reef fish.
My top tip: make sure you have a sarong (or two or three). Island time calls for island attire and having a sarong on hand saves lugging around a beach towel too. You can pick up really beautiful and colourful sarongs at the local markets for a steal and the locals will teach you heaps of new ways to wear them.
If I had nominate just one must-do spot in the Cook Islands though, it would have to be Aitutaki – it’s truly paradise. An island north of Rarotonga in the Southern Group of the Cook Islands, Aitutaki has the most beautiful lagoon and I did an amazing Vaka day cruise on a traditional Polynesian-style vessel, which definitely added to the authenticity of the experience. On the cruise, I got to explore some breathtakingly stunning islands, including one that was featured in Survivor: Cook Islands, and the crew were incredibly hospitable and entertaining – it’s an absolute must.
On Aitutaki, I stayed in the adults-only Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa, which is the most relaxing and stunning place I have ever been in my life. The luxury location had amazing touches like the outdoor shower for stargazing, which just added to the experience.
Another plus was the people – they are so friendly and love a chat. The biggest highlight of my stay in the Cook Islands was the people and the experiences. I like to make the most of my days, so I went snorkelling, did the cross-island hike, went on a couple of day cruises, went quad-biking, visited the markets and heaps more - there's plenty of tours and activities on offer. Hiring a scooter was the best way to explore the islands and all part of the fun. I can’t wait to go back!
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