The Cook Islands are one of the special holiday destinations among the South Pacific Islands. They lie to the east of the Samoan and Tongan archipelagos and to the west of the French Marquise’s and Tahiti.
This group of islands is reputed to be the most beautiful of all the Pacific Islands. There are fifteen magnificent islands that make up the group and Rarotonga is home to the capital of Avarua. Most of the island resorts in the Cook islands are situated on Rarotonga.
The first inhabitants of the Cook Islands were the Polynesian people who arrived here in huge double hulled canoes in about 800AD. They came here guided by the stars and there knowledge of ancient navigation techniques.
The original chief Toi who arrived with the first migration was responsible for building a coral road across the wetlands and swamps and this road sill exists today almost 1000 years later. Today it has been sealed and is known as Ara Metua.
The early European explorers were amazed to find this fantastic construction. European settlement started in the eighteenth century after being visited by both Captain James Cook in 1773 and being seen By Capt William Bligh aboard the Bounty in 1789. Today, the Cook Islands are inhabited by a friendly and happy population of island people who welcome tourists to their island homeland. The population of the Cook islands is around 19000 of which 2000 live in the northern islands and around 5000 live in the southern islands. Close to 50000 Cook Islanders now live permanently in New Zealand.
Cook Island Dancers
The other main tourist destination in the Cook islands is Aitutaki. This is one of the most magnificent coral atolls in the South Pacific Ocean and has a coral lagoon of incredible beauty. There is a resort on the island and Aitutki is a favourite destination for a weddings or honeymooners. The local people are all Christian and tribal culture is still important here.
Christianity plays an important part in day to day life throughout the Cook islands and a Sunday visit to their churches will leave you spellbound by the fantastic harmonised singing that the Polynesian people are famous for.
The Cook Islands are a fantastic destination where you can imagine yourself as a castaway on a desert island or go to town, enjoy a meal in a beautiful restaurant and later go to a great nightclub. Water activities like diving, snorkelling, fishing and kayaking are among the most popular day time activities.
You can also visit the local markets and purchase fantastic woven craft items that are made with intricate patterns according to island traditions. Local feasting and dance festivals are also part of the day to day life here and visitors are always made welcome.
Flights to Rarotonga arrive regularly from Australia and New Zealand. You can fly in with Air New Zealand or Pacific Blue. The local currency is the New Zealand dollar and most people speak English although the official language is Cook Islands Maori. If you are dreaming about coming to the South pacific for your next holiday, then the Cook islands must be placed firmly on the top of your list.