Where are the Cook Islands? A guide

Where are the Cook Islands? Despite being so close to Australia and some of the world’s most popular island holiday destinations, many are still unaware of this stunning South Pacific oasis. The Cook Islands are a nation in the South Pacific consisting of an archipelago of 15 islands scattered over a large area. While there are 15 islands, the main two islands are Rarotonga and Aitutaki, which many travellers use as a base for their daily adventures to other islands. Situated close to Tahiti, the Cook Islands are a short 6-hour non-stop flight from Sydney, making for an easy journey to paradise. Because there’s so much to discover about the Cook Islands, we’ve provided a complete guide below so you can prepare for your holiday. 


Known as the hub of the Cook Islands, there’s never a shortage of activities on Rarotonga (or Raro) including snorkelling, hiking, surfing, cultural experiences and more. The special thing about Rarotonga is the despite the range of activities, the island remains relatively untouched with no traffic lights, No McDonald’s and a law that no building is taller than the highest coconut tree. Moreover, the entire island is only 32km in circumference, meaning it will only take 45 minutes to make your way around the entire island. Getting around the island is simple and can be done via car, scooter, bus, bicycle or taxi which can be organised once you arrive at the island.Staying in Rarotonga over other commercialised and developed islands means you’ll come back feeling truly refreshed. 

When it comes to island activities on Raro, you have the luxury of spending your days on the island or travelling to any other of the 14 islands in that make up the archipelago.Starting off simple, Raro has some incredible beaches that you can swim and lounge at including Muri Beach, Tikioki Beach, Aroa Beach and Nikao Beach. Many of these beaches also have snorkelling, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding equipment available for hire if you’re looking for water activities. If you’re looking for activities to do on land, there’s a range of exciting activities such as cycling tours, hikes, hiring buggies and quadbikes as well as 4WD trips inland. 

After you’ve had a day of activities, you can relax and have a bite to eat at one of the many artisan restaurants andopen-air bars that serve a range of crowd favourite dishes mixed with traditional cuisine. If you’re looking to kick on into the night, Rarotonga has some of the best night life in the Cook Islands with a dedicated bus that takes party goes on a bar tour of the island. 


The smaller of the two main islands, Aitutaki is known for its secluded, almost romantic atmosphere that attracts many couples and honeymooners. Only a 50-minute flight from Rarotonga, you can easily travel between the two islands and make the most of your time on a Cook Island Holiday

One of the main reasons people visit Aitutaki is to explore the beautiful One Food Island which was awarded “Australasia’s Leading Beach” in June 2008. On One Foot Island, take the time to relax, lounge on the sand or float in the turquoise water. Some of the other stand out beaches on the island are of course the Aitutaki Lagoon where you can go fishing, sailing, diving or take a boat tour. Finally, Honeymoon Island is a popular sandbar located in Maina which is just 5km southwest of Aitutaki. As you can imagine, this is a beautiful, secluded island where couples can enjoy a day by the water together. 

If you’re wanting to explore more than the beach, Aitutaki has a range of land-based activities that you’re sure to enjoy. If the island isn’t relaxing enough for you, why not indulge and enjoy one of the spa and massage treatments at one of the many spas and salons around the island. Once you’ve had a treatment, indulge even further and treat yourself to some traditional Polynesian and International cuisine, including seafood caught straight from the reef and some of the freshest fruit the island has to offer. For more fun, end your night by watching an Aitutakian fire-dancing performance that’s sure to impress. 


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