Been to Bali and Thailand? Want to tick another unspoiled paradise off your bucket list? Then head to the Cook Islands. A six hour flight from Sydney, or a 9 hour flight from LA, the Cook Islands lay half way between New Zealand and Hawaii. An absolutely stunning location, beautiful people, warm weather and the most inviting cool, clear waters I’ve ever slipped into.
We stayed on Rarotonga, the main island in the group. It has one main road, and not a traffic light to be seen. This road circles the island and has a very casual bus service that travels both clockwise and anticlockwise. The driver will pick you up or drop you off at will and this all happens on ‘island time’.
We stayed in a beach bungalow at The Pacific Resort Rarotonga.
Set in six acres of lush, tropical gardens, this boutique resort was fantastic!
Our bungalow featured a King Size bed, a small kitchen area, large bathroom and doors that opened onto the beautiful Muri Beach.
Our accommodation package included breakfast and each morning we went to the restaurant and enjoyed an array of fruits, cereals, eggs, toast and great coffee. All served with a smile. We loved it.
There were plenty of activities on offer – kayaking, windsurfing ,snorkelling and a whole host of others.
Muri Beach (or Muri Lagoon as the locals call it) was gorgeous. The beautiful clear waters were so inviting, we often swam for hours at a time. If we weren’t swimming in the water, we were laying on a deck chair watching the hive of activity on the water or taking a walk along the beach…..whichever way, it was pure bliss.
Most nights we ate at Sandals restaurant in the resort. The food was seriously good.
An innovative menu with lots of seafood kept us coming back night after night…It was also very reasonably priced.
The best thing about Sandals restaurant however was its location. Some nights it was situated down on the beach in the sand….It’s the only time I’ve been to a restaurant in my sarong and no shoes…..absolute heaven.
There were plenty of other great places to eat on the island – all of the resorts we visited had fabulous restaurants. Just jump on the island bus and tell the driver where you want to go…..
We also explored the mountainous interior of the island. Rarosafaritours took us on a 4 wheel drive adventure through the jungle to the Papua Waterfall, the sacred site of Te Arai-Te-Tonga Marae and the highlight, the beautiful green Avatiu valley where we came up close and personal with ‘Te Rua Manga or The Needle (413m) the islands highest point.
Make sure you take the insect repellant 🙂
The Cook Islands really cast a spell on us…
If you want an island holiday with a super relaxed feel, fabulous food and accommodation and stunning beauty all around you, head to The Cook Islands.
It was absolute paradise.
Featured writer & photographer: Christine Bernasconi