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Unique experiences in the Cook Islands

[ 0 ] August 22, 2012 |

Whether you explore by land, or by sea, Cook islands holidays are fabulous just about any time of year. Cook Islands is a string of 15 islands, which includes the ever popular islands of Rarotonga, and Nassau. The question is, if there are 15 islands, which island do you choose?! Do you concentrate on one, or do you try to explore all of them? Well, that is something only you can decide.

Each of the islands offer white sandy beaches, and pristine waters. There are luxurious resorts, and beachside huts. There are water sports, and pools. Everything island resorts should (and do) have. Does this mean each island is a ‘cookie cutter’ copy of the rest? Nope. There are also unique experiences to be had.


Mai Tours on the island of Rarotonga offer visitors the opportunity to explore the island on their own, using an MP3 player. This self-guided tour covers island history, and culture.



Aitutaki is one of those places where you go to escape the world for a couple days. Relax on the beach, have a sand castle competition, try some local cuisine, and enjoy the stunning sunsets.



Atiu is known for its birdlife. So if you enjoy vibrant, exotic birds, plan to spend a few days here. Another cool activity on Atiu is the ancient caves, which feature clear pools of water, stalagmites, and stalactites.



Mitiaro is a pristine island. There are fewer than 10 cars here, and the island is peppered with caves that are begging to be explored. Mitiaro is also home to Te Pare, an ancient fort. Take care. It’s a 20 minute walk, over a coral platform, to the fort.

mitiaro cave


Mangaia is said to be the oldest island in the Pacific (reportedly 18 millions years old). This island is home to about 500 people. and there are very few travellers. The island features rare birdlife, ancient caves, a volcanic plateau, and fossilized coral cliffs.


Manihiki and Rakahanga

Like to fish, or enjoy looking at fish? Manihiki is home to some of the most unique fish you will ever see! Rakahanga is the sister island to Manihiki, and is one of the lesser known islands in the Cook Islands.


Manuae, Suwarrow, and Takutea

manuae suwarrow takuteaManuae, Suwarrow, and Takutea form a unique ring, and there are most definitely worth a visit! While Manuae is unhibited by man, it is lush with sea turtles! Suwarrow on the other hand is known as ‘Treasure Island’ (yes, THAT Treasure Island!), and Takutea is a bird and tutrle sanctuary (home of red-footed boobies, yes, it’s a bird!), and has never been inhabited!


Have you ever seen a Banyan Tree? Well, Mauke is home to the world’s largest Banyan Tree. It’s over an acre in size! Who wants to go tree climbing?! Mauke also features a volcanic plateau, fossilized coral reef, and a small lagoon.



Did you know that island of Nassau was purchased in the 1940s for £200 by the Cook Islands Administration? Yep. Totally was. Nassau is known as ‘The Garden of Eden’ and is home to roughly 75 people. This is a great little island is you’re looking for a very unique local experience.


Palmerston is said to be the ‘perfect island’ of the Cook Islands. This island was inhabited (1863) by a British man named William Marsters who, along with his three Polynesian wives, sired 23 children. Marsters home, which was built by lumber from shipwrecks, still stands!



Penrhyn is the largest island atoll of the Cook Islands, and features a game fishing lagoon, is the best place in the Pacific for Rito weaving, and it is said to be home to not only black pearls, but golden pipi pearls as well!


Another island with a fun name! Pukapuka is all about tradition, and culture. This island is unlike the rest in that they still follow the old ways. Things are done as a community, not as an individual.

Pukapuka Ladies

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About onurwaytravel: Colin has been travelling the world with his young family for the past 2 and half years. He runs a couple of websites all revolve around travel, family travel and digital nomadism. His websites include,, and now View author profile.

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