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Cook Islands Cruises

Lying halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii, the 15 tiny Cook Islands float in the South Pacific and are host to some of the world’s most divine beaches, dreamy waters and colourful coral. So it’s no surprise that the Cook Islands are associated with a hedonistic getaway.

Names such as the ‘island of birds’ help portray the truly exotic and tropical nature of the islands as well as the vibrant Polynesian culture. The added seafood delights combined with the banana trees and coconuts help to complete the paradise checklist of a Cook Islands cruise.

Rarotonga remains the most populated island and holds the capital, Avarua. Like many of the other islands, the shores are picture-perfect while the interior holds soaring mountains like that of Te Atukara and the dense jungle found near Muri.

Top 5 interesting facts

  • The Cook Islands are the world’s second largest producer of black pearls.
  • The islands are self-governing but are associated with New Zealand.
  • Rugby is the most common sport played here.
  • Kakerori is Rarotonga’s endangered bird.
  • The islands are named after Captain Cook.
 

Highlights

Culture

Visitors are met with wide smiles and the hospitable nature of the Polynesian people at the Ngatangiia Harbour in Rarotonga. Having occupied the island since 600 BC, the islanders have kept their ancient culture alive in their daily routines and architecture.

Close to the port is the 18-mile Great Road of Toi which is made of volcanic rock and was built in the 11th century. The marae (or ‘meeting grounds’) of Arai Te Tonga is another architectural hotspot – a beautiful temple considered to be the most sacred place on the island.  

Treats

Back in Rarotonga, the Punanga Nui Cultural Market is an event in itself. Not only are juicy fruits and seafood treats available, but local musicians and dancers provide an entertaining cultural experience. It’s also here that visitors can purchase a black pearl, a traditional wooden carving or a ‘rito’ hat.

 

Landscapes

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Jutting from the island’s lush jungle greenery is Te Rua Manga, or The Needle. Cruise visitors will spot the pinnacle towering above the dense trees. 

This rock formation presents a challenge for those who love to climb and rewards them with the most stunning views of the island.

Back on lower ground, Muri Lagoon offers views of those same glinting waters and quaint wooden huts. Black Rock Beach is the perfect location for divers, with the Aroa Marine Reserve also nearby for those who prefer the snorkel to the oxygen tank. Fishing is not allowed here which means an abundance of sunset wrasses, butterfly fish, squirrel fish and Emperor angelfish adding colour to the already beautifully turquoise shallow waters. 

The beautifully landscaped Maire Nui Gardens host much flora and fauna, as well as lily ponds and spectacular mountain views. There’s a farm shop here too, selling the produce made on the farm.  

 

Ports in the country

 

Cruises visiting Cook Islands

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