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The Cook Islands is a nation in the South Pacific, with political links to New Zealand. Its 15 islands are scattered over a vast area. The largest island, Rarotonga, is home to rugged mountains and Avarua, the national capital. To the north, Aitutaki Island has a vast lagoon encircled by coral reefs and small, sandy islets. The country is renowned for its many snorkelling and scuba-diving sites.

Out and About

Just a few hours flight from New Zealand, the Cook Islands are a favourite destination for Kiwis on holiday. This friendly island nation contains some of the Pacific’s most beautiful scenery, from bush-clad volcanic peaks to white sandy beaches and coral atolls.

Top things to do:

  • Take a short flight to the world famous, and picture perfect, Aitutaki lagoon. Explore uninhabited islands, relax on deserted sandbanks and enjoy a tasty BBQ on One Foot Island
  • Enjoy snorkelling and kayaking in the crystal clear waters, where tropical fish and turtles are visible right off the beach
  • Go hiking into the interior of the islands. Rarotonga is full of dense rain forests perfect for trekking through the lush vegetation
  • Watch some traditional dancing – one highlight is the Ura dance, a sacred ritual where the female dancer tells a story through dancing
  • Enjoy a relaxed cycle trip and learn about the nature, history and culture of the islands whilst exploring by bike
  • Go whale watching off the coast, where humpback whales migrate to the warm waters of the Pacific, often so close to the shore that they are visible from land

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