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Discover a Polynesian Paradise

Cook Islands
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When is the best time to visit the Cook Islands

Enjoying a tropical climate, there’s not much variation in temperature in the Cook Islands making it a year round destination. It’s slightly cooler from June to August, but even the 30-degree-plus highs of the hottest months (January to March) are tempered by ocean breezes.

Like most South Pacific islands, it can rain any month, usually in short-lived downpours, bringing relief to high humidity. The highest rainfall occurs in summer between November and March.

What is the sea temperature in the Cook Islands?

Put simply: idyllic. Sea temperatures fluctuate from a low of around 25°C to a high of around 28-29°C – perfect if you’re contemplating a spot of snorkelling or diving.

Notable Dates

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July/August: Te Maeva Nui – cultural celebration marking self-rule

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November: Vaka Eiva – outrigger canoe festival and competitions

Where to visit in the Cook Islands

Rarotonga

You’ll touch down on the main island of Rarotonga, about 3,400km north of New Zealand. An extinct two million-year-old oceanic volcano, its mountainous interior of forest-clad peaks and ridges looms 650m above a narrow, reef-fringed coastal plain. Home to around 5,500 people, the main town of Avarua has a thriving artisan food scene and is well worth a visit, while the 32km road encircles the island makes exploring easy.

In pictures
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Admire the stunning lagoon ideal for snorkelling, kayaking or diving

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Take a 4WD safari into the highlands or explore the ring road by scooter

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Visit the bustling local market to purchase traditional arts and crafts

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Learn about local history and culture on an Island Discovery Tour

Aitutaki

When volcanic islands in the South Pacific grow old, their once mountainous interiors are worn down and eventually vanish beneath the surface leaving a ring-shaped coral reef. A 45-minute flight from Rarotonga, Aitutaki beautifully demonstrates this transition from ‘high island’ to coral atoll. A 74-square-kilometre triangle of bright turquoise, its lagoon is dotted with motu – little sandy slithers of paradise, topped with flouncy coconut palms and lapped by dazzlingly clear, warm water.

In pictures
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Snorkel in the pristinely clear waters of the lagoon

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Watch incredible sunsets from the beach with a glass of wine

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Take a lagoon cruise and get your passport stamped on One Foot Island

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Try kayaking, scuba diving, kite surfing or even game fishing

Atiu

A raised reef island, Atiu’s original fringing reef was forced out of the sea to form a kilometre-wide coastal plateau known as makatea. Sheer cliffs of ancient coral, up to 18m in height, are gnawed by Pacific breakers, while the island’s cave-riddled interior is covered with a dense tangle of trees and ferns. Home to beautiful birds and plants, Atiu is an ecologist’s dream, indeed its traditional name “Enuamanu” means ‘land of the birds’.

In pictures
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Join Birdman George on a nature tour showcasing the fascinating variety flora and fauna

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Visit organic coffee plantations coaxed by locals from the rugged terrain

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Explore a myriad caves and white sandy beaches tucked into the coastline

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Relax in a private villa at Atiu Resort surrounded by tropical gardens

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