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A Rarotongan Holiday – The Cook Islands Paradise on Our Doorstep


At the Cook Islands road show in Auckland, one of the speakers lamented that we have for too long taken for granted a world class holiday destination only 3 1/2 hours from our back door step.

Read our guide to a Cook Islands holiday

Land in Rarotonga for your Cook Islands holiday and take a short hop to Aitutaki and you arrive at the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa – on one of the top private islands in the world. Certainly made me stop and think about my winter escape!

Air New Zealand’s safety campaign with Sports Illustrated’s 50th Anniversary had an amazing social media impact and appears to have had a substantial impact on the US market. And when you see exclusive properties like the Sea Change Villas, the pristine sands of Muri Beach or even what was described on the night as the “Toyota Corolla” of resorts, The Edgewater Resort, it was hard not to be swept up in the story of the paradise in our backyard.

My earliest memory of The Rarotongan Resort is learning to play pool against tourists (as an 8 year old). Between that and stopping for a swim at Black Rock on the way home from school it sounds like little of the “paradise lost” feel has been lost. The Rarotongan sells a great story as a wedding location – families with kids in one property, adults quietly next door at their adults only property the Sanctuary Rarotonga.

In fact – “Adults Only” seems to be getting used more and more when it comes to these properties. Although it may be confusing to those outside the industry – it may prove difficult to describe a property with no kids any other way.


The whole island of Rarotonga (and Aitutaki for that matter) seems to have an overabundance of idyllic spots for that special day or even a honeymoon or increasingly “Rarotonga Babymoons” are becoming the thing to do (before “the Dark Ages” set in, as a former colleague used to say).

The Pacific Resort properties continue to attract attention – especially as they continue to win awards – and the location on Muri beach is everything that a Pacific Island holiday is meant to be.

Rarotonga is no Waikiki and it doesn’t pretend to be. The balance for a winter escape to paradise feels right. There are world class restaurants, barefoot bars, deep sea fishing and snorkeling in some of the most beautiful lagoons in the world.

Holiday packages are the most common and often cost effective way to book a Rarotonga holiday as it allows for discounted airfares and specials with the local resorts to be combined.

For me, at the end of another day that started before 5am and would finish close to midnight, when Stephen Doherty from the Cook Islands Tourist Authority said “We have a rule in the Cook Islands that no building can be taller than the tallest coconut tree” I felt myself relax…just at the thought of a tranquil beach holiday.

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