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Exploring the Southern Group of Cook Islands

Mauke Cook Islands

The Cook Islands Travel Bubble has opened up travel opportunities beyond the beaches of Rarotonga and Aitutaki for those interested in experiencing life in the Outer Islands.  The Southern Group islands of Atiu, Mauke, Mitiaro and Mangaia provide intrepid travellers, looking for more than white sandy beaches, an opportunity for a uniquely authentic Cook Islands experience. (Image courtesy of Cook Islands Tourism / Claire Wilson).

Read our guide to a Cook Islands Holiday

Each of these itineraries is a standalone package, however depending on flight schedules the itineraries can be combined on request.


Atiu, also known as Enua Manu (the land of birds), is one of the three close islands of the Southern Group known as ‘Nga-Pu-Toru’ – grouped with Mitiaro and Mauke. Atiu is the third largest island in the Cook Islands. Its spectacular ecosystem boasts fringed coastlines with coral cliffs, hidden beach coves, dense tropical rainforests and hidden caves. Atiu is a Wildlife Sanctuary for many endemic and threatened bird species, many of which are found on the uninhabited Island of Takutea—20 Kilometres north-west of Atiu. It is also an island with a fascinating history, culture, and traditions. (Image courtesy of Cook Islands Tourism / David Kirkland).

Accommodation on Atiu

Atiu Villas

Atiu Villas is a small intimate property, peacefully set amongst lush tropical gardens in the village of Areora, 15-minutes from the airport and a few minutes to the main town. Offering a total of six self-contained Villas, each with their own basic kitchen, furniture on the outdoor deck, and shower & toilet. There are five Standard Villas (sleeps 3 adults and 1 child), and a Family Villa (sleeps 4 adults and 2 children). Each Villa has a stocked larder with basic food items and a small selection of beverages—guests pay for what they use at the end of their stay. Facilities at Atiu Villas include a swimming pool, restaurant & bar—where dinner is served, vehicle rentals, and a grass tennis court.

Island Tours of Atiu

Anatakitaki Cave Tour takes you to one of the habitats of the Kopeka Bird. A bird endemic to Atiu that nests deep in the caverns, and navigates in the dark by using an eco locating series of clicks. With your local guide, your tour begins with a 30-minute trek over rugged terrain before you come to the entrance of the cave. Learn of the history surrounding the cave as you fascinate in the majestic stalagmites on display. As you lose the natural light see Kopeka birds flying in complete darkness. Your tour ends with a cool swim in a artesian water pool by candle light before your trek back to the starting point. (Image courtesy of Cook Islands Tourism)

The Island Eco Tour with your knowledgeable local guide is a 3.5-4 hour exploration tour that takes you on a journey to discover the unsurpassed natural beauty of Atiu Island. Your tour begins as soon as you are picked up from Atiu Villas. You will travel the inland and coastal roads, and through dense tropical rainforests to learn of Atius rich history and spectacular eco-system as you visit places of interest, and sites of historical significance to the people of Atiu. Discover hidden beach coves, and learn the uses of various traditional plants. Light refreshments are provided as your tour comes to an end.

Atiu Tumunu Tour is a two century old tradition where the local men gather to enjoy a fruit based alcoholic local brew. The word ‘Tumunu’ is translated ‘Coconut trunk’ which was traditionally carved into and used as the barrel to brew the beer. Today, the Tumunu is open to visitors and women to enjoy a few rounds. The brew is served clockwise by a barman who is seated in the centre of the group. Fresh fruits and snacks are provided while you enjoy a conversation with the friendly locals and other visitors. The tour is an hour duration for visitors which is enough time to get one just a little tipsy.

Atiu Package

The 4 night Atiu package starts from $1,011*pp twin share and $582* per child under 12.  The package includes:
• Return Airfares (Rarotonga / Atiu / Rarotonga)
• 4 Nights Accommodation at Atiu Villas
• Return Airport Transfers in Atiu
• Daily Breakfast (served off-site)
• Daily Dinner at Atiu Villas
• Anatakitaki (Kopeka Bird) Cave Tour
• Island Tour of Atiu with light refreshments

Fine Travel can also arrange your airfares to Rarotonga and pre and post accommodation on Rarotonga.



Mauke Cook Islands Church

Mauke, traditionally known as Akatokamanava, is one of the three close islands of the Southern Group, the ‘Nga-Pu-Toru’ – grouped with Mitiaro and Atiu. While Mauke is mostly referred to as the Garden Island of the Cook Islands with rich soil and abundance of tropical vegetation, it is also a vast natural playground with many hidden secrets waiting to be discovered. (Image courtesy of Cook Islands Tourism / Claire Wilson).

Accommodation on Mauke

Ris retreat Mauke

Ri’s Retreat (above) is located just under 2-minutes from the airport, and is a short walk to Uriaata Beach. Set amongst lush tropical gardens and green lawns are three simple self-contained studios, each with a double and single bed, shower & toilet, and a small kitchen with refrigerator/freezer, kettle, and an oven with cooktop. There is also a two-bedroom self-contained house with the same facilities that can sleep up to six guests. Meals are served at the dining and communal hut which is a great place to meet other inhouse guests. Guests are otherwise welcome to take their meals back to their rooms to enjoy.

Ri’s Hideaway (above), located 20 minutes from the airport on the peaceful southern coast is the sister property to Ri’s Retreat at the airport. Room options include five basic self-contained bungalows, each with a double and single bed, a small kitchen, and bathroom with shower & toilet. Guests have a glimpse of the ocean through the pandanas trees that line the beach and private beach cove. Across the road from the property is a two bedroom self-contained holiday home that can sleep up to six people, perfect for a small family or a group of friends travelling together.  (Image courtesy of Cook Islands Tourism / Claire Wilson).

Tiare Cottages Mauke

Tiare Cottages is a budget property with three open plan units located on the coast in Kimiangatau Village. Each unit has its own shower and toilet, tea & coffee making facilities and bar fridge – guests share the communal kitchen and dining area. A short walk from the property will take you to a refreshing swimming spot on the beach. The Tipani and Tiare Cottages are the property’s lead-in rooms, simple but comfortable with a double bed. The Okiva Beachfront is a little more modern and is a short walk to the cliffside lookout with stunning views of the lagoon, ocean and horizon.

Island Tour of Mauke

The Island Tour with your local tour guide, takes you on a fascinating adventure to explore Maukes many hidden secrets. From the islands lush interiors, and their hidden freshwater caves, to the rugged coasts. You will visit many places of interest, including sites of historical significance. Throughout the tour you will not only discover what makes Mauke unique to its sister islands, but also what connects them. You will appreciate the stories and history shared, the culture and traditions still practised today, and most importantly the slow paced island life the locals sustainably live, enjoy and value. (Image courtesy of Cook Islands Tourism / Claire Wilson).

Mauke Package

Your 2 night Mauke package starts from $962*pp twin share and $895* per child under 12.  The package includes:
• Return Airfares (Rarotonga/Mauke/Rarotonga)
• 2 Nights Accommodation
• Return Airport Transfers in Mauke
• Daily Breakfast & Dinner at Ri’s Retreat & Ri’s Hideaway
• Daily Dinner only at Tiare Holiday Cottages
• Island Tour of Mauke with light refreshments

Fine Travel can also arrange your airfares to Rarotonga and pre and post accommodation on Rarotonga.



Mitiaro Village

Mitiaro, traditionally known as Nukuroa, is one of the three islands of the ’Nga-Pu-Toru’ – with Mauke, approx. 45 kilometres northwest and Atiu, approx. 82.3 kilometres southeast of Mauke. Like Mangaia, it is encircled by a band of Makatea (raised coral) with a fertile interior. Mitiaro is renowned for its fresh water twin lakes in the centre of the island, home to the Itiki (eel) a local delicacy, its limestone caves with fresh water pools, the Pritchardia Mitiaroana — a variety of Fan Palm native to Mitiaro, and the beautifully woven baskets the local women craft from the leaves of Pandanus trees. (Image courtesy of Cook Islands Tourism / Tayla Beddoes).

Accommodation on Mitiaro

Divine Retreat is a new, modern holiday home located in the main village, approximately 5-minutes from the airport. Divine Retreat is owned by Junior and Cindy Abraham—your hospitable hosts who live on-site and will ensure your stay with them is most memorable.

Accommodation options at the retreat include two Double Bed-rooms—these rooms share a toilet and shower and are located within the house. There is also a Honeymoon Suite with its own private ensuite with shower and toilet. This room is accessed from the veranda. Devine Retreat Bedroom Mitiaro

Currently being built on-site are two separate Self Contained studio units. These are near completion. Facilities at Divine Retreat include a fully equipped modern kitchen, self laundry facilities, a spacious veranda with a large dining table, and outdoor lounge suites for guests to relax and mix and mingle.

Tour of Mitiaro

The Island Tour takes you to a number of fascinating sites around the island including the twin lakes Te Rotonui & Te Rotoiti, the lakes which Mitiaro is mostly renowned for and is home to the Itiki (eel) a local delicacy, and the Silapia (milk fish) which was introduced in the early 1970s by the Ministry of Agriculture. Between these two lakes, they make up a large part of Mitiaro. (Image courtesy of Cook Islands Tourism / Tayla Beddoes).

Mitiaro is also known for its fresh water limestone caves, Vai Nauri being one of the popular swimming caves for the locals and visitors alike. Vai Marere is a Sulphuric water cave, said to have healing properties and known to cure a number of diseases including rash, chicken pox, and eye disease. Both these caves are easily accessed with steps and railings to assist one with getting down into the water. Vai Tamaroa is a 20-minute trek over sharp makatea (coral), and sturdy footwear is definitely required for this trek. This walk is not recommended for those with walking issues.

Your tour will also take you to the Community Hall where your tour guide will explain the history of the island. You will also have the opportunity to purchase some locally-made arts & crafts made by the local mamas including woven baskets made from pandanus leaves, and hand sewn bedspreads known as Tivaevae made by the local mamas.

Mitiaro Package

The 2 night Mitiaro package starts from $1,098*pp twin share and $829* per child under 12.  The package includes:
• Return Airfares (Rarotonga / Mitiaro / Rarotonga)
• 2 Nights Accommodation at Divine Retreat
• Return Airport Transfers in Mitiaro
• Daily Breakfast & Dinner
• Island Tour of Mitiaro with light refreshments

Fine Travel can also arrange your airfares to Rarotonga and pre and post accommodation on Rarotonga.



Mangaia village farm

Mangaia, traditionally known at Au’au Enua, is located 203 kilometres Southeast of Rarotonga and is estimated to be 18 million years old. The island is especially known for its surrounding band of makatea (raised coral cliffs), as well as its sunken interior plateau, lush wetlands, hidden caves, golden shells, and stone carvings. Mangaia is a natural wonderland of discovery and adventure. This package to Mangaia allows you to experience this unspoiled island of the southern group, its unique natural beauty and the authenticity of its history, culture and people. (Image courtesy of Cook Islands Tourism / Feena-Syme-Buchanon).

Accommodation on Mangaia

Babes Place (above) is located in Oneroa Village, a small budget but well kept property with four basic units, and two double rooms in the main house—where the communal kitchen, shared lounge and laundry facilities are.  Each of the four units are equipped with a double and single bed, pedestal or wall fan, and a private bathroom with toilet and shower. The two bedrooms in the main house are spacious, each with a double bed and additional double or single bed, large open windows, a dresser and fan. These rooms share a toilet and shower.

Babes Place Mangaia bedroom

A few feet from the doorstep of the units is a large communal hut with tables and chairs where guests can relax, mix and mingle with other guests.
Babes Place is conveniently located only a few minutes walk to the main town area where you will find the marketplace, grocery stores, and the local bank.

Mangaia Villas

Mangaia Villas (above) is perched on a secluded pocket of ancient rock on the north-western coast of Mangaia. A modern property with six Oceanfront Villas boasting local and contemporary design. Each Villa is furnished with the conveniences of home including a well-equipped kitchen, comfortable bedding, full mosquito screens, large lounge and dining area, ceiling fans, and an outdoor veranda to enjoy the panoramic views of the ocean, evening sunsets, and whale watching during whale season (July to October).

Mangaia Villas bedroom

The property is less than a 5-minute drive to the main town area, market place, grocery stores and petrol station. The direct access to the beach from the property via a stairway, has your feet sinking into white sand. A few minutes walk from the property takes you to the wharf where many of the locals like to swim. Across the road from the wharf is the Mangaia Fishing Club.

Tour of Mangaia

The Island Tour is a great way to explore this ancient natural wonderland, and discover its unique interior and coastal landscapes. Your tour guides will share with you, the fascinating history, and many myths and legends that have long been passed down from generation to generation.

This tour takes you from the main Village of Oneroa, through to the only other two villages on the island—Ivirua and Tamarua. Meeting locals along the way and learning their way of life. You will see plantations, hidden beaches, rugged coral cliffs, and enjoy learning the process of the arts and crafts unique to Mangaia.

Mangaia Package

The 3 night Mangaia package starts from $702*pp twin share and from $502* per child under 12.  This package includes:
• Return Airfares (Rarotonga/Mangaia/Rarotonga)
• 3 Nights Accommodation
• Return Airport Transfers in Mangaia
• Daily Breakfast and Dinner at Babes Place
• Daily Breakfast at Mangaia Villas
• Island Tour of Mangaia with light refreshments

Fine Travel can also arrange your airfares to Rarotonga and pre and post accommodation on Rarotonga.


*Terms and conditions apply and will be provided on request.  Packages are from travel between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022 and are subject to availability.

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