Island time – Cook Islands

Escape to the Cook Islands – Now is the time to relax in true paradise.

From the sandy shores of Rarotonga to the clear water of Aitutaki, now’s the time to refresh yourself in the Cook Islands. Rarotonga is the  Cook Island’s capital of its 15 islands. Famous for it’s dramatic volcanic mountain peaks and blue lagoon waters surrounding the Island. It’s  only a wonder why anyone would choose another destination.

If you’re looking for rest and relaxation, family fun, activity or adventure … you’ll find it all here!

Travel Tips

Currencies: New Zealand dollar / Cook Islands dollar
Time Zone: Cook Islands is 20 hours behind Australia according to Australian Eastern Standard Time There is no daylight savings in Cook  Islands.

Best time to visit Rarotonga

There’s no such thing as a right or wrong time to visit Rarotonga. The average daily high temperature only varies about three degrees – the difference between 28°C in January and 25°C in July. While it does rain a little more between November to April, typical Rarotonga weather delivers an average of eight sunshine hours a day.

How to get there

Air New Zealand and Jetstar operate flights to Rarotonga from different ports throughout the country multiple days a week. For full details of any visa or vaccination requirements, visit Call The Raratongan from Australia tollfree on 1800 272 768.

The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Lagoonarium

Make Wonderful Family Holiday Memories Voted Best Pacific Island Resort!

The Cook Islands’ most family-friendly beach resort, The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Lagoonarium, is regularly voted Best Pacific Island  resort for families in annual Readers’ Choice Awards such as those run by Holidays with Kids and Out & About with Kids.

The Rarotongan is renowned for its relaxed island beach resort vibe making it a favourite with families of all ages and sizes. Right now the  resort is offering Kids Eat Free in addition to their popular Kids Stay & Play Free (to age 11) and Teens Stay Free (ages 12-16).

The Moko Kids Club is renowned as one of the best in the South Pacific and there’s also a Games Room and Daily Activities Programme  along with a wide range of free activities including stand-up paddle-boarding, kayaking, tennis and gym.

But the stand-out is the amazing snorkelling in your own underwater wonderland, Aroa Lagoonarium Marine Sanctuary, getting up close and personal with the friendly, iridescent tropical fishes.

Snorkel the Lagoonarium

The ”Lagoonarium” in the resort name refers to the amazing Aroa Lagoonarium Marine Sanctuary, located directly off The Rarotongan’s  secluded white sandy beach. Most areas around Rarotonga are very tidal, making them too shallow to swim in at low tide. However Aroa  Lagoonarium is special in that it is typically neither too shallow nor too deep, making it possible for guests to snorkel, paddleboard or kayak there at most any tide.

Children will delight in making friends with the beautiful rainbow-coloured tropical fishes such as sunset wrasses, butterfly fish, angelfish, parrotfish and squirrel fish while in the clear warm lagoon.

If your child is not a confident swimmer, they can don a snorkel and simply stand in the water to still have an awesome experience connecting with wild marine life. Or they can join the Resort’s friendly Activities Team for the daily fish feeding near the water’s edge. Just  incredible. Either way they will be making special lifelong memories.

Aroa Lagoonarium is considered Rarotonga’s best snorkelling area because of the blend of features which make it unique. The marine sanctuary, known as a Rau’i in Cook Islands Maori, is located right alongside the resort’s Aroa Beach. This is a stretch of beautiful white  sand, in contrast to many of the beaches around the island which have rough coral at the water’s edge. As well as offering a gradual gradient  from shallower to deeper which makes it attractive to a wide range of guests, the encircling reef shelters Aroa Lagoonarium from the open  ocean, making it an ideal protected environment for children. Large oceanic species such as sharks are not found in the lagoon.

The Lane Family are keen water babies and this was their experience: “For our last 3 nights in Rarotonga we stayed at The Rarotongan and it  was the bees knee’s. If you’re travelling to Raro stay here…we found this area to have the best swimming on the island of Rarotonga.”

Good Things Come Out At Night

The Rarotongan also runs regular Night Snorkelling Tours which welcome children aged 8 and over who can swim alongside a parent. This is  a wonderful opportunity to witness lagoon life after nightfall, including parrot fishes wrapped in their sleeping ‘cocoon’, octopus and other species active by night.

And whilst you’re out and about at night, take a look up, and marvel. Because of limited light pollution, Rarotonga offers one of the best dark  sky experiences anywhere. The Southern Hemisphere claims the three brightest stars of the night sky: Sirius the Dog Star, one of the closest  stars to Solar System, Canopus and Alpha Centauri. Constellations like Sagittarius and Scorpius are best seen in the Southern Hemisphere.

Views of the Milky Way tend to be brighter and have more clear contrast between stars and dust clouds when viewed from southern dark sky locations such as Rarotonga. So lie back on one of the loungers or make a ‘sand angel’ on the beach, watch the sun go down (here at The  Rarotongan you’re on the sunset side of the island), relax and make wonderful new family memories together.

New Multi-million Dollar Upgrade

The Rarotongan has recently undergone a new multi-million dollar upgrade including new bathrooms, Reception, 24/7 Gift Shop, Games Room and much more.

As part of this major work the resort has just launched new 3- and 4-bedroom Beachside and Beachfront Interconnecting Family Suites, enabling families to enjoy separate bedrooms, separate bathrooms, separate TVs, separate mini-bar fridges and separate microwaves. This is  in addition to the resort’s very popular two spacious 3-Bedroom Private Pool Villas each with ensuite bathrooms, kitchen, sitting, dining,  games area, and laundry. Other categories include Beachside Rooms, Beachfront Rooms, Deluxe Beachside Suites, Deluxe Beachfront Suites, a Honeymoon Pool Bungalow and self-catering 2-Bedroom Beachside Suites and Grand Beachfront Suites.

The wide range of accommodation options along with the prime beach and lagoon location, free kids club, restaurant & bar, large swimming  pool and extensive free activities make this the ideal great-value family-friendly resort for your next South Seas family getaway, for families  of any size. And if there’s anyone in the family who prefers staying adults-only (perhaps the grandparents?), The Rarotongan Beach Resort &  Lagoonarium even has a beautiful boutique sister resort right next door for guests aged 16 and over, Sanctuary Rarotonga-on the beach.

The Cook Islands is now open to all children aged 4 and under (unvaccinated) as well as travellers from Australia aged 5 and over who are  vaccinated against covid.