12 TOP-RATED TOURIST ATTRACTIONS IN THE COOK ISLANDS
The Cook Islands ooze a warm and welcoming Polynesian hospitality likewise its pricier cousin. You can get a dramatic experience of volcanic peaks, translucent turquoise lagoons and palm-fringed beaches all in an affordable price. You can call the Cook Islands a castaway’s dream. The islands have string ties with New Zealand. Raratonga and Aitutaki being the main tourist magnets, the other remote islands also attract pearl farmers, adventurers and real-life Robinson Crusoes. The visible tip of Raratonga is the largest of the Cool Islands. Avarua being the friendly capital of the Cook Islands is the cultural and commercial center. The most famous products here are black pearls and local perfumes. On the outside of the island you will find a coral reefs ring surrounding a narrow lagoon offering swimming and snorkeling opportunities. While on the interior lies coconut palms, papaya, coffee and bananas plants.
The main tourist attraction is the perfect Aitutaki Lagoon with turquoise water. There are almost twenty-one small islands surrounding the lagoon which can be visited on cruises or tours. The best way to explore these tiny islets is Kayaking. Excellent snorkeling opportunities is offered by the small island Maina, situated in the southwestern corner of the lagoon. It is also a house to a beautiful sandbar also known as ‘Honeymoon Island’.
Tapuaetai (One Foot Island)
One Foot Island also known as Tapuaetai, is a tourist attraction fringed by curving coconut palms. It is the most visited tourist attraction as it is worthy of people’s wildest tropical fantasies. Basking on the white sand, snorkeling in the turquoise lagoon are some of the activities which beach-lovers do on this Cook Island. You can even get your passports stamped at the tiny post office.
One of the most popular of the tourist attractions Muri Beach is on the southeast coast of Rarotonga. Sometimes called as Muri Lagoon, it is the most picturesque beaches on the Cook Islands. Snorkelers are able to see coral and many other tropical species, and crystal clear shallows stretch into dreamy shades of aquamarine. The beauty of the area is enhanced by the four offshore islets also, called motu, shimmering on the horizon. Feeling hungry after a day in the sun, no need to worry because there are many dining options in the nearby resorts and restaurants.
Titikaveka Beach is one of the tourist attractions best for swimming and snorkeling. Situated on the southwest coast of Rarotonga. A surfeit of marine life around the coral heads can be found for snorkeling, blue sea stars spots the lagoon. You just need to stand in the lagoon to spot colorful fish as the water is so clear. Dating back to 1841, the coral stone Cook Islands Christian Church is visited by the sightseers. The beach is also great for kayaking.
A small village on the west side of the island, Arorangi is considered as a tourist attraction for its beautiful beach where you can bask on a sunny day and watch the sunset which is just mesmerizing. It is also the first missionary village on Rarotonga. The sightseers can visit the Papeiha, a monument, and also the Cook IslandChristian Church dating from 1849.
Cross Island Walk (The Needle)
It is considered as a tourist attraction for it is a great way to explore Rarotonga’s lush scenery. The cross-island walk extends from north coast up to the pinnacle rock Te Rua Manga followed by Wigmore’s Falls to the south coast. The Wigmore’s Falls looks beautiful after a heavy rain. A total of four hours are taken to complete the hike, starting from the dense forest to the base of ‘the Needle’, a steep bald rock. Hikers do enjoy the beautiful view of the coast and surrounding forest from the base of the Needle.
Avarua is the capital of the Cook Islands. This little town is situated on the north coast of Rarotonga and has a friendly feel. The visitors are fascinated by the shops, restaurants and other tourist attractions. The famous Cook IslandLibrary and Museum is a home to rarest of the Pacific books and the museum gives a glimpse of the cultural history. The vibrant Punanga Nui Outdoor Market is a must to visit on Saturday mornings, the stalls of which are full of mangoes, pineapples, passionfruit, and tropical flowers, clothes and crafts as well. The perfume factory at the South of Avarua, sells colognes and perfumes with local flowers. To give a traditional island, the Cook Islands Cultural Village encompasses five acres of lush tropical gardens. Visitors enjoy coconut husking, fishing, cooking, weaving, dancing and carving.
Aroa Marine Reserve
The clear water of the Aroa Marine Reserve is outstanding for snorkeling. This tourist attraction is sheltered by the outlying reef on Rarotonga’s west coast. Amongst some of the species found here are Moorish idols, Parrot fish, wrasse and angelfish. The lagoons has motorized boats making swimming and snorkeling with small children safe. Visitors tend to relax and watch the sunset from the beautiful beach.
It is considered as the sleepy tourist attraction and the main settlement on Aitutaki, dotted with mango trees and hibiscus flowers. A few craft stores and a quiet harbor are the main tourist attractions. The Cook Islands Christian Church is the oldest in the Cook Islands, built in 1828, with stained glass windows and colorful wooden accents.
The highest tourist attraction is the Maungapu, at 124 m, a 30 minute hike to the top. From there you can get a look of the spectacular lagoon and lush, palm-studded landscape. It is advisable to bring plenty of water, a camera and an insect repellent.
Avana Harbour, situated on the north of Muri Beach, is a popular tourist attraction for yachts. In 14th century, Maori launched their twin hulled canoes to New Zealand from Avana Harbour. The visitors often refrain from swimming here as the site has the historical significance.