Cook Islands Travel Information


The Cook Islands consists of 15 islands, located in the heart of the South Pacific and just a 4 hour flight from Auckland. The Cook Islands are divided into two groups, the Northern which is mainly volcanic and the Southern Group where ninety percent of the population resides.

The capital Avarua in Rarotonga is the commercial centre and main port of the Cook Islands. Bustling with activity this tropical town offers a variety of shops, restaurants and cafés and with various bars offering everything from live bands to dance music, the town has an enviable nightlife. Rarotonga, the main island is almost entirely surrounded by coral reef ensuring its protected beaches are idyllic and its accommodation is seldom far from its shores. Only 32 kilometres in circumference, it is extremely easy to discover this magical island whether it be on a famous scooter, the ‘island bus’, in a car or jeep. The choice is yours! As you get to know The Cook Islands you will be captivated by the friendliness and charm of its people, the lingering fragrance of frangipani and the relaxed pace to which you quickly become accustomed.

Also popular with travellers is the beautiful island of Aitutaki, famous for its turquoise lagoon, sandy white beaches and spectacular marine life. Just a 45 minute scenic flight from Rarotonga, you can do a day trip or better still – STAY! Like its famous black pearls, the Cook Islands possess a magic and beauty second to none.

Climate in The Cook Islands

A tropical maritime climate exists. Temperatures are warm and even year round. Being a group of islands, the weather can be changeable, but a shower is invariably followed by clear blue skies.
Departure Tax There is a NZ$55 per adult departure tax. Children under 12 years are exempt.


Not required by passport holders for stays up to 31 days. Visitors must have a return or onward ticket.


Tipping is not expected, however if you experience exceptional service a tip will be gratefully accepted.


New Zealand Dollar. This is supplemented by notes and coins minted for local use. ANZ and Westpac Banks are located on Rarotonga, in downtown Avarua and open 9.00am to 3.00pm, Monday – Friday. Westpac also has a branch in Aitutaki, open on Wednesdays and its Rarotonga Airport branch is open for all international flights. There are 10 ATM’s situated around Rarotonga and 2 in Aitutaki.

Medical Services

There are no special health problems and no poisonous animals or insects. There is a hospital in Rarotonga with New Zealand trained staff. The most common travellers complaint is coral scratches and attention to these is recommended.


The dress code is definitely “island style”. However brief clothing, suitable for the beach is not suitable for town or villages. A light sweater may come in handy for the cooler evenings during July and August.


Air Rarotonga flies regularly to the Northern and Southern group of the Cook Islands, with daily services to Aitutaki. On Rarotonga a bus service operates around the island daily. Single, daily and weekly tickets are available.

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Duty Free

There is no duty on personal effects and visitors may bring in 200 cigarettes or up to 250gms of tobacco, or up to 50 cigars, 2 litres of spirits or wine, or 4.5 litres of beer. Goods in excess of $250 are liable for duty.


The local language is Cook Islands Maori. English is also widely spoken.


Drinking Water

Water is safe to drink in Rarotonga, however it is advisable to boil it first. When travelling to outer islands, it is advisable to take bottled water or boil any required for drinking