Destination Pacific: Five things that will make you want to visit the Cook Islands

Why the Cook Islands should be on your post-bubble travel list.
Why the Cook Islands should be on your post-bubble travel list. Photo credit: Getty

Despite its long connection with Aotearoa, the Cook Islands, or Kūki 'Āirani as it is called in Cook Islands Māori, most of us haven't set foot on any of the 15 islands that make up the country. 

Taking less than four hours to get to by air, it's not that much further than Sydney, offering the exact opposite of a busy New South Wales getaway.

Here's why you should be adding the Cook Islands to your post-bubble travel list.

Aitutaki Lagoon

Little tropical island (Motu Maina, that means "Sunset Island" in Maori local language), bording the gorgeous Aitutaki lagoon, in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean. Picture taken from a moving boat (blurred foreground).
Photo credit: Getty

If you don't know it by name, you'll know it by picture.  Images from the spectacular location are often what you'll see when you google "tropical island" or "paradise," and it's easy to see why!

Popular with those after a bit of romance, Aitutaki has been quite a popular honeymoon destination. 

You can do as little or as much as you like here. There's plenty of things to do on the water, or you can just chill on the sand.

Te Rua Manga (The Needle)

Beautiful view from The Needle, overlooking volcanic peaks in the middle of Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
Photo credit: Getty

Te Rua Manga or The Needle is a mountain on the island of Rarotonga. 

It reaches a height of 413 metres, and there's a walking track to the base of the rocky spire. 

TripAdvisor user Jessijay333, said her and a companion hiked up to the needle and found it "relatively easy," but did have a warning.

"It is a steep incline in humid conditions and no set path so you will be climbing up tree roots and rocks along the way. Need to use the installed ropes and chains to get up the final part but it isn't as scary as it looks! It is absolutely worth it for the view at the end,:" the user said.

Discover Marine and Wildlife Eco Centre

Destination Pacific: Five things that will make you want to visit the Cook Islands

If you want to learn about the wildlife of the Cook Islands, but don't have the time, firstly, slow down and chill, you're on holiday. Secondly, head to the Discover Marine Wildlife Eco Centre where you can see and learn about the birds, sea life and even the creepy crawlies of the Cook Islands.

The experience has been given 4.5 stars on TripAdvisor.

"Visited the centre during a tropical deluge and found plenty to occupy us. We loved the timeline of the shipwrecks and the fascinating stories behind them," one user said in a  review.

Aitutaki Lagoon Private Island Resort

Destination Pacific: Five things that will make you want to visit the Cook Islands

Just looking at the websites for this resort can make you relax. The private island resort is the only one with the quintessentially romantic overwater bungalows on Aitutaki.

The hotel also offers a range of experiences from snorkeling to water sports. But an experience at the resort you should definitely try is drinking one of their signature cocktails.

Pacific Resort Rarotonga

Destination Pacific: Five things that will make you want to visit the Cook Islands

Located on nearly six acres of perfect sandy beaches, this boutique resort has a long list of returning guests.

With just 64-rooms, suites and villas, you know you're going to get top level service.

Their restaurant is named Sandals for a reason. It's like a fine dining picnic in the sand.

Alongside that the Barefoot Bar. Most bars would turn you away if you weren't wearing shoes, but here it's the opposite.

What are your Cook Islands recommendations? Let us know in our Newshub Travel Facebook Group.