The Cook Islands is a gorgeous necklace of 15 idyllic islands set in the South Pacific Ocean. Most resorts here are situated on the main island of Rarotonga which is a round volcanic island, almost completely surrounded by a reef enclosing a clear turquoise lagoon and safe white sandy beaches.
Historians believe that the first settlers arrived in the islands about 2400 years ago, with Rarotonga itself being settled about 1500 years ago. Although the origins of the Polynesian peoples are still unclear, it is believed that the indigenous Cook Islanders originally migrated from Asia during the great Polynesian migration.
Spanish explorers mentioned this area in their journals in the late 1500s, but it wasn’t until after Captain James Cook landed about 150 years later that the area received the name they are known by today. Christian missionaries had a big influence on their society during the 1800s, creating rules and regulations and a Christian heritage that is still very strong in the islands today.
They were made a British protectorate in 1888 and became a New Zealand dependency in 1901. Since 1961, it has been a self governing state, although defence and foreign policy for the islands are still controlled by New Zealand and Cook Island people have New Zealand citizenship. In fact, there are more Cook Islanders living in New Zealand than in the Cook Islands. Much of the travel between the two countries consists of family members travelling between the two places to visit their friends and loved ones.
International tourism has developed over recent decades, with resorts becoming a popular destination for travellers from all around the world. Tourism is a major income earner for this small nation, with visitors enjoying the fabulous tropical climate, friendly people and relaxing atmosphere.
Rarotonga is the home of many resorts, all situated along the ring road named Ara Tapu that circles the island. Visitors arrive at the airport in Avarua and travel by bus or car along the ring road to their various resort destinations. Rarotonga is the perfect place to enjoy a tranquil family holiday, a luxury honeymoon or a well earned vacation for a group of friends. These days many couples also choose one of the fabulous Cook Island resorts for their wedding celebrations.
A holiday in the Cook Islands is a great way to rest and rejuvenate after a busy year. It’s also a wonderful place to reconnect with family members, share romantic moments with a loved one and celebrate a special occasion.