Cook Islands Travel Guide

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Cook Islands Information

Population: 17 000

Time Zone: GMT/UTC –10hours

Driving side: Drivers drive on the left hand side of the road.

Languages: Cook Island Maoris, English

Religion: Predominantly Christian

Emergency #: Police: 999
Ambulance: 998
Fire: 996

Cook Islands Culture

The vast majority of the population are of pure Polynesian descent. In culture, language and appearance they are closely akin to the Tahitians and Maoris of New Zealand.

They put great emphasis on family life which encompasses many extended family members and no one ever goes without a meal or a roof over their heads.

Cook Islands Popular Destinations

Raratonga The main island within a group, this is where most of the population live. It is more developed than any of the other islands, is home to the capital, Avarua, the international airport, many hotels, restaurants and bars.

Aitutaki - Another island paradise offering modern holiday resorts, lovely beaches, snorkelling, swimming and fishing. Surrounded by a large, shallow lagoon it is fast developing into one of the South Pacific's hottest destinations.

Arai-Te-Tonga - This is one of the most sacred spots on the main island. The investiture of high chiefs took place here with much pomp and ceremony and offerings to the gods were presented. These temples are still held in awe by many of the locals and the correct respect must be shown when visiting the site.

Cook Islands Beaches

This magnificent stretch of white sand stretches for 8 miles around the southeast corner of Rarotonga. The best boating is done in the crystal clear lagoon.

Moving Around Cook Islands

Getting around the islands is easy. Explore by bus, car, moped or bicycle on the larger islands and stick to mopeds and bicycles on the smaller islands. One has to obtain a moped licence in Avarua before you can rent one, but this is both easy and inexpensive.

National festival and holidays

Tiare Flower Festival - Held in November or December, this is a good time to visit as most of the flowers are in bloom and are being shown off.

Anzac Day - April 25th is when the Cook Islanders killed in the two World Wars are honoured with parades and church services.

Dancer of the Year Contest - Beginning in mid April, villages from all over the country send their young people to enter this great traditional dancing competition.

Constitution Week/Cultural Festival Week - Parades and sporting events take place on the 4th August to honour the attaining of self government.

Gospel Day - On the last Sunday of October this day honours the arrival of the first missionaries and features outdoor religious plays.

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