Kia Orana and welcome to the Cook Islands! With modern standards, comfortable weather and plenty of ways to thrill your senses, your holiday in the Cook Islands will be one for the ages. Spanning across a distance of the South Pacific roughly the size of Western Europe, we’ll focus our attention on the more accessible southern group of islands. Here’s a sample 10 days in the Cook Islands itinerary, taking you to three islands and striking a balance between adventure and relaxation.
I spent nearly a month in the Cook Islands while backpacking across the South Pacific Islands. I highly recommend renting your own vehicle while on the islands. Prices in Rarotonga and Aitutaki are extremely affordable, granting you the ultimate degree of freedom.
Traveling to the Cook Islands? Start planning with The Cook Islands Travel Guide!
Part I: 5 Days In Rarotonga
You’ll spend the better part of your 10 days in the Cook Islands on the pleasure island of Rarotonga. You can do here as much or as little as you want, but there are plenty of ways to keep you busy.
Spend your first day exploring the main town of Avarua, its beautiful church, and laid back vibe. You’ll then go for some snorkeling at the black rocks beach, before circling the compact island on a mini road trip.
Your second day will be spent in and around the Muri Lagoon, one of the most popular spots on Rarotonga and not without reason. Go for a morning massage at the award-winning Rumours Waterfall Spa, find your spot on Muri Beach, or perhaps do some aqua exercise in the lagoon on a standup paddleboard or kitesurf. For lunch, the Mooring Fish Cafe is not too far away in historic Avana Harbor. In the evening, head to Te Vara Nui Village for a spectacular overwater island night show and buffet dinner. This is one of the things you do not want to miss in Rarotonga.
On day three, go for a bit of hiking. The Cross Island Track will take you from the north part of the island down to the south, offering you the chance to experience the island’s uninhabited interior, magnificent panoramic views from ‘The Needle’ and a refreshing conclusion at Wigmore’s Waterfall. After a bit of relaxing, head to the island’s ‘sunset side’ to watch the spectacular evening light show with a drink in your hand at the Shipwreck Hut.
On your fourth day, go scuba diving with Adventure Cook Islands. Rarotonga is one of the top diving destinations in the South Pacific, with excellent visibility and plenty of surprises lurking out of the deep blue. After all this effort, treat yourself to a romantic dinner in the Tamarind House – a restored colonial-style building serving delicious dishes with an island twist.
The last day on this first leg in Rarotonga can be spent just lazing on the beach and not doing much. Head to Titikaveka Beach, the best beach in Rarotonga. It’s that stereotypical dream tropical beach you’ve always envisioned, and you can admire the setting poolside at the Little Polynesian Resort with a sandwich and an ice-cold local Matutu Beer.