The Cook Islands are "hidden" in a vast expanse of the South Pacific ocean roughly 3,000 kms (1,867 miles) north east of New Zealand and 4,725 kms (2,936 miles) south of Hawaii. The country is actually 15 separate islands...nine in the Southern Group and six in the Northern Group, and they're defined geographically as between 156-167° West and 8-23° South.
Two of the islands - Takutea and Manuae - are uninhabited
They're spread across 2.2 million square kilometres (nearly 850,000 square miles) of water, which is is an area slightly bigger than Indonesia or Mexico and nearly three times the size of Texas! And the whole of those territorial waters are also the world's largest designated whale and shark sanctuary. 1,433 kms (891 miles) separates the most northerly island (Penrhyn) from the most southerly (Mangaia)
Each island is unique...many have stunning lagoons and Aitutaki is listed in several books as one of the places everyone should see before they die! Its lagoon is so vividly blue you'd think it had been painted that colour. By law, no building on any island is taller than the tallest palm tree - and there are plenty of those. The sand is white; if you venture to the outer islands, the only footprints in it could be yours. And life moves at the sort of pace the rest of the world has forgotten.
How one writer described the islands (and the title of my new book about them)
If you're after an action packed time where everything is packaged and priced, forget it! I can't do better than to quote the words of the man whose book* inspired my passion for this paradise. And despite inexorable changes on Rarotonga, they are still as true today as when they were written over 40 years ago...
"You create your own mixture of tropical life. White beaches. Lagoon swimmming. Unsmogged skies. Moonlight on palm trees. Make up your own magic"
* How To Get Lost and Found in the Cook Islands, by John W. McDermott Waikiki Publishing Company, 1979
This is the ONLY TOTALLY INDEPENDENT GUIDE ON THE INTERNET to each of the 15 islands...how to get to the Islands in the first place, what to see and what makes each special. There's also a few ideas on what to take home to remind you of paradise.
Some of the Islands' young residents share their thoughts on their beautiful homeland. I've created some short video guides you can watch and selected some of the best from YouTube. And if you want to know what others think about the islands you can read some of the best articles from journalists around the world. There are also answers to frequently asked questions, a list of the top 10 things to do and some "did you know?" facts
If you've got specific questions, please feel free to email me and I'll try to help you (note that I do not arrange travel or accommodation)
OK, so you'd rather be in the Cook Islands than on the internet looking at stuff about them. If you're pushed for time and want to get an idea of why I've been having a love affair with this remote South Pacific paradise and hope you'll want to share that love, how about taking a 10 minute tour? Look out for this icon. By clicking on it each time you see it on a page, you'll be directed to another page and together those pages will give you a overview.START A 10 MINUTE TOUR BY CLICKING HERE