Sunday, August 5, 2007

Cook Islands

The Cook Islands is , for many, the quintessential romantic island destination. A honeymoon at The Cook Islands will include romantic moments spent at heavenly beaches, basking in the sum and swimming in warm, clear lagoons. If your image of the perfect romantic getaway, honeymoon, or couple's holiday has always been one that includes gorgeous beaches and palm fronds swishing in the breeze, then the Cook Islands might be what you have been seeking. Many a couple have not only chosen a Cook Islands honeymoon, but also decided to get married with a Destination Wedding at The Cook Islands. The Cook Islands are situated 2,200 miles northeast of New Zealand and 600 miles southwest of Tahiti in the South Pacific, forming part of Polynesia. The islands fall into two groups: the scattered Northern Group are all coral atolls while the Southern Group is of volcanic origin. Most of the larger islands include lagoons surrounded by small areas of fertile land above which rise volcanic hills. Unsurprisingly, given their beauty, the Cook Islands have been used as the setting for several films, the best known being Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence.

There are 15 islands altogether – here is some information about the most popular, the most unusual and the least populated. Rarotonga - This is the capital of the Cooks with the highest population at 12,000 people. Tall lush peaks are surrounded by breathtaking beaches, a stunning clear lagoon and encircling coral reef. The main town of Avarua is on the north side of the island, and has many cafes and souvenir shops with a great array of gifts like pareu (sarongs), carvings, the famous black pearls and local art work. There is a main road encompassing the whole island, making it easy to get around and explore the other villages, and visit the many beaches on the western side of the island to watch the glorious sunset whilst sipping a happy hour cocktail. Aitutaki –Its said to be one of the most beautiful lagoons in the world, and reachable by a 50 minute plane trip with Air Rarotonga.
The other 13 islands are beautiful, and more remote with fewer tourists. You can reach some by plane from Rarotonga, the rest by boat and are well worth a visit if you have plenty of time. The outer islands include Atiu, a raised coral island 133 miles from Raro, famous for its caves which house the Kopeka bird, a swallow unique to Atui. Suwarrow, which is inhabited only by a caretaker and his family, is considered a sanctuary for many endangered species, especially sea birds, and is also steeped in history of buried treasure. Palmerston is an unusual gem in the South Pacific. Settled in 1863 by Englishman William Marsters with his three Cook Islands wives, he and his descendents have populated this small group of motus. It is said that the locals still talk with a Gloucestershire twang!
On Rarotonga, we enjoy a slow pace of life, so if you're looking for a stressful trip, don't comehere! Apart from just relaxing, lying on the palm fringed beaches, there are, however, a wide range of other things to do. If you're a bit of a night-owl, there’s plenty of fun to be had! Dancing is an important part of Cook Islands culture, and a visit to an Island Night is a must while you are here. You'll be amazed by the energetic drumming and vibrant exotic dancing in the unforgettable shows. If you just want to party, there are plenty of bars in which to try the local beer.