Travel tips

BOOKING ON-LINE

Of course you can do it! This site has been developed to make it easy for you. All the information you require and all the tools you need are right here…

We are based in Rarotonga and have over 25 years of experience within the Cook Islands travel and tourism industry. Our company won the 2016 Air New Zealand Tourism Award for Industry Support. We have selected the very best accommodation options available, with a style and taste to suit every budget. Every property we list is by invitation only, meets strict standards and is accredited by Tourism Cook Islands.

If you have never booked your holiday accommodation or travel on-line, you’ll find it easy and save dollars too, with everything you need right here including links to airlines, rental agencies, tour operators etc. You can do it all without leaving this website!

For tips and guide-lines regarding on-line booking please see the bottom of this page…

IMPORTANT NOTE

If you are travelling from New Zealand or Australia you will cross the INTERNATIONAL DATE-LINE. Therefore you are likely to arrive in Rarotonga the day before you leave. A typical example is Air New Zealand flight NZ46 leaving Auckland on Monday morning and arriving in Rarotonga Sunday afternoon. Similarly – on your return journey you will arrive one day later. i.e. depart Rarotonga Sunday and arrive Auckland Monday.

Those travelling from the USA or Tahiti are not affected, however for all travellers…

Always check your airline ticket for the arrival time of your flight in Rarotonga and book your accommodation accordingly.

MONEY MATTERS

The Cook Islands unit of currency is the New Zealand dollar, supplemented by notes and coinage minted for local use. The unique local coins and notes are not negotiable outside the Cook Islands, but are keenly sought by collectors worldwide.

There are two international banks in the Cook Islands, ANZ (Australia & New Zealand Bank) and BSP (Bank of the South Pacific). Both have branches in Avarua - Rarotonga’s downtown area. Both banks open Monday to Friday from 9am to 3pm. BSP also opens from 9am to 12pm on Saturdays. Both offer a currency exchange service.

ATM’s are conveniently located around Rarotonga, including one at the International Airport arrivals area. Aitutaki also has ATM facilities. EFTPOS is available at major hotels and stores. Western Union and Fexco have branches in Avarua (both located at Jetsave Travel) offering money exchange and transfers.

When travelling to our Outer Islands: You will find ATM facilities in Aitutaki. The southern group islands of Atiu, Mauke, Mitiaro and Mangaia have bank agencies (located in local stores) where you can use your card to obtain a limited amount of cash. We recommend taking cash with you to these islands and other islands further afield.

DRIVING

Vehicles are driven on the left hand side of the road. The maximum road speed limit is 30kmph in the town and villages and 50kmph outside of populated areas. Drivers of all vehicles are required to have a valid driver’s licence issued in their own country, or a current international driver’s licence. Your overseas license will only enable you to drive the same class of vehicle you are entitled to in your home country for a period of up to six months.

If you wish to hire a motor scooter and are not licensed to do so at home, you will need to obtain a Cook Islands License. You must pass a theory and practical test at Police Headquarters in Avarua. A total of $40 covers your license ($20) and the theory and practical test ($20). The wearing of safety helmets is compulsory for visitors who ride motor scooters in Rarotonga; this rule does not apply in our other islands.

KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH HOME

The international dialling code for the Cook Islands is 682. Local phone numbers have 5 digits only (i.e. 23456). Phone numbers on this website are shown thus: (+682)23456.

Mobile services, roaming, internet and fixed line calling services are available through Bluesky Cook Islands. Enjoy 3G mobile network services on Rarotonga and Aitutaki, and with over 300 Bluezone Wi-Fi hotspots located nationwide at all Bluesky outlets and various hotels, resorts, restaurants and shopping locations, Bluesky will keep you connected. Note that internet data costs are more expensive than home.

Visitors to the island can take advantage of the Bluesky Visitor Sim to keep in contact with home, at only $49 for 30min calling, 300 TXT and 3GB of data, this offers great value and can be purchased on arrival at the airport at the Bluesky booth, or at any Bluesky outlet in Rarotonga or Aitutaki.

For mail services, Cook Islands Post is open Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm. Colourful Cook Islands stamps make distinctive impressions on any letter or postcard and are keenly sought by philatelic enthusiasts.

MEDICAL SERVICES

Medical and dental services are available and there is a well-equipped hospital with New Zealand trained staff situated in Rarotonga, with a smaller hospital in Aitutaki. There are also well stocked pharmacies in Rarotonga, however if you have specialised medicines, be sure to bring sufficient with you for the duration of your stay. There are no poisonous animals or insects in the Cook Islands.

LANGUAGE

Cook Islands Maori is the local language but everyone also speaks English.

THE WEATHER

The Cook Islands enjoy a pleasantly warm and sunny climate all year round. June thru August are the cooler months, whilst December to March marks the warmer season, with occasional tropical showers expected. The drier months from April to November have an average temperature of about 26°C, whilst the warmer more humid and damp season runs from December to March. During this season the temperature ranges between 22°C (min) and 33°C (max).

WHAT TO WEAR

Although the dress code is informal, we do ask that brief attire not be worn when visiting town or villages. Nude or topless sunbathing will cause offence. A light sweater may come in handy for the cooler evenings.

TIPS & GUIDE-LINES FOR BOOKING ON-LINE

WHEN TO BOOK? As early as possible. Suitable accommodation on Rarotonga and Aitutaki can sometimes be hard to find, especially during the peak season from April to November. And you’ll probably get a better deal with airlines if you book well ahead of your planned holiday.

AIRLINES: We recommend that you book your air travel first. You will find links to all airlines who service the Cook Islands at the bottom of this page. Air New Zealand offers the most flights and also has a Fare Hold policy. Fare Hold allows you to select your flights and lock-in the price for up to 3 days. This can give you time to confirm accommodation details without having to worry about airfares going up in price. Confirm your flight within 3 days or let it lapse. There is a $25 non-refundable fee for this service, but it can be advantageous when confirming accommodation during busy periods.

ACCOMMODATION: There is an excellent choice of hand-picked accommodation options within the accommodation section on this site. All are accredited by Cook Islands Tourism Corporation. Thoroughly peruse the facilities and amenities available to see that they satisfy all your wishes. Be sure to check whether the property of choice offers airport transfers – if not you will need to arrange that yourself (for taxi or shuttle service see our Local Transport page). Make sure you are happy with and fully understand the payment and cancellation policy of your property of choice.

YOU GET THE BEST DEAL WHEN YOU BOOK THROUGH THIS SITE AS YOU ARE DEALING DIRECTLY WITH THE PROPERTY OF YOUR CHOICE

Ka Kite! And safe travels.



Our company won the coveted Tourism Industry Support Award for 2016-17
International date-line map
The New Zealand dollar is the official currency
Drive on the left side of the road
Keeping in touch with home is easy
A pleasantly warm and sunny tropical climate
ALL ACCOMMODATIONS & SERVICES SELECTED FOR THIS WEBSITE ARE ACCREDITED