viewers should know Aitutaki well the coral atoll in the Cook Islands is way up there on Catriona Rowntree's list of favourite places. She dreamed about it being her honeymoon destination even before she met her new husband, James Pettit, and last year, all her dreams came true.
Aitutaki is a 50-minute flight from Rarotonga, the capital of the Cook Islands, and sits on the most beautiful turquoise lagoon. It's honeymoon heaven, and if you want to really splurge, the Royal Honeymoon Villa at the Aitutaki Lagoon Resort is top of the line. It's a secluded place of your very own with indoor and outdoor showers, day bed, spa, dining area and plunge pool.
When couples plan their honeymoon, understandably it's all about being alone and romantic, but there's something about Aitutaki that lures them from their love nest to enjoy some of the activities. It's fun to learn to hula, strum the ukulele, make a lei or even prepare the delicious local dishes using fish and fresh coconut. There are also fishing, snorkelling and diving expeditions as well as lagoon cruises.
Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa
The couple bagged the most wonderful location, directly on the lagoon with jaw-dropping views. It has long beaches with fine sand, lined, of course, with elegant coconut palms. Gardens are filled with fragrant frangipani and bougainvillea bursting with colour.
Intimate Polynesian-style bungalows are well-spaced for privacy and there are several to choose from. Garden bungalows nestled in coconut groves have king-sized beds, air-conditioning, and a sundeck with furniture.
Beachfront bungalows sit on the white sands of Motu Akitua and look across the waters of the O'otu (full moon) Channel.
Deluxe beachfront bungalows have absolute beachfront with super-king-sized beds on raised platforms giving views across the sitting area towards the lagoon.
Overwater bungalows have thatched roofs, pandanus-lined walls, open-air shower, super-king-sized beds, sliding doors to a verandah with steps leading right into the water.
Romantic candlelit dinners and cocktails and a health and fitness centre are all there for further indulgence and relaxation.
If you plan to tie the knot after you arrive, Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa has several wedding packages worth looking at. It would be a challenge to find a more beautiful location than the Cook Islands
Pacific Resort is Aitutaki's only five-star resort. It has just 27 absolute beachfront villas and is both luxurious and private. On one side is the azure Pacific and the other side is volcanic rock formations. It covers 7.5 hectares of gardens. Villas have super-king-sized beds, luxurious Bulgari products in the bathroom and private decks.
Beachfront villas are split-level, perched on black volcanic rock. They have private outdoor garden bathrooms and separate bedroom and sitting room.
Beachfront suites are individual buildings nestled on the beach, surrounded by tropical flower gardens. They have beach showers, indoor and outdoor day beds, sundecks and garden bathroom.
Beachfront bungalows have sundecks and it's only s steps to the sand. Indoor and outdoor daybeds, king beds and ceiling fans.
All guests also have use of kayaks, pedal boats and snorkelling equipment for exploring the lagoon directly from the resort's beach.
They have wedding and honeymoon packages so streamlined all the fuss is taken out of the planning. Imagine picnics on a private island, sunset lagoon cruises, and romantic dinners all arranged. A wedding co-ordinator will take care of the license, celebrant, flowers and everything you wish for to make the big event special and memorable.
Aitutaki in the Cook Islands.
Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa overwater bungalows are priced from around $880 per person a night twin share. Royal Honeymoon Villas start at $1115 a night. Tropical breakfast, snorkelling, kayaking, outrigger canoeing, windsurfing, bicycles, ukulele, dancing and lei-making lessons are included.
Air New Zealand has flights to Rarotonga via Auckland and Christchurch.
One-way fares from:
- Melbourne $472
- Brisbane $482
- Sydney $487
- Adelaide $590
- Cairns $740
- Perth $835
Valid for travel until March 31, 2010.
Air Rarotonga has daily flights between Rarotonga and Aitutaki starting at $390 return.
Prices correct at April 23, 2009.
For further information
Air New Zealand
The Aitutaki Lagoon Resort and Spa
Ph: +682 31203
Fax: +682 31202
Pacific Resort Aitutaki
Ph: +682 31 720
Visas: Visas are not required for tourism visits of up to 31 days. Visas for business visits can be issued on arrival. Passports must be valid for the duration of the stay.
Electricity: 240V/50Hz using the same three-pin plugs as used in Australia.
Time zone: GMT -10.
Currency: The New Zealand dollar.
Telephone code: +682.