It's no secret that Catriona Rowntree adores the Cook Islands. These days she is thinking of family holidays and went there to see what's in store for holidays with a little one in tow.
The Cook Islands are a collection of 15 islands in the centre of the Pacific. Rarotonga is the capital and it's the first port of call for many holiday-makers.
One road circles the 32km radius and if you are planning on renting a vehicle, you must pop into the police station to get yourself a licence. It's a simple a cheap formality and could save you some bother. Just remember to have your Australian licence with you.
Punanga Nui Market
A town's market is always a good place to get the feel of where you are. Punanga Nui Market is the biggest and opens every day except Sunday at 7am. Saturday is the busiest day. You will mix with locals and tourists buying up local produce, arts and crafts and traditional Cook Islander foods such as raw fish marinated in coconut. Delicious. Keep your eyes open for a must-have: local black pearl!
Self-catering accommodation is popular in the Cook Islands and there are plenty of supermarkets you can visit to stock up.
These two new villas are on Rarotonga's south-east coast in Titikaveka. They are absolute beachfront at the popular snorkelling spot, Fruits of Rarotonga. They are decked out to be your home away from home. They have two bedrooms, a modern kitchen, television and DVD player, and without having to leave the comfort of your villa, choose from local and international cuisine which will be delivered to your door.
You can also take advantage of the barbecue on the deck overlooking Tikioki Lagoon and enjoy the use of kayaks and snorkelling gear.
Villa Vacations manage Hawaiki and other properties in the Cook Islands. Check their website for other options. For more information, visit www.villavacations.co.ck.
Rarotonga in the Cook Islands.
Hawaiki Villas are around $255 a night based on double occupancy. There is a $25 charge for additional people with a maximum of four in a room. Fruit platter and use of kayaks and snorkelling gear are included.
Air New Zealand has flights to Rarotonga.
One-way fares from:
- Brisbane $480
- Sydney $488
- Melbourne $511
- Adelaide $586
- Perth $836
Prices correct at August 6, 2009.
For further information
Air New Zealand
Ph: 132 476
Go Cook Islands
Visas: Not required for tourism visits 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 at 50Hz, using the same three-pin plugs as used in Australia.
Time zone: GMT -10.
Currency: New Zealand dollar.
International dialling code: +682.
It is recommended travellers to Cook Islands see their doctor at least six weeks before departure as there are specific vaccinations recommended. Other health precautions and preventions may also be recommended and best discussed with your doctor. For further information, visit www.welltogo.com.au.