Remember the good old days? You know, when you could board an aircraft and soar over borders and seas and datelines to visit exquisite places?
This week, we’ve been swooning over Jenine Lewis’ recollections of a visit to the Cook Islands not so long ago.
“What an amazing place to visit!” recalls Jenine, Cruise & Travel Specialist at The Cruise & Travel Authority.
“Just a short, 6-hour direct flight to Rarotonga from Sydney, and you touch down in a true paradise. ‘The Cooks’ are just gorgeous,” she says. And with no building taller than a coconut palm, the most beautiful beaches and sparkling blue waters, who are we to argue?
The country’s 15 islands are scattered over a vast area of the Pacific. The largest island, Rarotonga, is home to rugged mountains and Avarua, the national capital. To the north, Aitutaki Island has a legendary lagoon encircled by coral reefs and sandy islets, and some breath-taking, world class accommodation options.
“Quite literally on arrival into Rarotonga’s charming international airport, you are greeted with music being played by local musicians—just a taste of the hospitality to come,” says Jenine. ‘Raro’ is so compact that, in no time at all after landing, you can be happily adrift in a crystal clear lagoon, or sipping something refreshing poolside at a lovely resort.
Beyond the music, a stay here is a multi-sensory delight. There’s a thriving food scene in the Cooks that showcases international and local, ‘Pacific’ cuisine. One of the foodie highlights for Jenine was a ‘Progressive Dinner’ in Rarotonga.
“It was a wonderful way to connect with local families in their own homes, to listen to them tell the history of their ancestors whilst sampling home-cooked traditional food. It was fascinating and delicious,” adds Jenine.
The Cooks offer superb holidays for everyone. Families, couples, adventure seekers and mature holidaymakers looking for serious Pacific down-time will find just what they need here. There are no sprawling resorts, but plenty to choose from in just about every price-range and star-rating from laid-back to luxe.
So, what’s the COVID-19 situation?
The Cooks were declared a COVID-19 free zone on 16 April 2020, and have maintained that status ever since. And while that means no-one can visit for now, we’re hopeful that a travel bubble with this piece of Pacific paradise is right near the top of the governments’ post-COVID travel strategy.
“As soon as borders between our two countries are open once again, I urge you to consider a holiday in the beautiful Cook Islands,” says Jenine.
The local Cook Islander greeting is ‘Kia Orana’, which translates to “May you live a long & fulfilling life.” After a stay in The Cooks, there’s no doubt you will feel fulfilled.
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