The Cook Islands, well to the north of New Zealand in the sparkling South Pacific Ocean, represent a beach lover's paradise with secluded sands, clear waters and in many cases non-intrusive services that help transform a break into an escape. Here are just a few to consider.
Muri Beach, Rarotonga
There is no safer – or prettier – beach for families anywhere in the Cook Islands – or even the South Pacific. Protected entirely from the open sea by four tiny uninhabited off-shore islets, the lagoon at Muri offers families safe swimming and a long, white sandy beach to relax on.
It’s also the centre of water activities for Rarotonga, offering plenty of options, from glass-bottom boat tours to kayaking. You can also swim across and explore the picturesque islands. And there's a kids' club at The Pacific Resort.
Black Rock and Nikao Beach, Rarotonga
This is where local families come to spend their weekends – with a long, wide, sandy beach and safe swimming in water protected by an off-shore reef, it’s perfect for visiting families, too. It’s a great place to picnic with local families, who use tables built under palm trees looking out over the lagoon where their children swim.
One Foot Island, Aitutaki
Located at the edge of one of the South Pacific’s most celebrated lagoons, the sandy beaches on One Foot Island spill out into some of the clearest water on the planet. You’ll need to board a lagoon cruise to get here – or book a boat transfer – but the trip is well worth it.
There’s no more romantic setting on Earth, with nothing here but coconut trees, sandy beaches and blue lagoon. Walk around the tiny island, stopping to swim along the way.
Aroa Beach, Rarotonga
With fewer visitors aware of this hidden gem, Aroa Beach is the perfect setting for a romantic day out. Fringed by coconut trees, Aroa Beach can’t be seen from the road, but it’s one of Rarotonga’s most idyllic beaches.
With deep waters just off the beach (but protected inside a lagoon) it’s ideal for swimming and snorkelling. Stick around for a sun that sets into the sea.
Titikaveka and Vaimaanga Beaches, Rarotonga
The beaches here on Rarotonga’s south coast are an adventure lover’s dream. With an abundance of marine life between huge colourful coral heads, it’s the best place on the island for snorkelling.
You can also hire a kayak or stand-up paddle board to paddle between the coral heads out to the surrounding reef, or walk to it at low tide, where you can see locals gathering shellfish. There’s also surf for the more adventurous, though be aware: it’s for experts only.
O’otu Beach, Aitutaki
Hire a kayak or stand-up board and paddle the stunning blue waters of Aitutaki’s famous triangular lagoon, or hire a catamaran and sail out across the turquoise waters.
Aitutaki’s lagoon is also one of kite-surfing’s most revered global locations and it’s an epicentre for Bonefish anglers from across the globe.
Visit your local Flight Centre or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals on travelling to The Cook Islands.