Top 9 Tours & Activities To Experience In The Cook Islands

27 July 2016
Read Time: 3.0 mins

With some of the most exquisite beaches and breathtaking tropical landscapes, the Cook Islands provides a sensational backdrop for all your outdoor activities.

From snorkelling the dazzling coral reefs to exploring the lush wilderness of the exotic jungles, there are dozens of ways you can mix laid-back sun-lazing on the beach with unforgettable adventures in this all-natural Polynesian playground. Here are nine tours and activities you won’t want to miss.

Travel Inspiration Spot the marine life on a glass bottom boat tour (Image: Getty)

Glass Bottom Boats

Explore the magnificent underwater world of the Cook Islands without getting wet in a glass bottom boat. Tours allow you to hop aboard for a front row seat of what's below the water's surface. Watch giant trevally fish, turtles, sharks and even whales (in season) as they play, and feed. Other highlights on your aquatic journey include and vibrant coral gardens teeming with tropical fish.

Island Discovery Tour

Aside from picture-perfect beaches, the Cook Islands has a rich culture and history, which can be discovered on an Island Discovery Tour. Most tours take you along historic roads to visit ancient ceremonial sites, old limestone churches and iconic natural landmarks of Rarotonga such as Black Rock and the volcanic peak known as The Needle. It's also a great way to gain local knowledge and enhance your understanding and appreciation of this beautiful South Pacific region.

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Captain Tama’s Lagoon Cruise

Explore the delights of Rarotonga’s turquoise Muri Lagoon on this half-day cruise which offers views of the lagoon through a glass-bottomed boat. Captain Tama’s tours take you to the stunning marine reserve for an unforgettable snorkelling and fish feeding experience, and also include an open-fire barbecue lunch on Motu Koromiri and some live music.

Travel Inspiration Escape the beaches on a jungle treck (Image: Getty)

Jungle Adventures

It can be difficult to peel yourself away from the beaches, but those that do are rewarded with the expanses of lush jungle terrain waiting to be explored. Whether you're in the mood to take a hike or are after a more adventurous quad bike adventure, there are myriad ways to explore the native flora and fauna of Rarotonga. Guided or self-led, you can explore lush, hidden valleys, rainforest streams and meandering rivers for a wildly different perspective of the island.

Te Vara Nui Cultural Village

Those interested in local culture may want to consider a visit to the Te Vara Nui Cultural Village, taking in a whirl of music, dancing and spectacular scenery at the biggest over-water island night show on Rarotonga. Traditional dancers and musicians will have you in a trance as you watch a riveting performance of the Maori story ‘The Legend of Tonaiki’, performed on floating and fixed stages in the magical rock waterfall garden.

Prior to the cultural show, guests will feast on a fusion of island and Western cuisine. Cultural village tours are also available where you can learn about the history, legends, traditional medicines and arts and crafts techniques of the Cook Islands.

Eco Cycle Tour

Cycling through the lush landscapes of Rarotonga is an invigorating and environmentally friendly way to learn about the culture, history, environment and heritage of the Cook Islands. This makes it a memorable activity to undertake with a loved one, friends or the whole family.

Most eco tours cater to all fitness levels and all include a tasty local lunch and a chance to cool off with a swim at a secluded beach. If you want to discover authentic and beautiful places that you simply wouldn’t find on your own, this is the adventure for you.

Travel Inspiration See more of the islands on a lagoon tour (Image: Getty)

Aitutaki Lagoon Cruise

Cruise the crystal clear waters of Aitutaki Lagoon on a full-day marine adventure and dive in for a snorkel session with turtles and other enchanting aquatic creatures who call this world-famous lagoon their home.

Visit the Heaven sandbar before gliding over to the jewel of the lagoon, One Foot Island, for a barbecue lunch and an afternoon of leisurely swimming and relaxation in exquisite surrounds. Bring along your passport to get it stamped (with a big foot) at the ‘smallest, uninhabited post office in the world’ to commemorate your enchanting day in paradise.

Punarei Cultural Tour

Uncover the ancient culture of Aitutaki at Punarei Cultural Village, which gives visitors an authentic insight into island life before the arrival of the missionaries in 1821. You might also get the chance to visit the sacred site of Marae Arangi-rea and enjoy a traditional umukai feast. This unique experience is a wonderful way to learn about what sets the beautiful Aitutaki island and culture apart from the rest of the Polynesian region.

Aitutaki Diving

The paradise island of Aitutaki offers world-class scuba diving in the heart of the Pacific for both beginners and seasoned divers. Be guided on an incredible underwater adventure to swim among giant green turtles, tuna, moray eels, spotted eagle rays, schools of tropical fish and even a shipwreck. Most diving tours supply all the equipment you’ll need. If you’re staying for a while on Aitutaki, this is one adventure you will want to experience again and again.

Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals on travelling to the Cook Islands.

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