Cook Islands Flights:

Flights to Cook Islands

image of Cook IslandsThe Cook Islands is a self-governing parliamentary democracy which was a British protectorate up until 1900 when control was handed to New Zealand. Since 1965, when the Cook Islands chose self-government, they have been in ‘free association’ with New Zealand, so remain linked in many ways.

Situated in the South Pacific Ocean the Cook Islands, although small in land area, are spread out over a huge area of ocean – 2.2 million square kilometres. This makes travel from one island to the other quite an arduous task!

The island of Rarotonga is the location for the Cook Islands international airport, which has the airport code RAR. Several airlines offer flight routes from South Africa to the Cook Islands, though being a considerable distance between Johannesburg and the Cook Islands your journey will involve two stops and a very long journey time. Choose from South African Airways, Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines and Air New Zealand. SAA and Qantas flights are via Sydney and Auckland; Cathay Pacific flies via Hong Kong and Auckland; Malaysia Airlines flies via Kuala Lumpur and Auckland, or Air New Zealand flights go via London and Auckland.

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The Tourist Attractions of Cook Islands:

The main driving force behind the economy of the Cook Islands is tourism so this means that tourists are welcomed here and should find everything you need for an enjoyable and comfortable stay. Having said this, immigration controls are very strict and unless you have your accommodation pre-booked, or can arrange something before leaving the airport, you are likely to be refused admission.

The Cook Islands are divided into the Northern Cook Islands and the Southern Cook Islands. The Northern Cook Islands consists of seven coral atolls and have very few inhabitants. Most tourists would not bother visiting these islands, if only for the fact that getting to them is not easy. The Southern Cook Islands hold the majority of the population, and these consist of eight, mostly volcanic islands, quite different to those in the north because they are mainly hilly.


Rarotonga is the Cook Islands most populated island, and, as mentioned, the location for the international airport.

There are resort hotels here as well as budget end accommodation for backpackers, and often the main reason for visiting will be to enjoy the sun and the sea and the relaxed pace of life. There isn’t a huge list of attractions here as the main attraction is the islands themselves, but, if you do want to do something a bit more active than sunbathing there are several things you can try…

Walking – Rarotonga is a beautiful island and if you want to spend a few hours on one of the inland tracks you can visit some lovely places including waterfalls, and keep a look out for the abundant wildlife.

Scuba Diving – There are some great scuba diving opportunities around the Cook Islands. The reef off Rarotonga is said to be stunning and there are various small caves to explore. If you don’t have scuba diving experience you may like to try snorkelling instead and there are also some wonderful spots to do this too. For a little more adventure consider joining a snorkelling cruise!


Aitutaki is another island, popular with tourists. There are some amazing beaches and lagoons here with postcard-turquoise blue waters and white sand. One Foot Island beach is one of the most famous.

When Should You Visit?:

With a tropical climate, the Cook Islands are good to visit at any time of the year if you’re looking for warm and sunny weather, however you’ll want to avoid typhoon season which runs from November to March. To their advantage the Cook Islands don’t get too hot because the climate is moderated by trade winds, so temperatures remain pleasant.

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