Cook Islands information, climate, flight times and other general information. The Cook Islands are a popular holiday destination, located in the South Pacific Ocean. Nestled northeast of Pacific Islands, between French Polynesia and Fiji, the Cook Islands enjoy a warm, pleasant climate and offer a wide range of attractions and activities. Raratonga is the most popular island in the Cook Islands.

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About Cook Islands

General Information About Cook Islands

Image Source: Dance show on Rarotonga
Dance show on Rarotonga

The Cook Islands are made up of fifteen small islands located in the South Pacific Ocean and have a total land area of approximately 240 square kilometres.

The Cook Islands lie north-east of New Zealand, between French Polynesia and Fiji and were first settled in the 6th century AD by Polynesian people, who migrated from Tahiti. Nowadays, the population is just under 20,000, although many more Cook Islanders live in New Zealand.

There are fifteen major islands in the Cook Islands, which are divided into two distinct groups of coral atolls: the Southern Cook Islands and the Northern Cook Islands.

The Southern Cook Islands are made from mainly volcanic activity, they are quite hilly and have more vegetation and wildlife.

The Cook Islands are very popular as they offer a range of things to do for the whole family.

The majority of the population lives in the Southern group, while the Northern Cook Islands group consists of flat coral atolls which are sparsly populated. An atoll is a sunken volcano topped with coral growth.

Southern Cook Islands

The southern group of islands is made up of:

Northern Cook Islands

The northern group of islands is made up of:

Cook Island Culture

Moulded by a Polynesian heritage mixed with a European influence, The Cook Island culture is mystical. With their own unique identity, the people of the Cook Islands are born of the sea. Cook Island culture is shrouded in traditions and legends passed down through the generations.

Family is most important and everyone is connected to the tribal chiefs (ariki). Land and title inheritance also come from the same gene pool. Although fun-loving and friendly, Cook Islanders, like Tahitians and other Polynesians, are a conservative and generally religious people who cleave to their customary way of life and culture. They do not fit the ill-founded Western myth that they are loose-living hedonists of easy morals.

The beauty and charm of the Cook Islands is matched by the friendliness of the people. There is an outgoing spirit of celebration embedded in Cook Island culture.

Cook Islands Language

Today the Cook Islands use three languages: Maori, English and Pukapukan. Each of the Cook Islands has its own distinct dialect of Maori while the islands of Pukapuka and Nassau speak Pukapukan.

Most southern group Cook Islanders are able to communicate with those from the far-flung northern atolls. Most Cook Islanders also speak English, making it an ideal destination for English-speaking visitors.

English has been the official language of the Cook Islands since 1915. Today, most Cook Islanders are bi-lingual and switch easily between Maori and English, the challenge is making sure Maori is kept alive and active amongst young people.

Important Cook Island Dates

The following are a list of holidays observed in Cook Islands:


1 Jan – New Year's Day
29 Mar – Good Friday
1 Apr – Easter Monday
25 Apr – ANZAC Day
4 Jun – Queen's Birthday
6 Aug – Constitution Day
26 Oct – National Gospel Day
25 Dec – Christmas Day
26 Dec – Boxing Day

Cook Island Flight Times

The Cook Islands are served by Air New Zealand, which offers regular flights from New Zealand and Los Angeles. Pacific Blue also has flights from Auckland twice a week, and both airlines offer frequent connections from Australia.

From London to Rarotonga is 24 hours (with stopover in Los Angeles).

Image Source: One Foot Island, Aitutaki
One Foot Island, Aitutaki, Cook Islands
© (

Cook Island Time Differences

Cook Islands is 10 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT -10). There is no daylight saving in Cook Islands.

Cook Island Shopping

Shops are usually open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm weekdays, and 8:00 am to midday on Saturdays.

Local markets are great places to purchase flowers, fruit, vegetables and handicrafts. Popular handicrafts include clothing, necklaces and souvenirs.

Cook Island Flag

The Flag of the Cook Islands is based on the traditional design for former British colonies in the Pacific region. It is a blue ensign containing the Union Flag in the upper left, and on the right, fifteen stars in a ring. The Union Flag is symbolic of the nation's historic ties to the United Kingdom. The stars stand for the fifteen islands that make up the Cook Islands.

About Rarotonga

Rarotonga is the youngest island in the Cook Islands, and a popular holiday destination. Avarua, the main town of Rarotonga, is the capital of the Cook Islands.

Cook Islands & Rarotonga Information

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