Cook Islands – You Only Live Once
by Gayle Dickson
Finding a holiday destination that offers familiarity yet doesn’t breed contempt used to be akin to finding the proverbial needle in a haystack for me. I’m one of those travellers who loves nothing more than a new adventure each time I pack my bags. Then I visited Rarotonga.
That was about six years and four amazing trips ago and … guess what? I’m still loving the time I get to spend there!
There’s just something about the place that enables me to completely unwind from the moment I step onto the tarmac on arrival at the airport. The hot air that rises up to greet you is tinged with the fragrance of frangipani flowers and the breeze carries the plucky tunes of a ukulele across from the arrival hall. It’s hard not to notice the large smiles on the faces of everyone, including the customs and immigration staff!
When it comes to selecting accommodation on the Island, you’ll find that there’s something for absolutely everyone…whether that’s a backpacker hostel, a rented house on the beach, a resort filled with kids’ activities or a romantic sojourn for adults only. I have my favourites, of which there are a few, depending on who I’m travelling with and the reason for my visit. Rumours Luxury Villas, The Pacific Resort Rarotonga, The Edgewater Resort & Spa, Aro’a Beachside Inn, Sea Change Villas, Little Polynesian… I have to admit that I’d be hard-pressed to pick an absolute favourite!
As for what to do, it’s really up to you. Relax at the pool with a book while being served tall, chilled drinks, snorkel to your heart’s content or perhaps learn to kayak or paddle ski in the crystal clear waters of the lagoon, be pampered by talented masseurs, shop at the local market on a Saturday morning, enjoy local and western cuisine at a range of outlets (and some great iced coffees!), take in a movie in Avarua, hire a scooter and explore the ring road, book an excursion with Raro Mountain Safari Tours and head inland to waterfalls and mountain lookouts.
Just when you think you’ve experienced it all, Rarotonga will delight you with a new and refreshing experience. And, best of all….they trade with the NZ dollar so there are no hidden surprises on your credit card bill when you get home!
You only live once….for this reason you really have to include Rarotonga on your bucket list! I haven’t come across one person yet who has visited and doesn’t long to return!
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