I chose to go to the Cook Islands because it’s a place which only has flights from either New Zealand or Australia. And after living in Auckland for a year I felt like going to a warm place with beaches I could swim in without freezing my balls off.
There are a few things I found interesting about the Cook Islands
- They have a crazy time zone
Even though the Cook Islands are just 4 hours by plane from Auckland they are a day behind New Zealand! Watch out when you are booking your accommodation and make sure you check you plane ticket arrival date.
- It’s hot and humid
I expected it to be hot, however, I did not expect this much humidity. As soon as I got off the plane I felt the hot humid wave hit me and soon felt sluggish, and sticky.
- There’s a rainy season
I should have known…but I mistakenly thought that the Cook Islands would mean sunny beaches and Instagram worthy sunsets. I failed to research properly and turns out that I came exactly on their rainy season. Just in case you want to come just try to avoid November to April as it is their rainy/ hurricane season. Considering this, I we were blessed with a nice sunny weather 3 out of 6 days.
That said, even the rainy season is quite warm.
- It’s small
I stayed in the main island, Rarotonga and even being the main place it’s barely 32Km around the island, its small enough to go around the whole island by bicycle in a day!
- Slow life
Having lived in Japan for so long its so different to see people so relaxed and slow! Here people live such a relaxed life, stores open late and close early. People go to swim in the ocean with their clothes on, ride on the back of pick-up trucks and police don’t stop them.
- Friendly dogs everywhere
Everywhere I go there’s dogs loose that walk up to you hoping to get petted. If you are swimming in the ocean they swim up to you. And a dog even joined a sup yoga class I attended to! We were doing yoga on paddle boards on the ocean when suddenly a dog swam up to us and got on top of the boards. So cute!
- Huge avocado tree behind my hostel
I love avocados but while living in NZ I almost never bought them because they are so overpriced. One small avocado for $4 is just crazy. But here, there were avocado trees behind the hostel I stayed at and people picked the ones that had fallen off the trees. Free avocadoes! And huge as well. It’s heaven.
- The airport only opens when there’s a flight
I used to think of airports as open 24 hours, 365 days a week but here the airport is a ghost town when there’s no flights scheduled.
- It’s more expensive than I thought
If you are thinking the Cook Islands will be like Bali in terms of money, then you are mistaken like me. In fact, it’s even a bit more expensive than NZ in certain aspects.
- It’s safer than I thought
I guess because it’s not a cheap destination it also brings more up-scale tourists and travellers. I saw a lot of families with young children, older couples and elderly groups. Plus, the locals are so friendly and the hospitality level is through the roof!
I forgot my wallet with cash, credit card and license in a post office but when I went back for it everything was intact. It was a scare but I was surprised at people’s honesty.