Cook Islands
In the South Pacific

The Cook Islands is a free democratic country in the South Pacific, in free association with New Zealand. It is composed of 15 small islands covering a land territory of 240 square km and a total of 1,800,000 Square km of total ocean area.

Map Showing the location of the Cook Islands in the South Pacific

Map Showing the location of the Cook Islands in the South Pacific

Half way between Hawaii and New Zealand

The 15 islands and two atolls lie about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand. Despite the size of the area that can be compared to India or Western Europe, the population is a mere 20,000 inhabitants.

They are of Maori descent and hold New Zealand citizenship with a special status as Cooks Islands nationals. All defense and foreign affairs matters are dealt by New Zealand in consultation with the island’s authorities.

Map Showing the location of the Cook Islands in the South Pacific

Cook Island feature white sands and crystal-clear water

A Paradise in the South Pacific

The islands, sometimes called a paradise in the South Pacific are not yet discovered by mass tourism, although more than 100,000 tourists visit the islands yearly. The South Pacific beaches are still unspoiled and the beauty is rare and idyllic. They are grouped into southern and northern islands.

The Cooks Islands capital Avarua, on the Island of Rarotonga, is a thriving town with restaurants, hotels, banking facilities and where the International Airport is located. Here the visitor will find first class resorts and beautiful beaches some of them reef protected for a great snorkeling adventure.

Cook Islands

The Island of Rarotonga is one of the Cooks Islands

The Island of Rarotonga is one of the Cooks Islands

Southern Islands

  • Nga-pu-Toru is the generic name given to the islands of Atiu, Ma'uke, Mitiaro and Takutea in the Cooks Islands archipelago. In Cook Islands Māori language, the "Three Roots"
  • Atiu Island, also known as Enuamanu or land of the birds, lies 187 km northeast of Rarotonga

  • Ma'uke known as Akatokamanava is the easternmost island of the group

  • Mitiaro known as Nukuroa is the fourth largest of the Cooks Islands boasts the only fresh water lakes
  • Takutea is a small uninhabited island 21 km northwest of Atiu. It has been designated a wildlife sanctuary, mainly for the red-tailed tropic birds and red-footed Boobies.

The Island of Aitutaki one of the Cooks

The Island of Aitutaki one of the Cooks

The other group of South Cooks Islands

  • Aitutaki Island, is one of the Cooks Islands, north of Rarotonga. It has a population of approximately 2,000. Aitutaki is the second most visited island of the Cook Islands. The capital or main village is Arutunga on the west side.
  • Mangaia known as Auau Enua is a least 18 million years old, making it the oldest island in the Pacific. It's the second largest of the Cooks Islands and the furthest south of the Group.

  • Rarotonga also called Tumutevarovaro is the largest island of the group lying at the southern section of the group.

  • Palmerston Island is a coral atoll about 500 km northwest of Rarotonga.

  • Manuae is an uninhabited atoll in the southern group, 100 kilometres south east of Aitutaki.

  • Winslow Reef is a submerged coral reef of the southern Cook Islands.

Pukapuka is a coral atoll on the northern Cook Islands

Pukapuka is a coral atoll on the northern Islands

Northern Cook Islands

  • Manihiki also known as Te Fuinga o Niva, is an island known as the Island of Pearls. It is a triangular atoll 1,160 km north of Rarotonga.

  • Nassau known as Te Nuku o Ngalewu is located 90 km south of Pukapuka, it is just 9 meters above sea level, with an oval sandy cay on a
    coral reef foundation and is surrounded by a narrow reef flat.

  • Penrhyn Island or Tongareva or Mangarongaro is the most remote and largest atoll of the 15 Islands.

  • Pukapuka known as Te Ulu o te Watu is a coral atoll in the Cooks Islands with three small islets threaded on a reef, which encloses a beautifully clear lagoon.

  • Rakahanga orTapuahua is a rectangular atoll which is the sister island of Manihiki, 42 km to the south. It comprises a lagoon surrounded by two islands and seven small islets or "motu"

The beaches of Suwarrow one of the Cooks Islands

The beaches of Suwarrow one of the Cooks 

The two Atolls

  • Suwarrow also called Suvorov on the southern extremity of the northern group of the Islands is a true atoll. There is no continuous history of Polynesian habitation and therefore no traditional Polynesian name for the island.
  • Tema Reef, also called Tima Reef, is a submerged coral reef in the northern Islands, 23 km southeast of Pukapuka.

Te Manga is the highest point in the Cooks Islands

Te Manga is the highest point on the Islands

These Polynesian Islands offer great opportunities for Scuba Diving due to an array of coral reefs surrounding all the islands. You will find many diving stands in many of the islands ready to guide you on a real scuba diving experience.

Mainly in Rarotonga and Aitutaki you may visit historic centers that will show you around and learn about the Polynesian heritage of the islands and haw they were discovered by Europeans around the 1600’s.

The flag of the Cook Islands

The flag of the Cook Islands

It 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.

For more information visit Cook Official Website

image credits

map n/a
beachhes n/a
rarotonga n/a
aitutaki by julius silver
pukapuka by nasa
suwarrow by suwarrow
te manga by glenig

all courtesy of wikimedia commons

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

From Cook Islands go to South Pacific Islands

Go to Tuchman Travel Guide Home Page

Site Map     About Us     Share your Story     Blog     Contact Us     Disclaimer   Privacy Policy