Frequently Asked Questions about the Cook Islands

picture of kids going to church

Quick Questions Answered

What is the Capital of The Cook Islands? Avarua

Which Airlines Fly to The Cook Islands? Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand

Where is the Cook Islands International Airport? Rarotonga Island

What is the currency of The Cook Islands? New Zealand Dollar

What Electricity and Electrical Sockets? Same as Australia / NZ

Where is the Cook Islands?

The 15 islands that make up The Cook Islands lie within the Polynesian triangle in the central part of the South Pacific Ocean. Rarotonga is the main island of the Cook Islands with the capital Avarua.

map of the cook islands in the south pacific

Which Airlines Fly to the Cook Islands?

Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand are the only airlines that fly to the Cook Islands. There are direct flights from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch (all in New Zealand) as well as from Sydney and Los Angeles with routes serviced by Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand

Where is the International Airport?

Rarotonga International Airport is on the north coast just 3km west of Avarua Town.

When is Winter? When is Summer?

The weather in the Cook Islands is one of the mildest of the South Pacific with Winter from May to October when temperature average 26 degrees by day and can get down to 18 degrees at night. Summer, starting in November and ending in April, is hotter and more humid with frequent intense tropical rainfalls in the late afternoons and evenings with a tropical depression or cyclone occurring on average once in a season. The high volcanic peaks on Rarotonga draw in moisture off the ocean and afternoons can often be cloudy even on otherwise clear days with higher rainfall on the east coast which faces the Tradewinds.

What is the capital of The Cook Islands?

Avarua Town, located on the north coast of Rarotonga and backed by picturesque mountains, has a population of just over 5,000 - yes, it's tiny! The people of the Cook Islands are of Polynesian descent and speak Maori.

What is the currency of The Cook Islands? Are there banks and ATM machines?

The Cook Islands uses the New Zealand currency being dollars and cents. Banks and ATM machines are found in Avarua Town, on the south coast of Rarotonga and there's an ATM also in Arutanga on Aitutaki Island. There are money exchange booths and an ATM at the international airport.

Can I use my Credit Card?

Visa and Mastercard are accepted by most restaurants and shops around Rarotonga and Aitutaki and by the majority of hotels and resorts. A credit card fee of between 3% to 5% is commonly charged.

Can I Buy a Travel Sim or is there HoptSpot Wifi

Vodafone provide internet coverage in Rarotonga and Aitutaki with hotspots scattered around both islands. Accessing the hotspots is bu voucher which can be purchased at local shops. Alternatively you can buy a travel sim at Vodafone outlets at Rarotonga International Airport and at its outlets in Avarua Town (Rarotonga) or Arutunga (Aitutaki).

What Electricity and Electrical Sockets are in The Cook Islands?

240V - three pin plugs - the same as used in Australia and New Zealand.

What Health Issues are there in the Cook Islands

Prickly heat, sunburn and dehydration are the most common ailments for tourists. Mosquitoes are present and although there is no malaria in the Cook Islands there are occasional outbreaks of dengue and there has been an outbreak of Zika virus. Otherwise, the country is free of most other tropical diseases.

Is there a hospital, doctors and dentists?

The main hospital in the Cook islands is on the west side of Rarotonga but this offers basic hospital services only. For major operations, Cook Islanders generally fly to New Zealand. Doctors and dentists are available on Rarotonga.

What Tourist Information is available?

There is a tourist information centre besides the Banana Court in the main town of Avarua which provides free maps and assistance with general information. Most hotels have tour brochures and tourist magazines for guests.

Should I Tip for Service?

No - tipping is not encouraged in the South Pacific although a gratuity box is often displayed on hotel reception desks with the money either contributing to the staff Christmas Party or to a local community project.

What Items should I pack for holiday?

A wide brim hat, sunglasses and sun-cream are the most essential items.
A good water bottle if you're going to explore.
Airy clothes, preferably cotton with an emphasis on shorts and shirts or t-shirts.
A light jumper is handy to have in winter in case it gets cool.
Reef shoes if exploring the sea or beachcombing.