We enjoyed a week in Aitutaki in June after a week in Rarotonga. The temperature was much warmer than Rarotonga, a very nice up to 30 degrees. We stayed at the Aitutaki Resort and Spa which has lovely separate bungalows- whares – along the waterfront, a great restaurant and plenty of aquatic and other equipment including bikes you are able to use for no charge. This resort is on a small island that you get to by barge from Aitutaki. It is the only group of buildings on the island, there are no cars. The transfer barge is available all day to cross the channel for no charge. We used it a few times each day to go walking or cycling on Aitutaki, and to go to nearby restaurants- recommend The Boatshed, especially Ika Mata, the local delicious raw fish dish served in a coconut. Good prices here too. Rental cars here too, we did a day trip around Aitutaki, this included stopping at and climbing to Matriki and Piraki Lookouts and going to dinner at Tupuna’s restaurant – definitely worthwhile.
It is easy snorkelling down the channel, just relax and let the current take you down. Whatever the tide it still runs the same way. At the sides there are thousands of little fish that jump around you. In the middle larger fish, coloured starfish and little coloured fish. Good snorkelling also at the end of the airport runway on Aitutaki.
Many boats both large and small take lagoon cruises to islands such as One Foot Island – named because it’s shape is similar to that of a foot. This is a fabulous day out to stunning islands including Akaiami Island where those voted off Survivor were placed while sworn to secrecy while filming continued on a nearby island. What a hardship – three meals a day on a beautiful island while those still in the game hunted for food, or went hungry!
Aitutaki is a beautiful island with great weather. You get there on a small aeroplane from Rarotonga which takes 45 minutes. It does cost to get there but it is amazing! There are many cultural shows available.
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE COOK ISLANDS:
The Cook Islands are named after Captain James Cook. The road that runs around Rarotonga is believed to be at least 1200 years old. Some of the earliest settlers are believed to have travelled from French Polynesia to the Islands around 800AD. Between 1773 and 1779 Capt. James Cook sighted and landed on many of the southern group (Cook Islands are made up of 15 major islands) but missed Rarotonga.
The name “Cook Islands” was given to the group by the Russians in honour of the great English navigator when it appeared for the first time on a Russian naval chart in the early 1800’s.
France’s takeover of Tahiti in 1843 caused considerable apprehension among the Cook Island’s chiefs and they requested British protection in the event of a French attack. In 1900 the Cook Islands were annexed by NZ , it was a NZ colony until 1965 when the Islands became self governing in association with NZ.
This relationship is recognised by NZ in the form of annual aid and by the automatic right of Cook Islanders to have NZ citizenship ( a right also enjoyed by the people of Nuie and the Tokelau Islands).
In 2013 the population of the Cook Islands was less than 14,000, while 62,000 people of “Cook Islands Maori” descent lived in NZ.