The Cook Islands is a disparate collection of tiny rocks that poke above the waves, mostly fringed by reef instead of sand. Barely. Cook Islanders are a semi-organised kind of folk with lots of Polynesian charm and just the right amount of hospitality to make sure visitors can enjoy a comfortable stay.
NZ Dollars are the local currency so you can easily figure out what things cost without the need of a calculator. Flights to the main island of Rarotonga are very cheap, with some flights direct from Sydney but most of the traffic going via Auckland.
Rarotonga is the main island, and it’s very, very small. A single road does a loop around the coast and you can drive it in about an hour, maybe less if you don’t have to stop for chickens crossing the road. There are some very fancy resorts tucked away but also lots of cheap bungalows if you want to self-cater or hang out with the entire family.
The stunning atoll of Aitutaki is a remarkable blue lagoon protected by reef and just 50 minutes flying time from Rarotonga. The shades of teal, aqua and jade within the lagoon, and the wildlife that live amongst it, is something you will remember your entire life. There are some impressive resorts on Aitutaki, sufficiently luxurious to complement the natural beauty of the atoll. •
Photography by Ewen Bell.
Ewen works with a Canon 5DMkIII and shoots most of his work with his two favourite prime lenses, the Canon 50mm f/1.2 and Canon 24mm f/1.4. Ewen shares his time between travel assignments and writing advice on travel photography. His website “Photography for Travellers” is rich in inspiration and information, to help you change the way you see photography.