Breathe Deeper, Smile Wider in the Cook Islands

Melissa Rimac
Photography By
Mark Howe

An emerald island with a serrated spine of ancient volcanoes, lassoed by a bedazzling blue lagoon: it's almost impossible not to draw breath sharply upon first glimpse of Rarotonga.

Happily, this dreamy escape is now much closer, thanks to new direct flights from Sydney. After a little over 5 hours of catching up on movies, you can step off the spacious Air New Zealand Dreamliner into gardenia- tinged tropical air.

The Pacific may be dotted with tempting havens, however the Cook Islands are uniquely relaxing for the ease with which you can do your own thing and feel uncannily at home.

The warm, friendly people speak English, prices are familiar and self- driving is the ideal. As I pick up a zappy Toyota, I’m told there’s no traffic lights, seat-belts aren’t mandatory and to ‘park wherever you like’.


Melissa Rimac is especially passionate about getting away from the crowds and discovering unsung gems, Melissa has been writing about travel, architecture and health for a wide range of magazines and newspapers for more than 15 years.