THE COOK ISLANDS: PARADISE ON OUR DOORSTEP
With decriminalisation passed, it is now legal to be gay in the Cook Islands, a move that will hopefully see a wave of decriminalisation spread throughout the Pacific. What better way to celebrate this progress than with a stress-free getaway to relaxing Rarotonga and the peaceful perfection of Aitutaki?
The warm air caresses your bare arms and legs as you stare up at the lush green mountains, having just descended onto the islands, which look like a collection of turquoise-lined jewels from the sky. Welcome eis are placed around our necks, and a fresh floral bouquet enters our noses and enchants our senses as a local lady strums on a ukulele. Stepping off the plane in Rarotonga feels just like a holiday should.
We basically float to the rental car pickup, where we are informed that our car is sitting unlocked in the airport’s public car park – with its keys in the ignition. “And don’t worry about locking it when you return. Just leave the keys in,” the rental assistant advises. It’s that safe over here. Stealing just doesn’t enter into people’s minds – what with a local population of less than 5000 and an occupancy that swells to 15,000 when tourists descend in high season. On an island that only takes 40 minutes to drive around, there are very few places to hide.
That feeling of safety and laidback holiday ease continues on the roads, where often no one is doing more than 30kms an hour, and you quickly resign yourself to island time. In general, there is little to worry about on Rarotonga. The coral reef surrounding the island keeps sharks out of swimming waters. The wandering packs of dogs are all friendly and well-fed. Everywhere has mobile coverage. It’s all NZ dollars, so no conversion rates to consider. We just cruise at 30 without a worry in the world.
We pull in at our adults-only accommodation MOTU Beachfront Art Villas which offers beautiful, modern, light-filled, stylish self-contained villas, perched beachside on the shores of the Titikaveka lagoon – widely regarded as Rarotonga’s most beautiful beach!
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