One of the many great things about spending your honeymoon in the Cook Islands is exactly that – the spending! Weddings and honeymoons are an expensive occasion in any couple’s planning, and we all have budgets to work to. With the Cook Islands currency being the New Zealand Dollar, the exchange rate for most countries will be very favourable and cost effective. And for New Zealanders there is always the security of knowing that you don’t have to worry about losing money on the exchange rate.
There are approximately 27 scheduled flights a week to/from the Cook Islands, with a mix of both day and night arrival times. The flying time from Auckland is around 3.5 hours, and Air New Zealand have a weekly direct flight from Sydney that is around 6.5 hours. Other flights from Australia connect through Auckland. For Cook Islands honeymooners from America, Canada and Europe, Air New Zealand flies a weekly direct service from Los Angeles that arrives Sunday morning and departs Friday midnight. Getting flights to the Cook Islands is a breeze from all over the world!
The two main Cook Islands honeymoon destinations are Rarotonga, the largest, and Aitutaki, which boasts one of the world’s most stunning atoll lagoons. Australians will know of it through Catriona Rowntree, and the Getaway Programme – her favourite spot on the planet, and where she renewed her wedding vows. Rarotonga is very much like the ‘big smoke’ in Cook Island terms with many more dining and activity options, while Aitutaki is more of the laid back, ‘beachcomber’ experience.
Spending some of your Cook Islands honeymoon at Aitutaki isn’t in everyone’s budget, but we recommend if you are doing a split stay between the two islands that you go to Aitutaki first when you are just seeking ‘down time’ and absolute intimacy for the first 2-3 nights which affords plenty of time to also do a lagoon cruise. Then it’s back to the ‘mainland’ of Rarotonga as your bodies re-energise, and you are ready to get more ‘out and about’ and enjoy the more than 50 cafes and restaurants, the multitude of tours and activities, and not to mention the shopping and markets.
If your budget permits we recommend a 10 night stay to truly relax and rejuvenate, with a three night Aitutaki and seven night Rarotonga split. We find that honeymooners that only stay a week leave feeling a bit ‘short changed’ as they were just settling into the truly relaxed mode. Those that are here for 10 days are just starting to think about getting home to catch up with their pet or friends and family. For those that don’t go and stay on Aitutaki you can always do the day trip over to the island, and most of the day is spent cruising and snorkeling on the lagoon. This is better booked when you are actually in Rarotonga on your honeymoon as then you can ensure that the weather is picture perfect.
There is a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences, from backpackers through to luxury resorts and spas. Rarotonga and Aitutaki are more couple and adult orientated, with children only being catered for at some of the bigger resorts. There are a number of small, boutique self-catering villa properties like Sea Change Villas that were conceived with honeymooners who want a relaxing honeymoon in mind, offering four poster beds, individual private courtyard pools, no neighbours, the beach and lagoon at your doorstep – your ultimate intimate, romantic retreat. Pricing will vary widely depending on the type of property, but be aware that there is no star rating system in the Cook Islands, so make sure you compare ‘apples with apples’ when doing your web research.
As for property locations you will be happy anywhere on the island, as the whole island is your playground, although the southern shores of Rarotonga boasts the best of the lagoon, and the western coastline is renowned for its stunning sunsets. Our recommendation for getting around is hiring a car. It’s simple and inexpensive with rates generally between NZ$39-50 per day depending on the type of car and length of hire. Scooters can be hired from NZ$25 per day.
Please take a look at the honeymoon packages, which offer various options to suit your ideal honeymoon spend. We are only too happy to answer any questions you may have regarding flights and the planning of your perfect Cook Islands honeymoon.
If you are thinking about getting married in the Cook Islands, take a look at our Wedding Packages. With a wedding in the Cook Islands you can get married and celebrate your honeymoon with great ease!