Cook Islands to welcome back cruise travellers

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The Cook Islands are welcoming the return of major cruise lines from 28 October 2022 with the likes of Holland America Line, Silversea, AIDAsol Cruises and Paul Gauguin Cruises all returning to Rarotonga.

All of the cruise lines have itineraries via ports in Australia and New Zealand, collecting travellers for a South Pacific navigation.

As the Cook Islands does not have a cruise ship port, on-board passengers are ferried by tender boats to the north shore of Avarua, the capital of the Cook Islands, disembarking passengers are then met by friendly locals in a pop-up market by the wharf, as an information service to explore.

The township of Avarua features many shops and restaurants, yet Rarotonga is made up of several villages located around the coastal fringe of the island, welcoming cruise passengers to explore beyond the gateway port.

Getting around Rarotonga is easy, it only takes 45 to 50 minutes to drive around the entire island, with only one main road circling the shoreline of the island, with absolutely no traffic lights.

Guests can hire a car, moped, or e-bike from Avarua, or catch the island’s passenger bus ironically named clockwise, when driving one-way around the island, and anti-clockwise when driving in the other direction.

In welcoming back cruise liners, Cook Islands Tourism has shared their top 10 must-see attractions and experiences for a day on Rarotonga:

  • Explore the live coral snorkelling in Aroa Lagoon Marine Reserve
  • BBQ lunch cruise with Captain Tama’s Lagoon Cruizes or Koka Lagoon Cruises
  • Turtle tour offered by Ariki Adventures, Go local Cookislands, Charlotte Piho and Josh Utanga.
  • Cross Island trek and hike with Maunga Tours
  • See the island with Tik-e Tours’ private and tailored island tours by electric tuk tuk
  • Go inland and explore the jungle with Raro Safari Tours
  • See Rarotonga from above with Air Rarotonga’s Scenic Flight
  • Take a walking nature tour of the island on a Takitumu Conservation Tour
  • Discover the marine life that call the Cook Islands home with one of the many dive companies on the islands
  • Learn about the Cook Islands culture by visiting a cultural village, jumping on an eco-cycle tour, or taking one of the various walking tours with local guides

While most tour providers accept Visa and MasterCard, there are some cash-only suppliers accepting New Zealand dollars as local currency. It is also recommended that visitors research and book activities in advance to avoid disappointment.

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