The Cook Islands are divided into the Northern and the Southern Group of islands. Around the islands, stunning coral reefs encircle central lagoons. Outside the shallow lagoon, reefs plunge steeply into the blue oceanic abyss.
With spectacular diving around all of the Cook Islands, only some of the islands in the Southern Group are developed for tourism and only the main island of Rarotonga as well as Aitutaki have dive operators. Even on Rarotonga it’s not hard to find empty white sand beaches with shady palm trees on this volcanic, mountainous island.
The 15 Cook Islands share a total land area of 240 square kilometres/93 square miles. There are over 40 dive sites consisting of coral gardens, sloping reefs dotted with coral bommies, drop-offs, caverns, passages and also some broken up shipwrecks like the Mataora Wreck.
A highlight of diving the Cook Islands is the chance of bumping into humpback whales, which pass by Aitutaki and Rarotonga during the Southern Hemisphere winter months.
Fly to Rarotonga International Airport (RAR) in Avarua, Rarotonga. Airlines like Air New Zealand, Air Tahiti, Virgin Australia and Hawaiian Airlines service this airport from Auckland, Sydney, Tahiti and Hawaii. Then, Air Rarotonga can be used for inter-island flights.