Better Snorkeling in the Cooks or Fiji?

Jul 15th, 2006, 02:13 PM
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Better Snorkeling in the Cooks or Fiji?

We are planning a trip to New Zealand for next November/December and would like to add 5 nights in either Fiji or the Cooks to the trip. If you have been to both, which in general has better snorkeling? Thanks very much!
lauren27 is offline  
Jul 16th, 2006, 08:58 AM
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While I've only been to the Cooks (and enjoyed the snorkeling there), I'd venture that Fiji probably has even better - in part because Fiji is pretty famous for it's colorful soft corals, something that is not that common in the Cooks (which has mostly hard corals).

Just my guess.

LordBalfor is offline  
Jul 16th, 2006, 09:39 AM
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I have done a lot of diving in both places, but very little snorkeling. My general impression is that there are few good shallow water sites in Fiji, while there are definitely some in the Cooks. I would guess that you will find better snorkeling in Aitutaki's lagoon, as well as a few shallow spots around Rarotonga.

My family had a really fine snorkeling day on Raro, when we took a boat out to the fringing reef. I went diving, and my kids frolicked about with their snorkel gear. They had a great time - my wife didn't - she got seasick in the small boat that was subjected to some pretty big swell.

I think that in either place, the best snorkeling is going to be off a boat, as opposed to off the beach.
ALF is offline  
Jul 16th, 2006, 04:37 PM
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Hi Lauren

Both the Cooks and Fiji have good snorkling but it does depend upon where abouts you are in each country. For instance the snorking off the beach on the main Island of Fiji-Viti Levu is not good. A lot of the water is cloudy. However if you go out to the Islands in the Mamanuca chain or the Yasawa Islands then the snorkling is brilliant.

For instance (And I know I do carry on about this place) Navini Island just off Nadi has great snorkling off the beach. This is in part due to the Island being a marine reserve as such no fishing.

I have also snorkled on several of the small reefs that are dotted amongst the islands of the Mamanuca chain. All are readily snorleable (Is that a word?) as the water over them is relatively shallow and crystal clear. Snorkling off these reefs does require a boat trip out to them though.

In the Cook Islands I have snorkled off the main Island of Rarotonga and in the Aitutaki lagoon. The corals are different insofar as they are harder corals less soft "fan" corals. The water once again is very clear. More beche de mere (Sea cucumber) on the sea floor to watch in the Cooks, fascinating animals (At least I find them so) and there are great irridescent blue starfish as well (They have these in Fiji too)and you can find Nemo. Snorkling off the beach is dead easy in Rarotonga. The best snorkling is along the south coast from roughly the Rarotongan Beach Resort through to Muri Lagoon. The reef is a bit shallow around the rest of the island and there is a possibility of hitting coral while snorkling (coral cuts really hurt and get infected).

When we were at Aitutaki we could snorkle off the beach but the water was not that clear. It was, however, fantastic and glass like out by One Foot Island.

Of the two places I would pick Fiji. This is because I we enjoy the Islands off the West Coast of the main Island. Also if you are travelling with kids the Fijians are just great with them.

However for accessibility The Cooks are easier. If you are in a hotel/motel on the south coast you can be snorking amongst the fish in less than a minute from your room. Plus the hotels are near the airport so not need to do an inter-island transfer.

I hope this does help a bit and does not add to the confusion.
Kiwi_acct is offline  
Jul 17th, 2006, 11:06 AM
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Thanks so much, but I just got bad news. Since we are flying with miles, we cannot fly to New Zealand and fly back from Fiji. To go to both, we'd have to do a roundtrip flight from Fiji and that's just too much time to waste. I'm so disappointed, but I guess that means we'll have to make a whole trip just for Fiji next time. I will keep all your helpful information for our future trip.
lauren27 is offline  
Jul 17th, 2006, 11:24 AM
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What airline are flying (and from where)? I THINK Air New Zealand has a special deal where you can easily stop off in the Cooks on the way to New Zealand (or back) on the LA/Papeete/Rarotonga/Auckland flights.

LordBalfor is offline  
Jul 17th, 2006, 02:10 PM
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We spent time both in the Yasawa Islands (Yasawa Island Resort) and in the north of Fiji. The snorkeling in the Yasawas was excellent, and even better in the north. We stayed at Qamea resort there, and the off-the-beach snorkeling was the best we have ever had. Enormous variety of fishes, and lots of beautiful hard and soft corals. In my opinion, you can't go wrong with Fiji!
Angler973 is offline  
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