Please help with Cook Islands holiday!

Feb 9th, 2004, 03:37 AM
  #1  
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Please help with Cook Islands holiday!

I would like to go to the Cook Islands this summer, most likely the first week of August 2004. I will be in Sydney for July, then could do a round-trip to Rarotonga from either Sydney or Auckland. Does anybody know any travel agents/agencies who could help me plan this trip? Is it better to book the airfare and hotels separately on my own? Any hints for cheaper deals? So far it seems very expensive, mainly b/c of the lack of air carries to the CI. Thanks very much. Abby
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Feb 9th, 2004, 04:47 AM
  #2  
sandi
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Air New Zealand flies to the Cook Islands (the Islands to belong to NZ) and believe they are the only ones from NZ or OZ.

Air NZ also has packages with pretty good prices for the Cook Islands, as plenty of New Zealanders travel here for vacation and many Cook Islanders, as well, who work in NZ return home over holidays.

If you haven't made your flight arrangements to SYD, you might consider doing this entire itinerary on Air NZ and then they can get you back to the West Coast.

You might want to check with Swain Travel (located in Ardmore, PA) or Pacific Destinations (located in the LA area) for land packages and maybe even better air packages, if Air NZ doesn't have comparable or competitive prices.
 
Feb 9th, 2004, 06:18 AM
  #3  
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Thanks Sandi! I am using frequent flier miles on American/Qantas to get to Sydney, so I will have to pay for the Cooks part since Air NZ is with United and then there is Royal Tongan Airline. I have emailed a few other companies but have only heard back from one. I will try the ones your suggested and get in touch with Air NZ. Any others out there who can help?? Please...
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Feb 9th, 2004, 07:03 AM
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Well, I don't know about flying from Sydney or Auckland, but Jetsave travel on Raro (http://www.jetsave.co.ck/) gave us a great price on airfare from LAX to Raro. At the time the Air New Zealand website had a price of around $1500 USD/pp. Through Jetsave it was just over $1000 USD/pp (we also booked accomodations through them, in this case rental houses on Raro and a stay at the Are Tamanu resort on Aitutaki). This was back in 2002. Not sure how their prices are now. It would hurt to check them out though. One thing to keep in mind about them though is that they were very slow to respond back.

Ken
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Feb 9th, 2004, 07:05 AM
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Oops! Meant to say "WOULDN'T hurt to check them out".

Ken
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Feb 12th, 2004, 05:27 AM
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Thanks Lord B. Have you been to the Pacific Resort or Muri Beachcomber? I think I'd prefer a hotel since I most likely will be traveling alone and in a self-catering unit I would be lonely. I also checked out via the net Moana Sands, Edgewater, and Rarotongan Sunset. The Pacific and Muri seem like good choices.
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Feb 12th, 2004, 06:09 AM
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Yes, we visited the Pacific Resort and Muri Beachcomber both. The Pacific Resort would probably be a better choice for you. It's larger and has more amenities and has a very beautiful location. It's not cheap though, and we didn't like the food there (but there are some other nearby places to eat so that's not too much of an issue). Snorkeling in the immediate area is not that good as there's not much coral but it's great fun to wade/swim out to the nearby motus (islets) and explore them.

The Beachcomber is a lot smaller and tends to cater more to families with kids. Both of these places are in the same area so that's not an issue.

I would probably stay away from the Edgewater as it seems to get (at best) mediocre reviews.

Can't say a whole lot about the other 2 choices.

In my Webshots photos - which I have posted the link here for many times, I have a couple of photos of the Pacific Resort and 1 photo of the view from the Muri Beachcomber.

Ken
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Feb 12th, 2004, 06:22 AM
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PS - There are also plenty of budget "Backpacker" type places filled with young people. The Cooks get a lot of single folks traveling on a budget and we met a young woman from Britain doing just that and she told us she was having a great time. "Vara's" (where she was staying) is one such place and apparently offers 2 locations, a seaside location that tends to be a very lively "party" type place and a hillside location which I've heard is quieter.

Not sure if that kind of arrangement appeals to you though. If so, you might want to try posting on the Lonely Planet's "Thorn Tree" board (http://thorntree.lonelyplanet.com/ca...s.cfm?catid=20) as it's the best source of personalized information on the Cooks in general and budget travel in particular.

Ken
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Feb 17th, 2004, 05:31 PM
  #9  
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Ken-Jetsave is awesome, thank you so much. Has anyone stayed at the Pacific Resort? I think if I go that is where I will end up. Please give me any input you can-I am still hesitating about this as I will be paying extra to stop over from the US but I think it will be worth it. Thanks.
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Feb 18th, 2004, 10:26 AM
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ttt
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Feb 18th, 2004, 01:54 PM
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Abby43 -

You're welcome. Hope they can save you some bucks. As I mentioned though, they are somewhat slow to get back to you (they're on Rarotonga so they're on "Island Time").

Trust me, you won't regret the extra cost of staying over in the Cooks.

Absolutely delightful.

Ken
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Feb 19th, 2004, 04:30 AM
  #12  
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Thanks Ken! Actually, Jetsave has been very quick in dealing with me. Also, do you think I should spend more than just a day on Aitutaki?? It will jack up the cost of the trip plus I am worried about luggage issues. Do you also know of a storage location at the Auckland airport? Thanks again for your help=it has been great!
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Feb 19th, 2004, 02:07 PM
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Don't know anything about Auckland (sorry). There are a few storage lockers at the airport on Rarotonga but the supply is limited. This issue has come up on the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree board, but I'm afraid I don't remember exactly what the alternate suggestions were (if any).

Regarding the amount of time to spend on Aitutaki - Not sure how long your stay in the Cooks is for, but I would generally recommend 2 days on Raro for each day on Aitutaki. Note however that others will tell you just the opposite. They very different (but both beautiful) places. Raro is a more beautiful island with more to do, but Aitutaki has a more breathtaking lagoon. DO try to at least visit both.

Ken
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