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What is the best time of year to go to the Cook Islands?

What is the best time of year to go to the Cook Islands?

Jul 26th, 2006, 09:25 AM
  #1  
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What is the best time of year to go to the Cook Islands?

Hi. We'd like to plan a trip to the Cook Islands (Rarotonga & Aitutaki) in a couple years and wondered when is the best time of year to do a trip like this?

Our wedding anniversary is in September, so that would be preferred, but we're pretty flexible.

Also, would 7 or 8 days be a reasonable trip? Since we're coming from the midwest US, is there another destination we should add to make the trip a little longer? Perhaps an island in French Polynesia? Or, what about New Zealand and Cooks--do people ever pair those together for a 2+ week vacation?

Thanks for any advice. We are novices in the island department. Our vacations are usually to Europe, but we definitely have always dreamed of going to South Pacific.
travelbunnies is offline  
Jul 26th, 2006, 09:53 AM
  #2  
 
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Well, I've not been in September but it's about the coolest time of year there (roughly equivalent to March on the windward shores of Kauai temperaturewise - though with less rain)

Take a look here:
http://www.weather.com/outlook/trave...01?from=search

You might also want to look here:

http://www.weather.com/outlook/trave...X0001&clocid2=

which compares Rarotonga to Hanalei on Kauai.

As you can see, the average high on Raro that time of year is about 76 or so - which is about the same as Hanalei in March.

We actually prefer to go when the weather there is a bit warmer (and the water too) so we prefer the South Pacific in late March or April. March tends to be a bit wetter, with April a bit less so. Both months will give you water temps of around 80 or so and air temps typically in the low 80's (mid 80's probably for Aitutaki) - which are a bit more to our liking. Personally, I think April is perhaps the best overall month to go.

Since the only airline to fly from the mainland US to the Cooks is Air New Zealand, some folks opt to combine the Cooks with a stay in either French Polynesia or New Zealand. If you want to see 2 very different locations and could manage a 3 week trip I'd recommend a week in the Cooks and 2 weeks in New Zealand. I think Air New Zealand may offer some kinds of deal for these types of trips.

Ken
LordBalfor is offline  
Jul 26th, 2006, 01:25 PM
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I happened to come upon this thread and was wondering the same thing, so great advice.

If you don't buy a package and want to go to Cook Islands, how do you fly there from US? Do you get there from LAX? Do you then fly between the islands if you want to visit more than one?
lhopp is offline  
Jul 26th, 2006, 01:47 PM
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Air New Zealand flies 3 nights/week (Friday, Sunday, & Wednesday (I think)) from LAX to Papeete Tahiti, then on to Rarotonga (arriving either at 8 am or 9 am, depending on the time of year) before going to to New Zealand. Alternately, some folks fly from LAX to New Zeland and then back to Rarotonga..

From Hawaii, you can fly Hawaiian Airlines (not sure of the schedule) to Papeete then from there via Air New Zealand to the Cooks.

Interisland flights are on Air Rarotonga (http://www.airraro.com/). You can also see their flight schedule here: http://www.ck/edairaro.htm

Ken
LordBalfor is offline  
Jul 26th, 2006, 03:38 PM
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Thanks Lord Balfor! I tried on the Air New Zealand site and it works. We would just have to fly to LAX from Cleveland.

Also tried Hawaiian Airlines and they also have flights from Oahu to Tahiti, so maybe we can coordinate a trip somehow that way.

In your opinion, is it better or easier to book a package through and agent or operator so they can coordinate all your flights, or, is is easy enough to do on your own? Is there any significant cost savings either way?

Thanks for the advice, and I'm sure we will have more questions in the future as the planning progresses.
lhopp is offline  
Jul 26th, 2006, 06:11 PM
  #6  
 
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Well, we've generally stayed in rental houses while in the Cooks - although we did stay at the Are Tamanu resort on Aitutaki on our first trip there. Staying in rental house or bungalows is in my opinion a much cheaper way to go and there are some pretty decent accomodations directly on the beach for $150 USD/night and up. Staying in a rental house or bungalow (or even one of the smaller resorts) generally means either booking the place yourself or booking through one of the local travel agencies (such as Jetsave or Island Hopper). The good news is that with todays' internet it's pretty easy to book things yourselves.

If you plan on staying at a large resort (such as the Pacific Resort) it MAY be cheaper to book a package. Outfits like Costco offer some pretty attractive packages, the only problem with the them is that the big US based companies offer deals at oly a limited number of different places, some of which (like the Edgewater) are sub-par in my opinion.

What kind of budget do you have planned for your accomodations? There are now lots and lots of choices on Raro and even quite a few options on Aitutaki. These range from top of the line places like "Rumours of Romance" (which run for about $650 USD/night) down to backpacker accomodations which are dirt cheap. On each of my trips (but especially on the last trip) I've taken quite a few photos of various accomodations and posted them on Webshots for other folks planning their trips to take a look at and get an idea of what the places are really like. If you are interested you can see them here:

http://community.webshots.com/album/549972025LRlPBv

Ken
LordBalfor is offline  
Jul 27th, 2006, 06:19 AM
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Hi Travelbunnies! (cute name)!

Who can ever predict WHAT temperature/s will be like anymore?! Ken mentions his favorite time of the year is in April and I was in the Cooks (and Tahiti) in April and can tell you that it was VERY VERY hot and humid.

Re: an itinerary; most people would have NZ as a primary destination and use the Cooks as a stopover on the return (to break up the trip a bit). The other scenario is combining it with French Polynesia.

Ken, I wanted to share this with you; your comment about big US companies not having a limited number of resorts to choose from isn't really true. I work with a large wholesaler; when I say "large" I mean, they're not Qantas, not THAT large but they do a huge volume of business. When I was in the Cooks in April with them, and Cook Islands Tourism we did site inspections of nearly 20 properties.

Costco? Oh puleeze!! Say it isn't so! Believe me, there's no one working at Costco who knows anything about travel! They offer pre-set packages from established wholesalers, that's all. (but I guess there's the convenience of buying a giant package of paper towels at the same time!)

There are alot of different packages out there, as Cooks tourism is really gearing up to promote this destination.

Btw...did you know they're filming the next "Survivor" on One Foot Island!?

Regards,

Melodie





wlzmatilida is offline  
Jul 27th, 2006, 06:41 AM
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Hey Melodie,

That's good to know. My first trip to the Cooks I couldn't find more than half a dozen places offered by the US outfits, so it sounds like things have really improved in that regard. Twenty properties would indeed give a pretty good representation of places in the Cooks, excluding only the smallest of places and the private rental houses (which we still prefer).

Agree with you about Costco and wasn't really pushing them. I think they DO offer good prices, but you you MUST do your own research (something I like to do personally anyway) as they do simply "take orders".

Yeah, I am aware of Survivor filming there (should be getting close to wrapping up soon) and had actually hoped to spot some of the containers arriving on the island but bad weather delayed them until after our departure from Aitutaki. They have currently closed off the entire SE corner of the lagoon - including One Foot Island.

Ken
LordBalfor is offline  
Jul 27th, 2006, 08:47 PM
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Ken,

my favorite piece of trivia is that they "salted" the island with....chickens. Apparently the track record of Survivor contestants fishing hasn't been too good and I suppose it would really hurt the ratings if someone starved to death!

Melodie
wlzmatilida is offline  
Jul 28th, 2006, 11:45 AM
  #10  
 
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Hello Lord (Ken) and others,

The title of this post is my exact question although we are thinking of 3rd week in Feb. It seems that is the wet season but if it's mostly 15-20 downpours and/or evening showers, no problem. Any Feb advice?

thanks in advance
nolists is offline  
Jul 29th, 2006, 08:17 AM
  #11  
 
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just for clarity and topping ... I meant 15-20 minutes
nolists is offline  
Jul 30th, 2006, 04:37 PM
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I certainly would not hesitate to go that time of year. Based on my experience in the region during the "rainy" season, yes you can expect some rain. Most likely it will indeed be in the form of brief (but very heavy showers) - very often at night but also from time to time during the day. There is a chance that it may rain for longer periods but that is not the general pattern.

Ken
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