Andree - Destination Specialist, CalgaryBlog and Announcements

5 Reasons You Need to Visit the Cook Islands

5 Reasons You Need to Visit the Cook Islands

The Cook Islands, located between New Zealand and Hawaii, offer a pristine beauty rivalling the more famous South Pacific islands of Tahiti and Fiji. Award-winning Air New Zealand flies direct from North America to Cook Islands, making travel there accessible.

  1. The islands’ beautiful terrain the Cook Islands are what Hawaii was like 50 years ago but with modern conveniences.  There is lush green vegetation virtually everywhere, jungle-clad mountains, crystal-clear waters, incredible flora and fauna, no big name brands and no building is taller than a coconut tree!
  2. Getting around the main island is simple the main island of Rarotonga is easy to travel along (total circumference is 32km!) as there’s just a single road that covers the entire circumference of the island—we recommend renting a scooter to whip around the island!  Alternatively you can hop on the “Clockwise" or “Counter-Clockwise" bus, a public transportation vehicle that travels along the main island’s circumference, with various stops along the way at reasonable transit rates, making for a super laid back way to tour Rarotonga!
  3. Easily accessible At just 9 hours from Los Angeles, and on the same time zone as Hawaii, jetlag is barely noticeable.  This makes your transition to island life, and escapism, super easy.  The currency is the New Zealand Dollar, which is at-par to the Canadian Dollar so buying souvenirs, going on excursions or enjoying regular meals at one of the island’s many local restaurants and cafes, won’t be too hard on the wallet.   
  4. Cultural entertainment at Te Vara Nui Village Enjoy an incredible evening show combining some history on the Cook Islands with traditional dance, music, drumming, fire juggling and various forms of entertainment accompanied by a lavish island-style feast.
  5. You’ll rarely be bored Not just a place to lounge on white-sand beaches, you can also partake in island treks, safari tours, glass-bottom boat sailing, fishing trips, yacht tours and diving excursions.  Find your perfect pearl at a black pearl farm or learn a bit of history at the Te Ara Cook Islands Museum.  What are you waiting for?  Check out some of our awesome Cook Islands Vacations now!

Contact Downunder Travel today on how we can help you plan a seamless travel experience.

If you’re looking to head over to Australia after your stay in the Cook Islands, a transit through Auckland with Air New Zealand is super easy and you won’t need to clear immigration, customs, or even collect your bags! 


Written by: Andree (Destination Specialist)

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Ghan Platinum Trip

Just to let you know we arrived safely back home late yesterday after a wonderful trip. Thank you for setting it all up. We saw almost no rain but the day that it did rain was when we arrived in Darwin. Having Platinum [The Ghan] meant our transfer bus was right beside the train whereas the Gold passengers had quite a walk to get to the station. The train is almost a kilometer long so it meant a walk in the rain for some.

G. Bernhardt

3 Week Australia Trip!

Our family would like to thank you for coordinating an amazing trip to Australia!  We only had 3 weeks but we were able to experience so much with an itinerary that was seamless and worry free!

Every spot was memorable, from the Grampians to Kangaroo Island, to a liveaboard on the GBR and the bright lights of Melbourne and Sydney  – a spectacular country and can’t wait to go back!

We definitely recommend Downunder Travel and are grateful to Andree for all her help and expertise in creating a wonderful adventure!


Super Thank-You for completely arranging our 5 week trip!

We would like to say a super Thank You to Jason Webb at Downunder Travel. For completely arranging our 5 week trip to New Zealand, Australia, Bora Bora, Paul Gauguin Cruise in Tahiti & return to Canada. Jason booked all our airline travel, chauffeur pick ups, & travel dates. These were very convenient scheduled & were all on time. Twelve air planes in 34 days. Jason had the knowledge & experience to pre-book excellent hotels, exceptional tours & timely transfers. We had a memorable, enjoyable carefree trip due to Jason’s knowledgeable preparation.

Bonnie & Kent

A Phenomenal South Pacific Adventure

A special thanks for putting my phenomenal South Pacific Adventure of a lifetime together.  Much appreciation for all the hard work that you have endured to make my trip a most memorable adventure.  I have totally enjoyed every aspect of the trip.  I will definitely recommend this itinerary to anyone looking for a trip of a lifetime.

A. Millette

Southern Africa 25 Day Tour

“Heard about this place through a friend and decided to inquire about a trip to Southern Africa. Jason did a fantastic job with very little time and set up a 25 day trip, flights included. Was excellent at every stage and everything went off without a hitch. Would absolutely recommend, and will most definitely be a repeat customer.”

J. Szoo

New Zealand Self-Drive

“We spent 6.5 wonderful weeks exploring both Islands in New Zealand. Jason met with us to understand our interests and a sense of where we hoped to travel while there. Accommodations, day trips, half day tours etc all ran without a hitch. At one point we thought we might be seeking medical assistance at a drop in clinic. Not sure about the process with Medical Insurance, we sent him a note to which he quickly responded and we really appreciated. We are very thankful for the arrangements and bookings that helped make the time there truly great. Thanks Jason.”

D. Nixon

NZ and Cook Islands

“Jason planned our 3 week honeymoon to New Zealand and Cook Islands in October 2016. Jason was very knowledgeable and saved us so much time not trying to plan the trip details ourselves! We had an amazing time, with everything going smoothly. Overall, happy to recommend his service to anyone else planning to go “down under” 🙂 .”

L. Filipic

Best Vacation Ever

Jason created the Best Vacation Ever for us – a month long trip to Australia travelling the east coast, the Red Center and south. All arrangements, locations, excursions, transfers were well executed which resulted in a stress free vacation for us! Thanks so much for your attention to all the details. Would definitely recommend that others trust Jason to make their entire trip as spectacular as ours was.
Gregory’s and Short’s

L. Gregory

Selection of excursions were suited to our interests

Kudos to Sawyer, our travel agent from Downunder Travel, who did a fantastic job of arranging our trip to Fiji. Her attention to detail was impeccable.

We were delayed for takeoff from Calgary to San Francisco due to weather and Sawyer helped us with our hotel bookings and transfers en-route to San Francisco. As well, she automatically readjusted our Fiji itinerary to coincide with our missed arrival dates in Fiji.

When we were planning our trip, we told Sawyer what our interests were, and her selection of excursions were exactly suited to our interests. Her choice of accommodations was excellent.

Jim & Mary

Wonderful Thailand and Myanmar!

Thanks for organizing and planning our recent trip to Thailand and Myanmar. We had a wonderful, magical month on some Thai islands, and tremendously enjoyed Mandalay and particularly, Bagan. The hot air balloon ride, is not to be missed.  Our next trip to that part of the world , we will certainly use your expertise Andree.

T. Baker

We will be recommending you to anyone we know

We absolutely loved our vacation, Jason!  Kudos to you with your recommendations, bookings, etc.  Everything came off without a hitch –  excursion pickups, airport shuttles were always on time.  We made out great driving on the wrong side of the road, and steering wheel on wrong side of car lol.  Air New Zealand was a great choice for our main flights, flight attendants came to our seats and thanked us personally for flying with Air New Zealand.  Again, we have to thank you so much Jason for helping us plan such a fantastic vacation – such a great time.  Hopefully we will vacation in another area you sell and we’ll need your services again.  We will definitely be recommending you to anyone we know.

C. Hinks

Australia, Africa, and more!

“A group of 9 travelers wanted to do a tour of Australia. 4 of us have been using Jason at Downunder Travel since 2005. We are a group with agricultural interests so we were hoping to see the diversity of Australia with as many ag components as possible. We met with Jason and he compiled an itinerary for us which gave us another trip of a lifetime. Jason’s attention to detail is truly amazing. Everything happened without a glitch which makes for a worry-free holiday. He also allowed for some free days if anything needed rearranged. We are already planning our next holiday with his company. Kudos to Jason!”

T. Evans

African Safari

“Our group of 4 travelled to Africa, 4 different countries, many flights, hotels and tours under the guidance of Jason at Down Under Travel. The trip was amazing especially the safaris. Jason’s attention to detail made this trip outstanding. Truly a trip of a lifetime that was arranged perfectly. Don’t hesitate to book with this company, you will not be disappointed.”

M. O'Bryan

Melbourne, Cairns & Sydney!

The tours in Melbourne, Cairns and Sydney were exceptional.  The guides were all very informative and helpful when explaining the sites, sometimes throwing in their own personal stories too.  In Melbourne we enjoyed: the hop on/off bus tour, the Central Historical tram, the Treasury and ANZAC Memorial is is very worthwhile, The Great Ocean Road with our small group tour was fabulous and the Penguin Parade with underground viewing is definitely a must-see!  The Cairns tours are remarkable; I enjoyed our small personalized group travel to Frankland Island (including guided walk), the Kuranda Train, Skyrail and Hartley’s offered a great variety and St. Monica’s Cathedral with its stained glass windows are a hidden gem!  In Sydney, we enjoyed so much; the Ferry boat was easy to manage, The Sydney Opera House was definitely a highlight, our Harbour Cruise was fantastic and our Blue Mountains tour with hike was lovely, definitely another must-experience.

In addition to the terrific tours, our flights and connections were seamless and the personal touches and the variety of experienced offered on this trip was one of a kind!  I look forward to working with you again in the not too distant future!

W. MGee

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