Survivor Cook Islands
If you've watched Survivor: Cook Islands, you’ll know by now that the idyllic atoll of Aitutaki and its motu (islets) have already made a splash on the international scene as a location for the filming of this popular TV series.
Fans of the show are used to the challenges that the tribes must face in the battle to win immunity, but unlike the Survivors, visitors who make the scenic journey to Aitutaki certainly won't have to contend with any hardship. Less than an hour's flight from Rarotonga, Aitutaki provides plenty of comfortable places to lay your head – from luxuriously appointed resorts and spas to beachfront villas. No need to pitch a tent here!
Arutanga, on the west coast, is the main village and its small collection of shops has all the main visitor services. There's plenty to do on the island, but for those whose idea of tropical heaven is simply to unwind, this is the perfect destination to find your own spot under a palm, kick back and relax on that powdery white sand. Best of all - you won't be voted off!
For those who prefer a more active approach to sightseeing, try some of the following adventures to while away the day:
- Snorkel in Aitutaki Lagoon
Aitutaki’s beautiful lagoon provides an underwater spectacle of coloured corals and tropical fish. Don’t forget to apply your sunblock!
- Take in the views from Mount Maungapu
Climb to the top of this local landmark for superb views over the island and lagoon – it’s only a short 30 minute walk.
- Visit Vaipae and Tautu Villages
Pay a visit to these pleasant villages with their old coral and lime churches. Beyond the villages, you’ll find secluded areas of natural beauty where footpaths lead through palms to pristine beaches.
- Have Your Passport Stamped at Tapuaetai (One Foot) Motu
Tapuaetai is the perfect spot for a picnic lunch – and you can even have your passport stamped at the world’s smallest post office (you won’t be voted off either!).
- See the Turtles at Maina (Little Girl) Motu
The clear waters around Maina are great for snorkelling and, from November to February, you can see large sea turtles ashore basking in the sun. Maina is also the nesting place of the red-tailed tropic bird (tavake), whose colourful feathers are used in traditional Cook Islands headdresses.
- Take a Cruise
Catch a water taxi or lagoon cruise to your own private motu for an idyllic day of picnicking and snorkelling.
- Go Fishing
Cast your line and catch some of the big fish, including tuna, wahoo, marlin and barracuda. The Game Fishing Club is located in Arutanga by the wharf, and is open from 4pm until late from Wednesday to Saturday.
- Explore Underwater
Dive into Aitutaki’s warm, clear waters for some of the best diving in the Pacific – you can get to see turtles and some of the really big fish. There are two local operators: Aitutaki Scuba (phone 682 31 103, email email@example.com) and Bubbles Below (phone 682 31 537, firstname.lastname@example.org), each providing half-day trips.
- Air New Zealand operates several weekly scheduled flights from New Zealand to the Cook Islands, visit www.airnewzealand.co.nz
- Air Rarotonga – www.airraro.com – operates a scheduled domestic service to Aitutaki from the main island of Rarotonga. Day tours also depart Rarotonga Airport at 8am every day except Sunday.
Order your free Jasons Cook Islands Visitor Map and Jasons Cook Islands Visitor Guide now.