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Topics include Dining Scene, Cook Islands: For Foreign Visitors & more!
It’s surprisingly easy to fly to Rarotonga, as long as you book your flight far in advance for northern hemisphere travellers. Air New Zealand and Pacific Blue (a subset of Virgin Blue ) both fly directly into Rarotonga airport from Auckland, New Zealand. Both airlines have connections from Australia, via New Zealand. If you live in the Northern hemisphere, a convenient option is to take Air New Zealand’s direct flight from Los Angeles to Rarotonga once a week. The Los Angeles flight does tend to fill up quickly, but if you sufficiently plan ahead, you will have a smooth, layover-free flight to the islands. A once per week direct service with Air New Zealand from Sydney to Rarotonga operates during winter months between July and October.
While Rarotonga's airport serves as the main hub for the Cook Islands, many of the outer islands of the Cook Islands have airports, too. Air Rarotonga offers daily inter-island flights to Aitutaki Mangaia, Mauke, Atiu, and Mitiaro. Flights to the smaller northern group islands of Penrhyn, Manihiki and Pukapuka are served less frequently and operate on both a charter and on-demand basis.
It is also possible to reach the Cook Islands by cargo ship. Due to their remote location this isn’t a common method for accessing the Cook Islands. Private sailboat is usually the only option. Commercial cruise ships visit the Cook Islands, mainly during summer months (southern hemisphere season) . Avatiu Harbour serves as the main port of entry for foreign vessels.
Note: Departure tax is currently $55 per adult passenger (12 years and over), and is payable upon departure and preferably in cash to Westpac bank Inspite of pleas by both government officials and the public alike in recent times, neither international airlines have any plans to introduce departure fees when booking airline tickets..