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Airlines Flying to
the Cook Islands


Who Do You Fly?

There are several airlines that can take you to the Cook Islands in varying degrees of comfort.

From New Zealand they are Air Rarotonga, Air New Zealand, Jetstar, Air Tahiti and Virgin Australia.

If you are going to Aitutaki the companies servicing there are Air Rarotonga and Air New Zealand.

Bearing in mind that travelling from New Zealand you cross the international dateline you end up arriving in Rarotonga 22 hours before the day you left.

What this means is that it is easy to keep track of NZ or Australian time (minus two hours the day before and minus four hours respectively) but it also makes for some horrendous flight times.

We flew into the Cook Islands, leaving Auckland at 6.30pm and arriving in Rarotonga at about 1am the day we left.

On the way back we left Rarotonga at 12.30am and arrived in Auckland at 4.30 the day after we left.

Now I know you get what you pay for and the budget service tickets were far cheaper than the other airlines - about $300 - but I did have some issues with the service.

Firstly, despite booking together, my lady and myself were sat in two different aisles. The airline said they were overbooked and there were no spare seats to swap around. My comment is that if people come in together, and book in early, then they should sit together or at least be told before boarding.

Secondly, for anyone over little-person size the seats are too small.

I'm 185cm tall and 105+ kilos and I had absolutely no room to move. I was on the aisle - a bad mistake - and didn't want to encroach on the space of the young woman next to me and so copped in the shoulder every hip that wandered by my seat for the entire journey.

Chatting with other guys they also found the room exceptionally uncomfortable. Trying to sleep on the flight back was also difficult despite having a spare seat in our row.

On the cheaper fares you don't get a free meal - fair enough - but you can buy food, and drink, on the plane.

I had a tasty stew dish for about $10 and thought that quite reasonable. A guy over the way from me had a "gourmet pie". It turned out to be a Maketu pie, which are nice enough, but it was delivered in its plastic wrapper and cost him $8.

Just a little bit of a mark-up - like 300 per cent.

Anyway, the flight was cheap, but it didn't make it cheerful. Fortunately it was only 4.5 hours.



If you are a temporary visitor you do not need a visa for the Cook Islands.

As long as you have enough funds for your stay - of up to 31 days - have pre-booked accommodation, and have proof of an outbound flight then you are okay.

New Zealand passport holders don't need this last one.

If you are planning to extend your holiday beyond the 31-day limit then you will need to apply for an extension.

And if your passport has fewer than six months to run you also need to get permission from Immigration.


Duty Free

Check your allowances on our Duty Free page. Click here for details.



- Richard Moore

Copyright 2011 RICHARD MOORE