Remote Rarotonga is the capital of the Cook Islands. Fringed by groves of stooping coconut palms and lined by dashes of multi-colored coral reefs, it's a Shangri-La in the midst of the South Pacific. That all comes with a side of fascinating Polynesian culture and luxury – overwater bungalows and infinity pools abound in these parts (honeymoon, perhaps?). And while channelling your inner Robinson Crusoe might mean traveling over 1,800 miles across the ocean, bagging bargain deals on cheap flights to Rarotonga from New Zealand can actually be surprisingly easy. There are even airlines that run the route direct, getting you to paradise in just under four hours in total!
Sand so white you'll need your sunglasses on to see it meets an ocean of azure blue along Muri Beach. It's one of the best in the Cook Islands!
You'll get a hearty islander welcome at the Te Vara Nui Village, where workshops on local Cook Island culture are waiting to enthrall.
The crystal-clear Aitutaki Lagoon is laden with sea turtles and mahi mahi. Come to snorkel, kayak and cruise in a tropical paradise.
Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia, Jetstar and United fly direct from New Zealand to Rarotonga.
Qantas Airways is the best airline to fly to Rarotonga from New Zealand. Air New Zealand is the best if you need non-stop flights. Jetstar is the best budget airline.