Cook Islands: Just like Hawaii but without the franchises

cook-islands-just-like-hawaii-but-without-the-franchisesI attribute my love of all things rustic and natural to my semi-hippie, semi-hillbilly upbringing.

My sister had a pet rooster, we grew our own broad beans and we lived next door to my Grandmother. We didn’t have any gaps in our teeth, per se, but I’m pretty sure we had a moonshine still stashed somewhere.

Subsequently, anything too modern or ‘city-fied’ makes me jumpy.

I don’t like traffic, I don’t like pollution, I hate high rise buildings and I abhor concrete.

Despite all of this, I really loved Hawaii which is jam-packed full of big, shiny buildings. Weird.

It was with significant delight that I discovered that Cook Islands is on the same latitude as Hawaii meaning it’s pretty much exactly the same (flora, fauna, weather and Polynesian culture) except for one major absence: no franchises.

I don’t want to schlep to paradise to drink Starbucks.

I worked on the Cook Islands stand at the Flight Centre Travel Expo last weekend and I learnt the following interesting things:

  • By law, you’re not allowed to build anything higher than a palm tree
  • Franchised businesses are banned
  • The native language is Cook Islands Maori – ‘Kia Orana’ means ‘hello’
  • Cook Islanders are really into coffee. It’s grown and roasted right there on the main island of Rarotonga
  • The local currency is NZ dollars meaning that Aussies gain 0.31c per AUD$1
  • There are 15 islands in the group
  • You can hire mopeds, pushbikes and open top Jeeps to drive around the island
  • You aren’t held hostage to the resort buffet – there are tonnes of bars and restaurants on all of the islands
  • There is a direct Air New Zealand flight from Sydney to Rarotonga launching in July this year. Six hours flying time to the most beautiful place in the world.

I am going. Who’s coming with me?

Comments
8 Responses to “Cook Islands: Just like Hawaii but without the franchises”
  1. Renata says:

    Whoa boy…me please !!! I had no idea it was still so pristine…

  2. Jacqui Durrant says:

    I’ve been to Rarotonga three times. Above all, enjoy the quiet beaches, the mist over the tropical ‘could mountains’, and frigate birds flighing along the coast at sunset with the Pacific crashing on the lagoon’s edge. Don’t miss a sunset drink on the beach at The Shipwrecked Bar (Aro’a Beach Resort, Arorangi), or a cocktail at the considerably more luxurious Crown Beach Resort. For local night life, Hidie’s Bar (near Cook’s Corner, Avarua) is the real (local) deal! Sunset Beach Villas (Aro’a Beach, Arorangi) are a great locally owned place to stay — of which there are many, so there’s no need to patronise a foreign-owned resort. The local dish, Ika Mata, which is lime-cured raw fish in coconut, is great at Trader Jack’s (also another terrific drinking hole). The Beachcomber is one of several good cafes, and has a swanky art gallery. And Mei’taki means thank you.

    Most of the coffee is grown on the island of Atiu. A short flight from Raro, Atiu is even more untouched than Raro, with a population of only 375 people. Next time I go to the Cooks, this will be one of my destinations.

    Tangaroa, god of the sea and fertility, means a great deal to the Rarotongans, even though they are a Christian society. He stands for their pre-Christian heritage, which they hold close. Have a great time!

  3. Jacqui Durrant says:

    PS, I meant ‘cloud mountains’. You’ll see why.

  4. Doug says:

    Packing my bags as we (sort of) speak. Thanks for the head up, Em.

  5. i like it
    She Goes – Travel for adventurous people :: Cook Islands :: tamper with Islands: i exactly in the same manner likely Hawaii unless without the franchises now im your rss reader

  6. Mel says:

    And me – that pic confirms that I need to go there – yesterday 🙂

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