Cook Islands: Just like Hawaii but without the franchises
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?