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Why The Cook Islands Deserve A Spot On Your Bucket List

If you’ve been following us for a while, you probably already know – and if you’re a newbie, you will soon find out: we LOVE the Cook Islands.

When we travel, we want to be enriched. We want to experience something new that changes our perspective. We don’t want just another postcard worthy location – we want it all. We really think the Cook Islands are the gem of the South Pacific, offering a luxurious, exotic escape that’s closer than you think. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • Incredible beauty
    • The Cook Islands are filled with amazing sights – not the least of which happens to be Aitutaki Lagoon. Renowned as the most beautiful lagoon in the world, it has garnered praise from many journalists, including the Senior Editor of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, MJ Day, who says “…hands down Aitutaki is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen in my life.” When you get tired of lounging by the azure waters (ha! Yeah right!) you can head inland and explore the lush peaks and ridges of the once almighty volcanic pyramid that formed the islands.
  • Accessibility
    • It’s a 9-hour direct flight from LAX. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been on family road trips that exceed that amount of travel time – and feel INFINITELY longer. Unlike most locations in the South Pacific, you won’t cross the international date line on your way to the Cooks. Sleep on the overnight flight and you’ll be ready to go when you arrive on the ground in the morning. You won’t feel trapped in one spot in Rarotonga, the whole island is essentially your resort. With easy access to transportation and a welcoming environment, you’ll have the freedom to roam, eat in a different restaurant every night, and truly experience the culture.
  • Warm culture and hospitality
    • Speaking of culture, the Cook Islands most certainly will not disappoint. Being surrounded by a vibrant, contemporary Polynesian culture, you’ll have no problem interacting with the locals. You can hop on board any of the many cultural tours and learn more about how these wonderful people came to be.
  • Boutique paradise
    • The Cook Islands offer the most bang for your buck in the South Pacific. Everywhere you look, you’ll see boutique family owned and operated resorts, restaurants, and tours. From “live like a local” holiday homes to full-service 5 star resorts, there is an accommodation for every desired experience. But don’t expect to find any highrise hotels – you won’t see any buildings higher than a coconut palm. There are a plethora of food choices, tipping is not expected and tax is included in meal prices. You’ll be excited by how rich your experience becomes when it’s steeped in authenticity.

Good people, natural beauty, vibrant culture, unique and luxurious accommodations, and endless opportunities for fun. That’s the Cook Islands in a nutshell. But don’t just take our word for it – see for yourself. You won’t regret it!

Cook Islands Map

P.S. The only way to make a trip to the Cook Islands better is to add on a stopover in New Zealand. You’ll get two bucket list trips in one at two diverse destinations that will cover any landscape or activity you could want. Win-win! Call one of our travel agents today to start planning your own custom trip!

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Top Reasons to Visit Tasmania

Tasmania, the tiny jewel of an island off the southeastern coast of Australia, has it all. As a state of Australia, it has the charm and ambiance for which the country is so well known, in addition to an incredible diversity of landscape and scenery, numerous outdoor pursuits, world famous food and wine, and welcoming locals. For your indulgence, you’ll find luxurious and remote wilderness lodges, romantic beach retreats, and elegant city inns. All of these are the perfect ingredients for a unique, adventurous, and romantic honeymoon…truly an unforgettable trip of a lifetime.

 

Adventure and the Outdoors

Over a third of Tasmania is designated as National Park and World Heritage Area, perfect for outdoor pursuits. Each day presents a new opportunity…hiking, biking, kayaking, fly fishing, quad biking, scuba diving, and more. Nature viewing is inevitable in these protected areas, and a guided hike will reveal the rare plant survivors of the ancient southern super continent, Gondwana, as well as the local critters such as the infamous Tasmanian Devil, Quoll, Echidna, Kangaroo, Wallaby, Possum and Platypus. My favorite encounter was at the start of a hike one day, when we ran across a mama wallaby and her little joey peeking curiously out of her pouch…they both seemed to enjoy the limelight, graciously posing for photos until we continued on our way. What a treat…and very typical of Tasmania!

 

Culture, People & History

One of the greatest appeals of Tasmania is the friendly nature of the locals…always welcoming and ready with engaging chatter. They are so interested in showing you all that is special about Tasmania, and their enthusiasm for their state is infectious.

 

One particularly unique experience that every visitor to Tasmania should have is a visit to Kate’s Berry Farm. Kate is an incredibly enterprising woman with a booming fresh fruit business…all on a little farm with beautiful coastal views. And the product is as local as it gets…jams, sauces, wines…and don’t leave without a heaping scoop of ice cream!

 

For the history buffs, you’ll revel in Port Arthur penal colony, built almost entirely by the convicts themselves in the 1800s.

 

Scenery & Variety

Dramatic coastlines, rugged mountains, highland lakes, lush forests, and charming towns…Tasmania has it all. But don’t expect to cover a lot of ground in one day – with so much unspoiled land, the roads can be quite rural.

 

Food & Wine

Think gourmet! The Tassies are known for some of the greatest delicacies – fresh local cheeses (don’t miss the Wasabi Cheddar, it’s divine!); chocolates (visits to the Cadbury’s and Anvers factories are a must); Barilla Bay oysters (melt-in-your-mouth delicious)… and all accompanied by some of the best wines in the world. Pure heaven!

 

Seasonality & Time

Tasmania enjoys four distinctly different seasons, and each one has its own unique pleasures and appeal. Generally it is warmer on the coast and cooler inland. Their seasons are the opposite of ours – summer is December through February, and winter is June through August.

 

Because of the flight time to Tasmania (approx 16 hours from Los Angeles) and the time it takes to travel within the country, we recommend at least 2 weeks for your Australia honeymoon. You could easily spend all this time in Tasmania, or you could combine it with the cosmopolitan, outback, or tropical areas of Australia.

 

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While there is no doubt that traveling to Australia is certainly a benefit to the job I do, it’s also the reason that we can help select the right destination and provide a honeymoon itinerary that matches each couple’s personalities and interests. With such a personal love for a destination, it’s easy for us to create an itinerary with an image in mind of how the couple will enjoy it, from start to finish.

I am truly excited for every couple who will have the opportunity to travel to Tasmania, especially for a honeymoon – it is a dream trip that will be remembered for a lifetime. Chances are you’ll fall in love with Tasmania and Australia as I have, and will already be planning your next trip before the honeymoon is even over. That is the magic of a voyage down under.