Weather

With a heavenly location half way between New Zealand Hawaii, the Cook Islands are blessed with balmy weather year-round, with June through August slightly cooler and the warmest temperatures falling between November and March, when the islands experience occasional tropical showers.

The driest season is from April to November. From April to November the average temperature is 26 degrees, while from December to March temperatures climb closer to 30 degrees during the daytime.

What to wear

Basically, there's no need to dress up. The Cook Islands vibe is casual and laid back so summer dresses, jumpsuits, shorts, short-sleeved tops, swimsuits, kaftans, cover-ups and thongs or sandals should do the trick. Bring a more demure dress or top and skirt combo (covering shoulders) if you're planning to go to church.

For the boys, shorts, t-shirts and swimmers are pretty much all that's required, with more tailored shorts and collared shirt or polo for visiting churches. If you're planning to cycle or go hiking then pack enclosed shoes.

Any other packing essentials?

Yes! Sunscreen, sunglasses and hats to protect yourself from the warm rays, mosquito-repellant for sunset evenings out and of course a good camera.

You can buy all of these on the islands but they can be pricey, so BYO is often a better bet.

What's the wi-fi like?

In a word - expensive. Unfortunately, there is no free wi-fi in the Cook Islands and it's rarely included in any accommodation packages. The main island of Rarotonga does have wi-fi hotspots available, but they're not free so it's a good idea to purchase a local SIM and pre-purchase data. Numerous hotels also offer internet access with data packs available for sale. The most economical way to access the web is by purchasing prepaid wi-fi vouchers from Bluesky Wi-Fi.

Will my mobile phone work on the islands?

This depends whether your phone is locked into a specific network so it pays to check with your provider before you leave. Do also contact your local provider with regards to international roaming rates or the option to buy a travel pack to help contain costs. If your phone is unlocked, you can buy a local SIM card or purchase a travel SIM from a booth in the baggage claim area when you arrive.

What about mobile data?

Telecom Cook Islands offers prepaid data packs which are typically valid for 30 days from purchase.

Can I use EFTPOS, or only cash when shopping?

EFTPOS is becoming increasingly common around Rarotonga and Aitutaki. Credit card cash advances are also available.

There are ATM machines available for withdrawals with Visa and Mastercard, as well as cards carrying the overseas logos Cirrus, Plus or Maestro. There is a Bank of the South Pacific ATM just outside the arrivals terminal at the airport in Rarotonga so this is a good spot to pick up cash - it's an approximate $5 fee per withdrawal.

Will my electrical appliances work?

The voltage in the Cook Islands is 240 volts DC/50 cycle, just like in Australia, using three-pin plugs.

Store opening hours

On Saturdays most stores close by midday and all remain closed on Sunday so if you need any knick-knacks be sure to buy them before the weekend.

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