One of our favourite places to visit is the Cook Islands which has a special place in our hearts. Each time we visit, we spend the entire trip trying to work out ways to never leave!
The Cook Islands has something for everyone; pristine turquoise beaches (and we are from Australia so we aren't easily impressed when it comes to amazing beaches), fun nightlife (the cocktails are cheap, fabulous and potent) and amazing restaurants that cater to all tastes.
The Cook Islands are only a 6hr direct flight away from Sydney so it's a great place for a short getaway (although we suggest at least a week, ideally longer but that might just be us).
The main island is Rarotonga and when staying on Raro (as the locals call it), do yourself a favour and either hire a car or scooter although you catch the island bus which goes in two direction - clockwise and anticlockwise. There is no traffic lights on Rarotonga and only has one main road that circles the island so it's easy to drive around to explore beaches and go hiking.
One of our favourite places to stay on Rarotonga is Muri Beach which has great restaurants, night markets and of course the Muri Lagoon which has the clearest, turquoise water you've ever seen. Oh and make sure you go on a Muri Lagoon cruise with Koka Lagoon Cruises. Though no matter where you stay on Rarotonga, you can't go wrong; the entire island is surrounded by a coral reef which protects the beaches from waves and sharks.
You need to have a night out on the Rehab party bus which is the best way to get around on a night out, not only does the open-air party bus drive you around to all the hot spots on the island, you can also bring your own alcohol onto the bus (just no glass). You will never experience anything else like driving around the island in an open-air bus with the music blaring, everyone drinking and dancing. MUST DO! (unless you don't drink, then don't, you will hate it).
If you don't have time to spend a couple of days on the island of Aitutaki, you have to at least do the day tour where you will fly over to the island for the day and go on a boat tour visiting spectacular islands including One Foot Island. Honestly Aitutaki is easily the most beautiful place we've ever seen, you will spend your entire visit gasping 'how is this real?'. Also we can give you the hot tip, cover up and slap on the sunscreen, we went on a rainy, overcast day and we still got the most sunburnt we have ever been.
If that hasn't convinced you to visit the Cook Islands, maybe our photos will!