Watersports are the catch of the day in the Cook Islands, with warm, clear lagoons and clean beaches inviting holidaymakers to pick up a kayak, a paddle board or some scuba gear. Take a break from the beach to work up a sweat hiking, jogging, cycling or horse-riding. Here's our top 10 ways to get active.
Burn off the fish 'n' chips by tackling a cross-island trek across the lush jungle interior of the island. Pa's Treks offer guided cross-island hikes with expert commentary. The highest summit on the island, Te Rua Manga (the Needle), is ascended, before hikers cool off in the refreshing waters of Wigmore's Waterfall.
Round Raro Race
Cook Islanders love sports and the calendar is filled with competitive events. Many of the events welcome visitor participation, so plan ahead and join joggers in the 32-kilometre Round Raro Race, team up with male and female rugby players in Sevens in Heaven Rugby 7s comp or pit your skills in the annual triathlon.
Rarotonga Sailing Club
Feel the wind in your sails: Rarotonga Sailing Club organises lagoon races on Saturdays and welcomes visitors to join resident crew. No experience needed, though sturdy sea legs are an asset. The views are gorgeous and the atmosphere is fun and relaxed. Meet at Sails Restaurant.
On Rarotonga's Muri Lagoon, fun in the sun is an active pursuit: snorkelling, windsurfing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and scuba diving is some of the best you'll find anywhere in the world. Gear hire can be arranged by hotels and guest houses, or by watersports shops in town.
On two legs
Joggers and power-walkers will find plenty of great outdoors to get excited about. Hit the beaches for resistance running or share the road that rings Rarotonga island with passing piglets and motorcycle-riding locals. One entire loop of the island is 32 kilometres.
Aitutaki offers some of the best scuba diving in the world, with outstanding coral and marine life and a large, warm lagoon teeming with colourful tropical fish. Dive down deep to explore famous shipwrecks, including the Mataora and the Matai. Ask your hotel about scuba gear rental.
This one is for the brave and the adventurous; discover steep drop-offs and daring swim-throughs around Rarotonga, Aitutaki and Atiu. Guided tours will take you to secret local spots. On Mitiaro, raised coral caves have created freshwater pools that are magical to swim at night.
Get your cycle on with bikes hired from the guys at Ride Rarotonga. Take a leisurely ride around the ring road on Rarotonga, or work up a sweat on a mountain biking eco tour with Storytellers Eco Cycle Tours. On Aitutaki, bikes can be found at Rino's Rentals and The Boat Shed.
Cook Islands' beautiful lagoons and balmy sea breezes create perfect conditions for kitesurfing. The popular watersport is well-suited to the watery wonderland and is fast growing a global following of enthusiasts. Here is where you should try it for yourself.
If you've ever wanted to try your hand at fishing, seize the opportunity in the Cook Islands to land an impressive catch. Aitutaki Blue Lagoon Fly Fish is the leader in fly-fishing day trips on Aitutaki, with many guests hauling in huge bonefish and trevally, as well as snapper and barracuda.