This South Pacific island country is about as untouched and remote as the UK traveller can get, although it is easy to access once on mainland New Zealand or the US West Coast. The waters surrounding the 15 Cook Islands (or Kūki ‘Āirani as they’re known in Māori) exhibit shipwrecks, soft corals, tropical fish, sharks, manta rays and turtles, with balmy summer temperatures running between 24°C and 30°C. The islands are also home to volcanoes, rainforest, and the world’s smallest post office — and they were used as the filming location for TV’s Shipwrecked.
Pacific Resort Aitutaki
Choose from a villa, bungalow or suite, set beside the Aitutaki’s lagoon, where you can listen to the calming sounds of the lapping shore while you recline on the timber chairs of your private porch. The resort has a colonial-inspired decor in South Pacific rustic-style architecture and is reserved exclusively for adults. Local fare is served all day in the waterside Rapae Bay Restaurant, with snacks and drinks provided on the beach or in-room via the Black Rock Bar. Wellness treatments can also be provided on the beach and in-room, or within the Tiare Spa.
Rarotonga is the largest of the Cook Islands, and its Muri Lagoon beachfront — just 15-minutes drive from the airport — is the setting for the Rumours resort. Book a huge self-catering villa with a four-poster bed, a projector with surround sound for movie nights under the stars and your own courtyard with a tiered pool and rocky waterfalls. The resort has a private beach, BBQ facilities, a saltwater pool and the multi-award-winning Waterfall Day Spa. While there isn’t a restaurant or bar on site, this maintains a quiet, private vibe, and there are plenty of fantastic places to eat and drink nearby.