Scattered over a vast expanse of empty ocean the size of Western Europe, the tiny Cook Islands is a castaway’s dream come true.
If you’ve ever fantasised about escaping to a remote desert island, far from the hustle and hum of the modern world, then look no further than these 15 fascinating islands, where you’ll find a thousand years of Polynesian culture sitting side by side with some of the most spectacular natural scenery in the South Pacific.
The jewel in the crown is Rarotonga, the largest island – a bewitching blend of craggy mountains, dense jungle and glorious bone-white beaches – but you really need to get out and explore some of the other islands as well.
The hook-shaped atoll of Aitutaki, the second most visited by tourists, sits at the top of one of the world’s largest coral lagoons, packed with giant clams and technicolour tropical fish, and ringed by smaller uninhabited islets, known as motu, around its outer edges.
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