Countless travellers’ tales have created a vision of an archetype of heaven in the South Seas – massed coconut palms, jungle-clad peaks, the boom of combers smashing on the reef, the crimson flamboyant trees and the beat of the drum dance. What is really amazing is that the vision is true.
The Cook Islands consist of 15 islands scattered over some 2 million square km of the Pacific Ocean, Rarotonga is the capital. The Cooks lie virtually in the centre of the Polynesian Triangle of the South Pacific, flanked to the west by the Kingdom of Tonga and Samoa, and to the east by Tahiti and the islands of French Polynesia.
The climate is equable – the island is the second furthest south of the Cook group.
It enjoys temperatures of between 18°C and 28°C in the winter, and 21°C and 29°C in summer. The cool season is generally from May to October, and the steamier months are November to April.
The year-round warm water, the easy accessibility and circular shape of the island 32kms round allows divers to go out in virtually any weather to take advantage of shelter from rough wave action. There is a huge variety of coral and splendid visibility of 30 meters on average. There is a wide range of diving sites, including caves, two wrecks and simple submarine terrain for beginners, such as sand rivers, although don’t expect to dive on Sundays - local religious customs forbid it.
Favourite dive spots, to name but a few are the Ngatangiia Swimthroughs, the Matavera Drop-Off, the Mataora Wreck, the Papua Canyon, the Sand River and the Koromiri Coral Garden. The abundant reef life among 73 types of live coral features hundreds of fish species, a bonanza for underwater photographers. Experts rate the reef drop-off as the highlight for divers off Rarotonga. This begins at about 30 meters and plunges down to approximately 3,600 meters – Rarotonga is an extinct volcano.
Are looking for a relaxing tropical holiday? If you want great diving, beautiful beaches, fascinating culture & friendly people, Rarotonga has it all. Experience it for yourself.
Diving in the Cook Islands offers crystal clear waters, seldom less than 30 m visibility, water temperatures between 23 and 26 degrees Celsius, and pleasantly short trips to various dive sites.
Depth 6m - 16m
A shallow, curving coral shelf leads to swim through caves. There are several different exit points and plenty of light from above. The shallow coral shelf also houses a wide variety of reef life.
Depth 6m - 12m
Another cave system dive, but only for experienced divers. The entrance to this chain of large caverns is through a well hidden fissure in the reef and inside you will find lionfish, moray eels, spanish dancers and even sometimes a resident white tip sleeping in a dark corner.
Depth 14m - 30m
A river of sand sloping down to a steep drop off with coral nooks and crannies on either side. This is a great place for seeing sharks and play with the ever-curious reef fish.
Depth 12m - 24m
A site rich with fish life against a stunning landscape of coral. There is always plenty to see in and around all the swimthroughs and bommies, and huge numbers of fish.
Depth 16m - 30m
Start and end your dive in a shallow reef area full of fish. Take a short swim and you’ll see the drop off as the reef falls away beneath you.
Depth 12m - 30m
A bed of coral alongside a sand area, leading into a sandy drop off. The anchor caught between two large coral bommies adds a surprise top this lovely dive.
Depth 12 – 20m
The Mataora was a Tongan registered cargo vessel deliberately sunk to provide an artifical reef. She now lies in 18m just off the reef to the north of the island. This is a great place to search out lionfish.
Depth 18m - 24m
This dive site features mushroom shaped bommies rising all around, making this a truly picturesque dive site. This is a great place to explore, and a favourite with eagle rays in season.
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Diving Information courtesy: Dive Rarotonga