Planning Your Ideal Suprise Anniversary Celebration in the Cook Islands
Special anniversaries are important milestones in our lives – whether it is one of the BIG birthdays, or celebrating those special years together with your life partner. They are when you want to reminisce about the good times that have gone before, relish the romance of the moment, and rejuvenate for the future. And what better an anniversary present than a surprise ‘get away’ to the tropical and laid back Cook Islands for that special occasion. Keeping it a secret from your partner will be the hard bit – organizing it is relatively simple over the internet.
There is a wide range of accommodation options in the Cook Islands to suit all budgets and tastes, but for a special anniversary we believe you should choose somewhere that allows you to pamper and indulge yourselves in a bit of luxury. There are many small, self catering resorts on the main island of Rarotonga that offer an intimate setting for a romantic celebration, while a couple of the larger resorts, with their bars and restaurants, may be more appealing if you are planning on inviting a few close friends to share the birthday celebrations with you. Sea Change Villas is the perfect choice if you want to be away from the crowd, enjoy the privacy of your own swimming pool, along with a virtually deserted beach and lagoon to play in – and award winning five star personal guest service.
If you are looking at choosing a self catering style property, don’t be concerned about your dining and cocktail options. The beauty of Rarotonga is that it is one big resort and eating out on the island is a culinary delight. With over fifty restaurants and cafes, many located right on the beach, you are spoilt for choice for your sunset cocktail and dinner. The food quality is equivalent to dining out in New Zealand or Australia, and similarly priced, but you won’t have experienced eating freshly caught game fish in such wonderful tropical settings. Getting out and about is fun and inexpensive too – scooter and car hires are much cheaper than back home, although the cars tend to be a bit older and rattley. Some of them know their way around the island without being steered – a bit like an old trek pony!
The smaller luxury accommodators, such as sea Change Villas, will offer packages, particularly for wedding anniversaries, which will include a transport option for your stay, as well as pampering choices such as ‘his and hers’ massages in the privacy of your own villa or a sunset BBQ cooked by your own personal chef. These packages can be tailored to also include the ‘bloke’s’ desires, such as big game fishing, diving, kite boarding, quad biking and more. While ladies can enjoy a relaxing array of pamper treatments at the near by spa. If you’re not sure what you want to do on your surprise anniversary then all of these options can be arranged and paid for when you get here.
Most properties will offer internet specials from time to time that allow you to book direct and save off the normal pricing. If you are looking at a package make sure that it includes airport transfers, as many of our flight arrival/departure times are after midnight, and taxis are the most expensive form of transport in the Cook Islands. Also be aware that the larger resorts will offer packages based around their food and beverage so as to encourage you to stay in the resort and spend your money with them. Just remember that the whole island is there for you to enjoy though, so make sure that you are getting value.
If you are arranging everything yourself through the internet you need to be aware that there are two airlines that fly to the Cook Islands – Air New Zealand and Pacific Blue. Air New Zealand has a mix of day and night flights, whereas Pacific Blue always arrives around midnight and departs in the wee hours of the morning. You also need be very careful in booking your flights, as you travel through the international dateline enroute to Rarotonga from New Zealand or Australia, and the common mistake is that an extra night’s accommodation isn’t booked. Think of it as Rarotonga being a day behind New Zealand and Australia.
Many accommodators offer complimentary nights, or ‘Early Check In’ and ‘Late Check Out’ rates to compensate for the sometimes unsociable flight schedules – you just have to be careful of your dates! At Sea Change Villas, our reservations team will happily advise on the most suitable flights for your travel. And remember, Air New Zealand fly once a week direct from Sydney to Rarotonga and from Los Angeles to Rarotonga.
There is one decided advantage with crossing the dateline if you are coming to the Cook Islands for a birthday celebration. If you depart on your birthday, then you get to celebrate it again when you arrive in Rarotonga – and that could mean two presents! My wife and I came to live in here in 2007 from New Zealand, and travelled on her birthday – and yes, I did buy her two presents. So good luck with your research and planning, and don’t hesitate to get in contact with us at Sea Change Villas if you would like any further information.